Choosing Coin Dealers & What to Buy

Market Report on Current Trends in Coin Collecting & Investing

2023 American Eagle Gold one-ounce bullion coin obverse. Courtesy Mike Fuljenz

Precious metals experts predict gold will reach $3,000 per ounce sometime in 2023 as market conditions shift, global unrest continues and the U.S. Federal Reserve continues toying with interest rates. That is why you need to consider whom you are doing business with and with whom you spend your hard-earned money.

Researching a Dealer is Essential

If you don’t know much about precious metals, then you must thoroughly research the dealer first. There are dozens, even hundreds, of dealers selling gold, silver and rare coins, but do they all measure up?

A reputable coin dealer is someone recognized in the industry who has won recognition or awards for work and made contributions to leading industry organizations and publications.

Is the dealer you are considering a recognized expert at determining if a coin is real or fake? Did that expert ever work at a coin grading service?

Are they members of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), the American Numismatic Association (ANA) or the industry lobbying and advocacy group the National Coin and Bullion Association (NCBA)? If they are members of all of them, then that’s a bonus.

If you ask about their qualifications and they can’t even name the leading trade organizations, much less hold memberships in any of them, then maybe you should keep looking.

I have helped many people who have been scammed by unscrupulous dealers through the years, and many times it is too late to obtain any real financial recovery. I have also tried to help people who’ve fallen prey to unscrupulous sellers and purchased counterfeit gold coins which are prevalent on many websites and are usually advertised at too-good-to-be-true prices.

Remember, if it is too good to be true, it usually is – especially with precious metals. There is no Santa Claus in numismatics.

U.S. Mint Production Issues Led to High Premiums

After nearly a year of seeing premiums on American Gold Eagles and Buffalo coins as high as 10 percent over spot price, those premiums have now come back down in early 2023. However, there is some concern that as current supplies are depleted those higher premiums will return and make American gold bullion coins less attractive as an investment opportunity.

Gold as a Long-Term Investment

Investing in gold is not like day trading in stocks. This is often a multi-year, long-term investment. There’s no better way to prove this than to look at the performance of the stock market over the past 50 years, and even since 2000, compared to the performance of gold. My personal opinion is that gold wins hands down.

Gold has traditionally been the one investment that performs better when nearly everything else performs badly. Gold has been a proven store of wealth for over 5,000 years, and it’s why I recommend it over every other precious metal.

Gold American Eagles Top the List

What types of gold do you want to buy? My suggestion is American Gold Eagles from the U.S. Mint. They are easy to store and they are easy to sell when the time comes. They often offer a tighter buy-sell spread, meaning you won’t have to pay as much in commissions because reputable dealers know they can always find a buyer for American Gold Eagles.

Gold bars are a good option too, but they may have a higher resale premium and are harder for some dealers to authenticate.

2023 American Eagle Gold one-ounce bullion coin reverse. Courtesy Mike Fuljenz

When it does come time to sell and take your profits, the best dealer to sell your coins to is the dealer you bought them from. If that dealer is not around, go back through the recommended steps for buying gold.

Reputable dealers typically pay more and will recognize the quality and value of what you have. I implore you to stay away from hotel gold buyers, mail-in gold offerings, jewelry stores and pawn brokers. Extensive undercover research and reporting have shown they typically pay way less than a reputable coin and precious metals dealer.

Exercise Care in Shipping Coins

Be careful how you transport your coins. Rare coin and precious metals theft is on the rise. My firm recently experienced more than $400,000 in lost or stolen coin shipments.

We filed reports with various law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, listed all of the coins as stolen or missing and reported them to Doug Davis at the Numismatic Crime Information Center where the coins were entered into its database.

Dahlonega Mint 1845 $5 Gold Liberty. Courtesy Mike Fuljenz

As fate would have it, one of the specialized coins – a Dahlonega Mint 1845 $5 Gold Liberty – showed up at a local coin shop. A customer purchased that coin and entered its serial number on its certification insert into the NGC database. That was when the customer was alerted that the coin had been reported stolen and contacted my firm.

Tracking Devices in Stolen Packages

My firm was asked to place tracking devices in multiple packages shipped from our offices during the USPS investigation into our stolen packages. When agents noticed the movement of the packages away from our local post office, they initiated a traffic stop on the suspect’s vehicle and found the packages inside. The suspect pleaded guilty in federal court and will face between 21 and 40 months in federal prison, forfeit $8,000 in cash and up to $5 million in stolen coins found at her apartment upon her arrest.

This market report previously appeared in COINage magazine. To subscribe click here. Column by Mike Fuljenz.


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