You are correct in assuming that it’s best to consult an experienced silver coin dealer before you make a major purchase. It’s one thing to buy two American Eagles in silver—it’s quite another to buy three thousands troy ounces worth of silver bullion! Before asking a silver coin dealer anything, it’s best that you develop your own personal strategy. Are you going after bullion coinage or after collectables?
A silver coin dealer will undoubtedly tell you that buying bullion coins for collecting is a waste; bullion coins are meant to be stored, traded and sold—perhaps within a year or two. Collectable coins are meant to be kept for years on end; these coins are usually called “proof” or “uncirculated” coins.
Along the way, you might want to think about what type of coins you want to collect—such as American Eagles, Maple Leafs, or perhaps only the truly exotic. Some coin dealers like collecting international coins while others like collecting year by year. So the first question to ask your coin dealer might well be, do you have a ____ coin? If you are on a very specific quest, the coin dealer’s current selection is of the utmost importance.
However, to determine a long-term business relationship, other pertinent questions should be asked, including: what is your specialization and how do you know of such? You might also ask the history of the coin dealer and how often the dealer or company attends trade shows. Along the way, verify credentials and a good reputation in the business. Last, but certainly not least, you want to ask whether the dealer’s coins are certified by independent graders. This is your only defense against fraud. Usually, an independent grading will be done by a trusted organization such as NGC or the PCGS. These organizations actually provide the coin a stamp of authenticity.
These are some questions to keep in mind as you speak to a new silver coin dealer. Remember that silver is a very different precious metal than gold—not just chemically but financially. So make sure the gold dealer understands the basics, not only of numismatics, but also of the precious metals industry, which is partly decided by the stock market and the latest news in world trade. What is silver price doing and how will this affect the bullion or collectable price of your most wanted coin?
Remember these questions as you seek out a knowledgeable coin dealer!