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The business of buying and selling coins sure has changed over the years.
Once something done strictly behind bricks and mortar, coin dealers have in recent years made the jump to the Internet.
This has allowed once-localized retail shops to go international.
Today, there are hundreds of coin dealers who sell coins over the Internet. I personally have loved this trend, as now my ability to buy practically whatever coin I want is no further away than my computer!
Advantages Of Buying Coins Online
The advantages of buying coins from an online coin dealer are many.
The top reason why I have come to enjoy buying coins online was mentioned earlier: I like that whatever coin I want I can now find and purchase, quickly and easily. And if one online coin dealer doesn’t have the coin I want, I can simply click onto other online coin dealers’ sites and see what they have to offer.
Eventually, I always find what I want when I’m shopping for coins online.
Another advantage to buying coins online is the ability to do some price comparisons. You have no idea how many times I have gone online to find a coin I want, only to find the same coin cheaper elsewhere online. Of course, you must be wary of getting too keen on finding deals, or you might end up buying a coin that is inferior to another one that may cost just a bit more.
Buying coins online is generally safe and convenient. Credit card transactions and PayPal have made the check-out process with online coin dealers a cinch. And doing it all from the comfort of home is truly a luxury in its own right.
Disadvantages Of Buying Coins Online
However, there are downsides to buying coins online, too.
The top problem? Buying sight unseen.
The inherent nature of buying coins online is that you wil generally only see the coin you’re purchasing when it arrives in the mail — how nervewracking, huh? Very few online coin dealers actually show a picture of the coin they’re selling, and even with those who do, you can’t be absolutely positive that will be the coin you receive.
What if the coin you thought you were buying never shows up? Instead, what you get is some cleaned, damaged, worthless coin you would never want seen in your hands. While that is quite possible, it is unlikely, if you know that you are buying from a respected online coin dealer.
Here are some things you can do to prevent being “taken”:
- Check for return policies before you buy.
- Snoop around online to see if anybody has had any problems with the coin dealer (look for complaints).
- Check with the Better Business Bureau in the coin dealer’s town.
- You could even take a small chance and try a sample order with the dealer before buying an expensive coin from them.
Another downside to buying coins online is that you never really get a chance to talk with the coin dealer personally or be able to hold, touch, and examine what you’re buying before you buy it. That is a luxury you only get when buying coins from a local coin dealer.
If you’re like me, then you probably enjoy window shopping a bit before you buy coins, that’s why I make it a point to visit a few local coin dealers whenever I get a chance.
However, if you can choose a coin that’s right for your collection without having to physically examine it first, then you may want to buy some coins online. In the end, if you feel comfortable with the online coin dealer whose website you are perusing, then you may find that, in some ways, nothing beats buying coins online.
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!