As of mid February, 2021, we are happy to have recently been able to pick up a few collections as well as miscellaneous coins from other regular sources (dealers, auctions, and the like.) Really, we pretty well scour the market for coins that are good errors to then offer to you our customers. So what are some of the things we deal with or situations we find ourselves in as mint error buyers? Below are some of the more common areas that create a challenge.
What do we look for when looking for coins? First, the coin itself has to obviously be authentic and not have any problems that are not acceptable. Sometimes slabbed coins will have a problem, perhaps that developed after it was certified or which might have been missed by a grader, and so we either pass on those or buy them realizing we will need to sell them at a discount to our customers. Even though 3rd party grading services have good quality holders, the coin still need to be stored in such a way as to prevent them from corroding, developing ugly toning, and the like. This is because the holders are not truly airtight, even if they are excellent at preventing air transfer.
Also, sometimes (and this is very rare), a counterfeit coin makes its way into a 3rd party grading service’s holder. These are guaranteed by the major, reputable services, and the buyer of them will get a refund. However, it can of course be a headache going through the process, and so we can save our customers that hassle of buying a counterfeit. Additionally, if a certified coin is cracked out of its holder it will no longer have the services warranty, so a customer who bought a counterfeit and then cracked the coin out, perhaps to get it reholdered with a different grading service, would be in for a rude awakening when they realize they are out of luck getting that coin warranted by the grading service. Again, it is rare for a major grading service to certify a counterfeit error coin, but it has been known to occur, and is a headache and financial loss we at Sullivan Numismatics hope to help our customers avoid.
Another thing we do is look for good values. Weeding out overpriced mint errors is a continual event. Even if an individual discounts a coin 20% off their asking price, that doesn’t mean we can buy it for inventory—many times (many, many times) the coin is price welled beyond what a fair retail price would be, so in order for it to be a fair value, it would need a 50% discount just to be a fair retail price! So finding fairly priced coins, and then on top of that coins that we can buy at a wholesale price is a challenge. At Sullivan Numismatics, our hope is to be able to sell our customers coins that are fairly priced. The reason for the wide variance in prices is not the dishonesty of sellers, but rather a lack of published price guides, and also that to properly price error coins, the best method is simply knowing the market for error coins by having handled a large array of mint errors, and see what they have sold for.
Raw Coin’s Authenticity
For raw coins (coins not in 3rd party holders), the challenge of authenticity becomes much more immediate. Most of the time, the coin itself is authentic, but was altered to make it look like an error. Usually, the coin is easily detected as being post mint damage, but sometimes it can be much more tricky to determine, and that is where we hope to be providing a good service to our customers since any coin we sell raw we guarantee to be an authentic error, so our reputation is attached to the raw coins we sell.
We will continue to work hard for our customers, and look forward to bringing the best inventory of major mint errors we can find to our customers in the coming years!