Monday, August 06, 2007

Coin Dealer Angst

I don't know what it is about coin dealers, but it seems that whenever I have to talk to one that I've never dealt with before, a feeling of uneasiness falls over me. . . . oh, wait . . . I do know what it is.

It's their methods of marketing and the crap that usually comes out of their mouths.

Now don't get me wrong. I know plenty of coin dealers that I find to be honest (in a salesman sort of way) and very pleasant to deal with, but every now and then I have an encounter that just renews my general distrust of coin dealers. One such encounter that comes to mind happened a couple of months ago.

In April, a dealer advertised that they were giving away free copies of books during National Coin Week. There were three titles to choose from and all you had to do is send them your name, address, and telephone number along with which title you wanted. There was no coin purchase necessary.

Two of the three titles were about double eagles. For those of you that know me, you know that double eagles are my passion (see link at right to view The Arlington Collection on the NGC registry). So I couldn't pass up this offer even though I knew it would lead to a sales call to try and get me to buy some coins. But I'm okay with that. If they had a great deal on a double eagle that I wanted, all the better.

A week or so went by when I finally got the sales call. Since I mentioned in my book request that I collect double eagles (and I was requesting one of the double eagle books), I figured he would tell me about some of the wonderful double eagles in their inventory. Instead, I got a line about what a great deal he had on a group of Carson City Morgan dollars. I forget exactly what the deal was, but it came to over $1,000. When I mentioned that I was not interested in the Morgan dollars, the salesman wouldn't take no for an answer and became pushy. He told me how I really needed to buy these coins. Each time he pushed, I responded that I was not interested in the Morgans. He started to get more aggressive demanding to know why I was turning down such an obvious good deal. This went on for what seemed like 20 minutes until he finally got aggravated enough that he hung up on me without even saying goodbye.

Not once during the call did he ask me what I was interested in or what I collected, although I gave that information in my book request. His only interest was to push those Morgans on me until he finally realized he wasn't going to change my "no" to a "yes." Once he came to that conclusion he hung up.

It's hard to express in writing just how bad the call went, but by the time it was over I knew that I would never buy a coin from that company. It's too bad because I collect double eagles and they sell double eagles. If he had offered me one double eagle that I was interested in, he would have had a larger sale than the price of that group of Morgan dollars.

It's experiences like these that sometimes make me think about getting out of coin collecting, but I never will. I enjoy the hobby too much. What I have learned is how important it is to find a good dealer that understands what it is that you collect and does not push you to buy coins you are not interested in. If you get a dealer who pushes, don't be afraid to say "no."

So, after all that, you might be wondering if they ever sent me the free book they promised as part of their celebration of National Coin Week. Well, I wasn't surprised when the book never came. It just validated my reasoning for not doing business with them. I did notice that they currently have a similar book offer on their website which is free to "their customers" (I guess that leaves me out). All you need to give them is your name, address, telephone number, and the book you wish to receive and they will contact you to confirm your order. I wonder what else they will do on that call.

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