In recent years, the Internet has become a thriving marketplace for the trade of antique coins. For informed collectors, this has opened up a vast array of opportunities, making it infinitely easier to find rarities and treasures. But for newcomers, it can all be a bit overwhelming. If you want to try your luck buying antique coins online, the following tips will help you find your way through the vagaries of the Internet.
Don’t Always Count On the Pictures
When private sellers want to sell most things online, good quality pictures are usually essential. The pictures should give buyers an accurate impression of the item that they are considering buying. This is certainly true with antique coins – but a compelling photo should not always be accepted at face value, as proof of the item’s authenticity or worth. Coin buyers should be very wary of any image that appears to be edited or doctored. Photos taken at odd angles are often an indication that the seller is trying to distort the look of the coin for some reason.
Although good quality images are important, poor quality photos are not always proof of inferior quality coins. A mediocre photo can simply mean that the seller is not handy with a camera. In fact, these cases sometimes deliver unexpected treasures.
Read the Fine Print – All of it
It may seem painstaking, but you should thoroughly read the listing of every antique coin that you find online. Unreliable sellers are often vague in their descriptions, making it difficult to assess whether the investment is worthwhile. The better sellers should give you succinct, unambiguous descriptions of what they are offering; so that you have all the information you need to buy safely. Reputable sellers will usually offer refunds and guarantees.
Pay Attention to the Country
Novice collectors are often warned to steer clear of coins from the southern and eastern parts of Europe, including Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia. It is, of course, possible to find excellent uncleaned coins from these Balkan regions but, without expert supervision, amateur collectors are likely to wind up with a few duds in their collection. If you are unsure, you can always seek second opinions at an online coin-collecting forum, or have a chat with the friendly staff at Harrington & Co – we’re always interested in curious antique coin finds.
Don’t be Shy – Ask Questions
When you are buying antique coins, ask the seller lots of questions. When jargon is used to describe a coin, make sure you have a clear understanding of all terminology. If the seller is a genuine collecting enthusiast, you can expect passionate, informed responses to your questions. If the seller is reluctant to answer your questions, or offers half-baked answers, it could be an indication that you are taking a risk by buying with him or her.