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Rare Coins and Precious Metals 101

December 31, 2009 by  

Rare Coins and Precious Metals 101

In the past few years precious metals and rare coins have been very much in focus
due to the incredible spending spree in Washington and the publicity of the central banks becoming net buyers of gold.

As happens with all bull markets, new companies spring up to take advantage of the trend and employ phone salesman with little or no experience with precious metals or rare coins who do nothing but follow scripted sales material.

Gold Rarities Gallery is actively involved in protecting consumers. In 2005 we joined with a number of other dealers to become a founding member of the not-for-profit organization, Numismatic Consumer Alliance (NCA). NCA dedicates its resources and activities to the education and protection of the coin consumer. The Alliance has now recovered a total of more than $4 million for such consumers since becoming operational in 2005. NCA intervenes on behalf of these buyers, engaging legal and other professional assistance, if necessary, in an effort to ensure that coin consumers are getting their money’s worth. The Alliance is reviewing other disputes involving coins for which consumers paid more than $10 million.

Today, to help Personal Liberty Digest readers, we are going to give you a checklist on how to separate those who can actually help you and those who just want to separate you from your money. Ask these questions and follow these guidelines and you will have a far more pleasant buying experience:

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • How long has the person you are dealing with been in the business? Many telemarketers hire salesman who know nothing about the products they are selling. The problem with this is that without the experience, they have no idea whether what their employer is selling is a good deal or not.

Never ask this:

  • What is your commission or markup? The reason this is the wrong question for the average person to ask is because a dealer can say he is working at 5 percent, which to the average person sounds reasonable. The problem is, if the company is not very good at buying coins and they are overpaying by 15 percent, then it’s not such a great deal. This is where actual experience can make a huge difference. The best thing to do is always simply compare actual prices.

Bait and Switch
The fact that the practice of bait and switch is illegal doesn’t seem to deter some companies from offering something at a low price to entice you and then have the “expert” who answers the phone try to convince you something else is a better deal. If this happens hang up and find a new company.

What coins should you buy?
The answer to this question could literally be different for everyone who reads this. Your choices:

  • Certified Modern CoinsThe United States Mint strikes numerous issues which it then distributes to the public via authorized dealers or its own web site. Some of the more popular products find their way to the major grading services and are usually seen as MS-69 and MS-70 or Proof 69 and Proof 70. At Gold Rarities we do sell certified modern coins on occasion when the prices are not too much of a premium above their spot value. The lone exception we make to that in-house rule is the 1-ounce American Silver Eagle in MS-70, which is currently $99 and is one of the most popular and widely collected coins ever produced. Twenty coin rolls, of course, can be bought for far less. Many certified modern coins are simply bad deals with very high markups and should be evaluated carefully before purchase. The more popular certified bullion coins are the Gold and Silver Eagles and the Gold Buffalo pieces. When buying certified coins we suggest sticking with the two most established grading services, which are Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS), the only two we use.
  • Rare CoinsThere are simply too many areas of the rare coin market to cover here but among the most popular issues are the Morgan and Peace Dollars as well as the St Gaudens and $20 Liberty gold. Again, we suggest sticking with the major grading services NGC and PCGS. In the case of the pre-1933 gold and silver coins, we also recommend the additional protection of the Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC) verification.

What is (CAC)?
Gold Rarities Gallery has always been known for selling quality material. We have been known to sift through hundreds of coins just to find the few nuggets that meet our strict criteria. However, an ever-increasing number of certified coins on the market are considered low end for their grade and some we have rejected over and over again.

CAC holds coins to a higher standard so you can be confident in the value of yours.

CAC verifies previously graded coins and awards their sticker only to those coins that meet the standard for today’s sophisticated buyer.

Gold Rarities Gallery sells only coins certified by NGC and PCGS, almost all of which will have the additional CAC verification.

What the CAC sticker means:

  • Verified. Your coin has been verified as meeting the standard for strict quality within its grade.
  • Guaranteed. CAC stands behind our verification by making markets in the most actively traded coins.

The CAC Sticker is Backed by Experience

CAC was founded by leading members of the numismatic community including John Albanese, a respected authority on coin grading and the rare coin market.

At Gold Rarities Gallery we handle everything from a couple of hundred dollars to major seven-figure rarities. Whether you are building a set of major rarities, or you just pick up a single piece every now and then, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-224-3160 and put our 24 years of experience to work for you.

Gold Rarities Gallery maintains one of the lowest overheads in the business and that allows us to work closer with our customers than our competitors ever could, and our 24 years of industry contacts are second to none. More importantly, we are very picky as far as quality is concerned and we only sell coins that meet very strict eye appeal standards.

To view our entire inventory visit us on the web at, and while there, feel free to fill out our WANT LIST form to get first shot at all new purchases.

—Al Pinkall

Al Pinkall

, president of Gold Rarities Gallery, has been collecting coins since his childhood and began his journey as a full-time coin dealer in 1985. He has been a coin buyer for some of the largest dealers in the country, and in 1996 founded Gold Rarities Gallery. Al has also been heavily involved in consumer protection in the coin industry and in 2005 he was one of the founding members of Numismatic Consumer Alliance, a numismatic watchdog group that intercedes on behalf of collectors when they have been treated unfairly by anyone in the industry. Al makes his home in New Hampshire and is married with two children.

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  • ray courtnage

    Is SDL in NJ reliable trust worthy honest company?

  • Gorba

    Is Goldline trustworthy and honest?

    • dale bennett

      gold line charges a very hi commision when gold was 600 i got 2 ms 69 pcgs buffalo coins at $1156. there where other places a year later that i found selling them for 800-900 same grade same coin, i like apmex and bullion direct and jason homell the silver stock analist rock something coin shop for 100 oz and larger on silver

  • Kyril

    I wish I had know this back in 1999 when I began buying rare gold and silver coins. I realize I had over paid for them back then, but now that would be considered way below almost giving them away at todays prices.

  • Macattack

    Is IRI a reputable firm. I got 100 Silver Eagles from them a while back for $2100.

    • Ron Kaneko

      I have been dealing with IRI for over 10 years and have been very pleased with their service. If you bought silver dollars @ $21.00 per coin, you have paid the “going” price of the silver + a little markup for the dealer. The question as to whether or not IRI is a reputable firm is to sell them back the coins “as the price of silver rises”. They will buy it back at a “discount” on the spot price of silver, which may be at your buying price or not, depending on the spot price of silver. Many firms will not buy the coins back or will drag their feet or try to persuade you to switch into something else they are selling.

  • Richard, PA

    What a lot of nonsense – grading of bullion coins is hogwash. These are not currency and their value is the bullion and that’s it. If someone is will to pay $99 for an MS70 American Eagle when silver spot is $16.70 they are an idiot. I watched Goldline prices on the gold 20 French franc at $416 when spot was $1120.00 and at Apmex it was selling for $226.00. Be careful people these guys are thieves.

    Rating bullion coins is just like the beanie Baby Craze and you will lose your shirt if you get on the emotional bandwagon. Bullion is worth its bullion price (spot) plus a transaction fee of about 10% or so. Don’t overpay, check out other firms like Apmex before you jump. I made these same mistakes and payed way more than I should have from some of these same firms as recommended by Glen Beck and others.

    • Royce

      Richards correct about gold value I dont know about grading but i stumbled on the apmex website by accident and discovered 3 years ago i could buy canadian maple leaf troy ounce, from the royal canadian mint which are 4- 9999s fine for about $20. over spot gold price, these are the purest gold coins on the planet, Lol, so be careful, Ps if u want buy american eagles for $100.00 I sale u all u can haul home lol.

  • Emily Puhalla

    Is Goldline trustworthy and honest?

    • Jim

      I bought a bunch of 20 Franc gold pieces from these people thinking that they would be considered numismatic, rather than bullion. Turns out what they sent me was POST 1933. They are smooth talking crooks and I will never buy from them again. Watch out for Norman Smith.

      • Marvin

        You can add Andrea (something) to that list.

    • Average Guy

      You do not want to deal with Goldline. I received a quote from them on Swiss Francs when spot gold was $875 an ounce. Their pricing made the 20 Franc coin about $1500 an ounce. They claimed it was because the Federal Gov’t couldn’t confiscate. BS I’m not sure how they stay in business. I’ve had good luck with Gainsville Coin in Tampa, FL, but there are several good dealers with reasonable markups over spot.

  • Joe

    Stay away from Goldline….. APMEX and Bullion Direct are good. I tend to agree with Richard. You really have to do alot of homework when dealing with numismatic coins!!

  • s c

    One of the messages that must ALWAYS be in the back of your mind is that our government (and central banks) want us to believe that gold and silver are ‘bad.’ This is a bald-faced LIE, but YOU have to decide what it means. WHY do people expect life to be easy? Only a CHILD expects life to be ‘easy.’
    Investing in coins/metals is not simple or easy.
    Do some research. Ask questions. Ask friends. Get an idea who’s reputable. Know who’s been in business for a long time. Know who’s ‘new.’
    Buy something. If you’re a short-term investor,
    you’ll have a different perspective than someone who’s a long-term investor. What do you expect to get from your purchases?
    YOU have to decide who’s trustworthy in politics. Coins/metals are not any different. If you expect to be led by the hand, you might as well live in a cave and see yourself as an animal. THINK.

    • DaveH

      I agree. I prefer a hands on approach. It’s not that hard to check the coins to be relatively certain of their authenticity. A nice pair of digital calipers can be had for about $30. And a nice digital scale is around the same price. With these and the vast resources of the net it is relatively easy to check those coins for validity.
      Here’s a site for example for Silver Coins:

    • Dennis

      Gold and silver is good, i buy it, i sell it, my wife said i was crazy now she thinks its the way to go, thats just my opion.

  • T. Stamps

    What about United States, Rare Coin & Buillion Reserves. Austin Texas. Is this a legit co. Thanks

  • chuck b

    in case anyone is interested, the 2009 silver eagle has no monetary value other than silver content. this coin was not produced by the u.s. mint. this information was received from the

    • Dan2

      Chuck , I don’t understand what you are saying here. My 2009 silver eagles say “one dollar” on them. Exactly what is the U.S. mint talking about. Is the US that broke , is the dollar void and only worth the silver??

      • chuck b


        i order proof silver eagles each year. this year when i put my order in they advised the coins would be produced later in the year and it never happened. the last time i called the mint they told me there would be no silver eagle coins produced by the mint and i asked about the circulated coins advertised on ebay and was told they were minted by a private company and were for collection value only, no monetary value. i called the mint twice to verify this and received the same answer.

      • chuck b


        the mint also said they furnished the silver blanks for the company that produced the 2009 silver eagle dollar. what the governments reason for not minting the silver dollar in 2009 is beyond me, they gave no explanation why. i don’t think you have to worry about the $ mark on the coin i’m sure anyone would give you a dollar for it. the silver content is one ounce so it will always be worth the price of silver.

  • CottonMan

    Revolution is Coming to America!!

    I strongly recommend to everyone to get the gold/silver as much as you can cause that will be the only thing used to buy necessities.

    Just read that new book out about a small town in America that stands up to federal tyranny (9/12 March is only the beginning) & ends up starting the 2nd AMerican Revolution.

    Get ready for it & get ur money on gold/silver to survive. Maybe, history is now asking each of us to leave our legacy & make our true destiny. Great read.

    • Average Guy

      I say get your money out of the US dollar as much as possible. THEN get yourself out of the US. If you are a middle class hard working independent thinker then you are the ememy of this Marxist government. There are many counties that will welcome you and treat you right. Protest your assets and thumb your noise at Obama. He and his band of theives want to enslave you. Now, if you like being told what to do with your life and think the world owns you something, then stay and vote again for this commie in 2012

      • Boldseer

        The Gov is considering CLOSING THE BORDERS because of SWINE FLU. YOU ARE RIGHT, GET OUT of the US ASAP.

      • Boldseer

        The Gov is considering CLOSING THE BORDERS because of SWINE FLU.

  • http://nagr El Guapo

    First , We need to ask GOD for the help that we ALL need. Without GOD ,WE CAN DO NOTHING ! GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE AND PRAYER CHANGES THINGS!……….Blessing’s on YOU ALL !


    Trust no one and study thoroughly! It’s “caveat emptor” to the unwary and the uneducated buyer!

  • Boldseer

    I was a moron and panicked when the market tanked. I bought 2500 silver eagle proofs from Swiss America, who said they were not confiscatable by the gov.. PLEASE don’t do what I did. You can find these proofs on e-bay for $23.00. I spent $55.00. Sickening!!! I rushed into it, driven by fear. EL GUAPO is right, God says: “Be anxious for NOTHING!” Don’t be had by any of these shysters. Do your do-diligence and DO NOT BUY FROM SWISS AMERICA!!!!

    • SSC

      You were not a moron “then”. You should do your homework prior to wining as proof silver eagles are currently wholesaling at over $54 per coin and swiss America is bidding coins bought from them at over $55 per coin. I suggest that you call them and apologize once you know the facts.

    • Boldseer

      I must retract what I said about Swiss America because they really do care about their customers. They try to educate those of us who are buying metals for the first time. I was able to sell my proofs back to them for a profit, which was great!

  • Confused

    What about gold bar instead of coin?
    I was told by the dealer that they would charge more on coins for craftmanship, and that the price at what they buy back, if I wanted to sell it back to the same dealer, is not much different.
    So I bought gold bars, as that seemed to be straightforward right ?
    Any comment would be appreciated


  • Annie Ladysmith

    Here’s the deal: you can have your paper “money” or you can exchange it, while you are still “allowed”, for something more “practical”, even 14c gold chains will be worth more than a wheelbarrow full of monopoly dollars. While gov. mints (US or Can.) are still minting, that seems to me to be the most logical…no-one cares about “rare” coins, it will be the silver or gold content that will count.

    If everyone pisses off and leaves America to the wolves who will start the second revolution? Rev. says the choice is captivity or the sword, remember the WHOLE WORLD will worship the beast, no matter where you run you will eventually have to make a stand.

  • dick bedard

    have been dealing with 1st national reserve located in beaumont,tx. need to know if they are reputable/honest/reasonably priced etc.any info please!, been buying double eagles from them.

    • David Hancock

      I would say not to trust 1st National Reserve, or any of the other names it goes under. I have discovered that my dad (elderly widower) paid over $300,000 for coins from 2005 – 2007 that 1st National now says are worth not quite 1/2 that amount. A loss of about $150,000. If you have any information I am setting up a website ( to warn others. Please send to

  • khern3

    Dose anybody know anything about Swiss America??

    • SSC

      Good company. Quick delivery. Nice coins. They are not the cheapest but their price is fair and their buy back policy is the best.

    • Boldseer

      Yes, Swiss America is really great. They were able to turn over the proofs I bought from them and make me a nice little profit. I recommend them!

  • Silver Eagle

    I wouldn’t go as far as some folks and say that the sky is falling. But historically speaking, coins are a safe bet.

  • http://Ohyeah,that'smyTampaBayBucsplayingliketheyshouldbeplaying!ShutouttheNiners,yeahbaby! Christian

    Tampa Bay Vs. San Francisco YAY!!!!! 49ers r sooo gonna win lol :)


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