Being a coin dealer is a fun and rewarding job. This career makes the most sense if coin collecting is already a big hobby of yours. It also makes sense if you currently work for a coin dealer. This is because it's much easier to get started if you already have numismatic knowledge and you know today's coin market.
It's important for us to state that becoming a coin dealer doesn't have to be a full-time job. Many dealers only work coin shows while others just do online auctions from home. You don't need a physical store.
Let's now take a look at some of the main skills that you need for this career.
General Business Skills
Coin dealing is a business and you need to have at least some basic business skills in order to be successful.
You absolutely need to be a good negotiator. Otherwise you won't make as much profit. Many customers will try to negotiate with you, and most items will sell below their sticker price.
You will get better at negotiating over time, but it's important that you first learn a few tactics. We recommend reading the Secrets of Power Negotiating. It's a basic book but it details all of the most effective negotiating tactics.
You need to be friendly and have a good relationship with your customers. It's important to have regular customers because in many cases, your regular customers will make up a large part of your business. This business is built on relationships. So you need to do everything you can to strengthen and grow relationships, and get to know your customers better.
Having good customer relations also means that you need to be available. This doesn't mean 24/7, but it does mean business hours Monday-Friday, and also Saturdays. You need to keep your phone on, and you need to check your email often. You want to be known as someone who can reply quickly to inquiries, because this will help build your reputation.
Record keeping and inventory management is very important. You need to keep track of all your expenses, revenue, and profit. If you are just starting out then you can do all this with just an excel spreadsheet.
After you've had some success and you start to expand, you will want to buy an accounting software such as Quickbooks online. This particular service will cost you about $35 per month. It's not cheap but it will keep you organized and save you a lot of time and headaches.
You also want to know which coins you have on hand. Excel is an option or you can create your own system that works best for you. There are some software options available but we don't have any recommendations- you will need to do your own research.
On the Job Skills
Below are skills that are specific for this job.
Spot Fake Coins
Buying fake coins can ruin your overall profit. Selling fake coins (unknowingly) can ruin your reputation. You want to be able to quickly spot fake coins and when in doubt, don't buy the coin. Read our guide on how to test silver.
Fake silver bullion coins are common. But you also need to be wary of fake numismatic coins. The more valuable a coin is, the more you need to do your due diligence before buying.
Find Undervalued Coins
How can you really set yourself apart from other dealers? One way is to find undervalued coins. If you go to a coin show and dig through piles of coins then you would want to find at least a few undervalued coins, buy them, and then re-sell them for a nice profit.
It's also important that you always know the current scrap price of silver and gold. This will help in your search for undervalued coins.
Spot the Trends
You need to know what buyers want, and what they will want in the future. Intuition is key for this. Follow the trends and predict where they will go. Buy up the coins that you believe will increase in value in the near future.
Good with Technology
When you're working you always need to have access to the latest spot prices. When you're out you will need to be able to use your phone to check the prices and use a calculator to get the bullion value. Our silver coin calculator is handy to use, and it loads well on a desktop, tablet, and mobile phone.
Do You Need a Physical Store?
You don't need a physical store in order to become a coin dealer. In fact, when you first get started we don't recommend that you open one. It's best to follow the lean startup principal- start small without investing too much capital.
Once you start gaining success, then you can invest more money and consider opening your own store. But when you first get started, we recommend that you book a table at a few coin shows and see how you do. You could also create an eBay seller account and put up some listings. This way you can keep your overhead and inventory low.
Advantages of a Physical Store
With a physical store you can gain a reputation and take over your local market. People will come to you, so you won't have to work as hard finding leads. Some of the best deals would be from people coming directly into your store to sell old coins or scrap silver. Having a store also gives you more credibility.
Disadvantages of a Physical Store
With a physical store you are going to incur a large startup cost. The total startup cost will include: insurance, building lease, lawyer and accountant fees, among other costs. There is also plenty of paperwork and you will need to be compliant with federal, state, and local government regulations.
So there are plenty of disadvantages but it largely depends on the state you would be operating in. Some states are more business friendly than others with regards to taxes and LLC filing fees.
This isn't a job you can go to school for. It's best for someone with extensive coin knowledge and good business skills. It's difficult to gain all the skills in a quick time-frame. Lots of coin dealers grew up in the business because many shops are family businesses. Overall the job is best for those who have previously worked for a coin dealer as an apprentice. If you're interested but you don't have the coin knowledge yet then you should join a local coin club.
Our big recommendation would be to start off small. Do a few coin shows, sell a few coins on eBay, and see if this is the right career for you. If you are really business savvy and are having tremendous success, then you can consider opening up a physical store.