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When fortune smiles on you
February 02, 2011

The art of bargaining is one that doesn’t come naturally to many collectors. There is give and take between the buyer and seller that is almost like a play where two actors know their lines and are simply waiting for each other to deliver them.

To be truly comfortable, it takes practice.

A question arrived in my e-mail this morning where the sender asked what obligation he has to the other party.

It is a very interesting question.

In this case one party is a bank teller. The other party is the writer of the e-mail.

The collector goes to the bank each week and is a familiar customer. The teller brought to his attention a 2003 one dollar coin.

Yes, I thought it might be a Sac, too, but don’t let your thoughts jump ahead.

The collector said he was interested in seeing it.

The teller produced a 2003 silver American Eagle.

Don’t forget, it does say “One Dollar” right there at the lower right on the reverse.

Naturally, the collector was very interested. He paid his $1 and was on his way.

Now he wonders if he owes the teller anything when he sells the coin for silver value, which is over $28.

He wonders if I would advise him.

I will.

This is what I will say:

“Congratulations on your find. The bank teller did you a favor and I hope you will remember it as one and treat him or her accordingly.

“I do not know what the bank’s policy is regarding employees collecting coins out of the till. If it prohibits such a thing, the teller was passing on good fortune to you.

“If the bank’s policy would allow the teller to exchange the coin for a dollar, then the teller had the chance to do so and declined the opportunity.

“Either way, there is no further obligation on your part.

“Enjoy your find.”

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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