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Hardest Thing to Do
June 26, 2012

What’s the hardest thing for collectors to do?

If I had to pick one thing, I would say the hardest thing to do is sell something.

Collectors have a huge emotional investment in their hobby. Selling a coin is a sort of act of validation that what they have been doing all this time was useful and valuable.

If the price offered for something that I want to sell is below what I want, it becomes a slap in the face for how I have chosen to spend many years of my time.

The alternative interpretation is you happen to want to sell something the market has no particular interest in today.

That is not a swipe at how you have chosen to spend your time, but simply a market calculation.

How can you divorce yourself from your sense of being demeaned when prices don’t go your way?


You need to sell something.

Nobody picks up the give and take of negotiation without actually doing it a few times.

Offering to sell something means you have to put yourself out there on the line and take your lumps, or record your triumphs.

So pick a few things. It could be a little silver or gold you have held for years. It could be a proof set, or a proof silver American Eagle.

Whatever the items are, take them to a shop and try to sell them.

Take those or other items and try to sell them to a dealer with a table.

Offer something on eBay to learn what it is like to be an eBay seller.

While regular auctions are also a good way to sell coins, they are not usually the best method of selling a ragbag of pieces that you might want to use in an experiment of this kind.

It is less important what you actually sell these pieces for than the lessons you learne in the process.

You might discover a new dealer that you are very comfortable dealing with and he or she will be a valuable contact over the years.

These lessons in selling will serve you well when the time really comes when you want to sell your prize pieces.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

More Coin Collecting Resources:

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• Subscribe to our Coin Price Guide, buy Coin Books Coin Folders and join the NumisMaster VIP Program

Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 2nd Edition

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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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