A User's Guide to the Inventory Pages on my Website

If you are new to coin collecting or you haven’t spent much time on my website (www.raregoldcoins.com) you might not understand some of the nomenclature that appears on the inventory pages. Let’s take a look at a typical listing and let me guide you through the information and the symbols that appear with each coin. I’m going to choose a coin that is currently for sale in my inventory, an 1844-O eagle graded AU55 by NGC. The listing for this coin appears as follows:

1844-O $10.00 NGC AU55CAC 10/9 91/62 5000 $3,500

This seemingly innocuous line actually contains quite a bit of information and if you are not familiar with the terminology I use, it is going to seem like so much numerical babble.

The first and most obvious fact is that the coin is an 1844-O eagle. All of the coins on my website are listed chronologically and they are listed in denomination order from lowest to highest. Mintmarks are listed in alphabetical order.

The next piece of information is that the coin is graded AU55 by NGC. I only sell coins graded by PCGS or NGC on my website. There are no exceptions to this rule. Ever.

The “CAC” designation means the coin has been sent to CAC and it has been given a green sticker that designates it as being acceptable for the grade by CAC’s standards. If a coin does not have a CAC sticker there are a few possible explanations. It may be right after a coin show and I have not yet sent it to CAC. Or, it may be a coin that I do not feel is necessary to send to CAC. Or, it might be a very expensive coin that I do not feel comfortable mailing to CAC. I like CAC and agree with its standards and objectives but I am not “locked into” selling only CAC coins. I would suggest that if you have a question about why one of my coins isn’t CAC-stickered, ask me. I’m happy to give you an honest answer.

The next two pieces of information have to do with certified populations. In this case, “10/9” means that the population at PCGS for the 1844-O eagle is ten in AU55 and nine in higher grades while NGC has graded ninety-one in this grade and sixty better.

Certified populations are something that I think are important but there is a downside to this level of transparency. For the most part, these numbers are inflated by resubmissions and, in the case of the 1844-O in NGC AU55, they are inflated to the point of irrelevancy.

In many instances, when I disagree with a certified population I will note this in the description of the coin. And whenever possible I will state what I believe to be a more accurate population.

The next number, in this case “5,000” is the price given in the most recent copy of Coin World’s “Coin Values.” This figure is better known to collector as “Trends” and it represents a suggested retail price for a coin. In most cases, I sell coins in the 60-80% range of Trends. There are clear exceptions to this rule and if I think that Trends is too low for a certain issue (a perfect example would be an 1883-O eagle in any grade) I will note this in the description and explain why my price is greater than the Trends valuation.

There are times when I use the designation “Q” for pricing and this refers to the Quarterly Bid listed in the current Coin Dealer Newsletter or Greysheet. This tends to be for coins such as Proof gold where Trends is not used or for higher grade listings (MS64 and up) that are not addressed by Trends.

After this comes my price; in this case $3,500. I try and price coins fairly and I try to price them at levels that discourage excessive negotiation. I never list coins as “POR” (Price On Request). If I have a new coin priced at $3,500 the chances are very good that I will not sell it for $3,000 but I might sell it for a small discount. As with most businesses, I tend to price coins most favorably to repeat clients or to those collectors that I have established a good rapport.

After the price is listed, I have a modifier that explains the status of a coin. If a coin has been in my inventory for two weeks or less it is designated as “new.” If I have had the coin for more than 30 days and I realize the original price might have been too high, I will mark the coin as being “reduced.” If someone has ordered the coin but I have not yet received payment for it, it is designated as being “on hold.” If you see a coin that interests you but it is marked as being on hold, I would suggest you still contact me. From time to time, deals fall through or people who order a coin return it and if you are next in line you might still have a chance to buy it. A coin that has been paid for is marked “sold.” I might leave it out on the website for a few more days to brag or just because it was a cool coin and I think visitors to my website would like to see the photo.

Last but not least is an icon that shows if a coin has an image or not. Generally it takes a day or two for images to get done and they are all shot in house by my talented wife Mary Winter. None of the images are “juiced” or manipulated in Photoshop and I think they give an extremely good representation of what the coin will look like in hand. I will say this: most of my clients tell me that Mary’s images are among the best on the web and that if the coin looks good on the computer screen, it almost always looks even better in person.

I try to be as candid and transparent as possible with my descriptions. If a coin has a noticeable mark on the obverse near star three, I will mention this because I think it is important. My descriptions tend to focus on the appearance of a coin and since originality and color are so important to me, these tend to be described in greater detail than luster or strike.

The bottom line is that I think I’ve created a website that is easy to use and that operates in the fashion that I would like the “ideal site” to if I were a collector. I am always looking to fine tune or improve my site and would welcome your creative input.