Coin Consignment Questions

As a dealer there are few things I like more than getting coins on consignment. To my way of thinking, you’ve got to love receiving nice coins for inventory without having to write a check for them. In a market like this, where it is very hard for me to buy nice, fresh coins, I am enthusiastic about receiving consigned coins from gold collectors. But I have noticed that many potential consignors do not fully understand the process. Here are my answers to some consignment related questions. What consignment rate do most dealers charge?

The usual rate ranges from a low of 5% to a high of 10%. The rate depends, of course, on the size of the consignment, the relationship of the consignor to the dealer and what sort of coins are involved. If one of my very best clients was consigning a nice group of fresh $5,000-10,000+ coins, I would be likely to charge a lower rate than for someone I barely knew offering me a group of slightly better date Type Three double eagles. Consignment rates are generally lower when the money generated by sales is applied towards new purchases from the firm chosen to handle the consignment.

What should consignors expect from dealers?

The consignor should expect full paperwork from the dealer explaining the consignment rate and the expected length of the consignment process as well as payment and return terms. The consignor should also expect that the coins will be imaged and described in a fairly prompt period of time. The image(s) and description(s) should be of a similar quality to the dealer’s regular inventory.

What consignor requests are considered unrealistic by dealers?

Some consigned coins sell quickly and some take a long period of time to sell. Don’t expect the dealer to sell all of the coins in a week. Price your coins fairly. If the consignor paid too much for a coin from another dealer do not expect the dealer who is now trying to sell the coin to be a miracle worker. The dealer should not be expected to write unrealistic descriptions or to make an ugly coin look nice through the miracles of digital photography.

Are consignment sales better than putting coins in auctions?

This really depends on the coins and the firm(s) in question. Without blowing my own horn too loudly, I would say that in most situations my firm is a far better choice to sell certain coins than a major auction company. The main reason for this is personal service. At an auction, you’ll be one of 100+ consignors at any given time while at my firm, you may be one of only two or three consignors. I tend to know the coins I specialize in far better than an auction company and, in my opinion, can do a better job pricing and marketing them. But my ability to outperform an auction company is probably best exhibited in my ability to sell United States gold coinage. I do not think I would be a great choice to sell a collection of Peace Dollars. I think the same can be said for most specialist-dealers when they operating outside their realm(s) of expertise.

In most cases, consignment sales can be a true win-win situation for dealers and collectors. It is a scenario in which both parties are working for the same goal and one that, as long as everyone understands what is expected of each other, should turn out well.