Buying & Consigning
Other buyers are glad to pay you wholesale for both the rare and the common items but we have a better plan. We will act as seller's agent and get your more valuable items into a major, show-venue auction, with the best firm for your material, and at a commission rate often better than what the firm itself would offer. We can even advance funds while you await auction results. For lower-value items, we give you a fast, fair, itemized offer, not a "total only" that leaves you wondering how we figure each item, and no way to check values yourself or get a competing opinion. YOU get to approve our offer, coin by coin, and we pay return postage for any offers you don't accept.
What's the Process? Collapse/expand
What we buy
We buy a wide range of material, from bulk to rarities, but prefer intact collections. Our specialty is pre-1960s Asian coins - we were the largest importing dealer in these series from the 1970s-1990s - but we do well with modern European, Latin American, etc. We also specialize in numismatic literature and ethnographic monies. We don't do much with ancient Mediterranean series or U.S. / Canadian. Many of our collection purchases are from past customers, and fellow dealers.
Check us out
I have been in business under my own name since 1966, specializing in Asian coins and numismatic literature. We produced over 100 printed price lists before migrating to the internet, some of which are still useful as references. Until 1999 I had a large retail operation with up to five employees, and I've always been a dealer's dealer, producing fixed wholesale pricelists and briefly brokering mailing lists. Look around this website; google me; ask other dealers. Any dealer who has been in the world coins business for more than 15 years knows my reputation. Knowing your collecting interests and location, I can give you more specific trade references. Banking references on request.
Contact us. Let us know generally what you have to sell. If we are not the top buyers for that series, we will tell you who is. We may ask for photos, or authorize you to send for our inspection. Generally we do not make offers or estimates based on photos or lists. If you show specific items to auction firms it can set up a conflict that would not allow us to represent you, so please contact us for advice first.
Ship to us
Shipping instructions. For larger collections we may travel, or meet you at a major coin show, but any buyer will pay less when figuring in the time and expense of travel.
Within two weeks...
We will prepare an itemized listing of coins, including: Basic description, Catalog references, Grade, and estimate of retail value (Items under $40 retail may be grouped). Auctionable items receive close attention: research, identification of special varieties, and favorable descriptions. We may authenticate where needed through our own experts. If third-party authentication or grading is needed, we will discuss this with you before incurring any costs.
For auctionable items (generally $150-300+) we will discuss with you the BEST auction firm for your material, expected results, reserves, comissioins, and payment dates. Because we will bid our own buy price, we GUARANTEE a sale AND can pay you right away, not the usual 5-8 month turnaround for auctions. We then monitor the auction process, collect payment, and - because your items will likely sell for MORE than our minimum bid - send you the "bonus" money, less a small commission. By submitting large, regular consignments and doing the writeups, we get EXCELLENT terms from the auction firms, which we pass along to you.
Lower value material
We usually offer 40% ("bulk" material) to 80% of our retail estimates. Offers for items of $40 retail and above will be itemized. Lesser items will be grouped, usually in by-country or by-series lots. When you receive our report, you can check the offers against catalog prices, do your own research, or get opinions from other buyers. You may accept any or all offers INDIVIDUALLY and we will return, or forward, at our expense any items you do not wish to sell. We make payment immediately upon your acceptance.
We assume risk of loss, damage, or fraud while items are in our posession. Auction firm's terms prevail once they have received submitted items.
More About Using A Seller's Agent Collapse/expand
We know the firms
There are reputable and disreputable firms. There are firms that get top results in some series, but not in others. There are major venues where a high tide floats all boats, and the "other" sales which charge the same commission but get poorer results. As your agent it's my job to know the difference, and my sole goal is to get you the best results.
We know the numbers
Commissions charged sellers are negotiable. As a dealer consignor I already get the best rates and can usually represent you for no more than the firm itself would charge, sometimes less. Consignment minimums are generally $5000 in $300+ items, and this level will not get you a good commission rate. As agent, I aggregate single items from multiple sellers, or get a waiver of this requirement as a regular consignor.
We know the material
Auction employees vary greatly in their expertise in general, and in any given series. They focus on high-grade, high-value items and devote as little time as possible to each in order to create a basic description, assuming bidders will catch omissions or identify rarer varieties from the photo. As specialists in Asian, African and unusual money forms, we can identify varieties a non-specialist will miss, and can include marginal items they consider not worth auctioning. Our research creates more favorable, more comprehensive descriptions and estimates, saving the auction firm time and yielding better results for the seller.
Getting the most for the common items
Each auction firm has a minimum lot value, often about $300. Yet, most collections have more than 50% of their value in coins of lesser value. Auction firms will usually reject a "bottom-heavy" collection entirely rather than spend time looking for rarities. Or, they may offer a very safe, cheap fixed buy offer, or will auction in large bulk lots, without photographs, getting wholesale results. As agents, we can get more of this material into major sales by submitting marginal items, by researching more specialized varieties that the auction employees may overlook, by creating runs or logical groupings of less valuable material, or by authenticating items which can not be "slabbed" or require specialized knowledge.
Going the extra distance
We maintain a database of over 12,000 world-coin collectors, all keyed by collecting specialties. We supplement the auction firm's own client list and publicity by alerting potential buyers to particular lots or series, with links to the auction site, or posting scans of multi-item lots on our website.
Auction firms do not like to discuss reserves, but in volatile markets, or for slow series or lower-grade material, we can set reasonable reserves, buying you a second chance. We use the short window between the auction firm's pre-sale report and the catalog printing to correct misattributions, bad descriptions inappropriate estimates, and other errors that could cost you money. After the sale, we check the payment report against the published list of realized prices.
What about ebay?
The seller describes, submits, handles inquiries, ships, and assumes all risks. We can offer advice if you choose to go this route.
Shipping Coins (Etc.) To Us Collapse/expand
Make and keep a visual record of your items using camera, scanner, or photocopier. If you have digital or printed inventory, please send us a copy. Excel database or Word document preferred. This can save us time in attributing or evaluating. We will make our own itemized offer, or can use yours.
TIGHT is the word! Allowing contents to shift during shipment can shred paper envelopes, abrade items, and cause the packing box to burst from the inside out.
- Individual items: Any fragile items such as beads or antiquities should be individually wrapped in tissue paper, bubble-wrap, etc. or placed in small boxes, pill bottles, etc.
- Boxes of 2"x2" envelopes or staple-shut holders: Compress the coins tightly toward one end of the row. Use wadded paper or other filler to fill any gap at the other end. Put folded strips of newspaper on top of the row to crush the envelope tops down to the level of the coins within. If coins can move freely inside envelopes, they will work their way loose in shipment.
- Plastic pages of 2"x2" holders: Do not leave these in ring binders. Stck several loose pages together and wrap in newspaper. Tape the bundles with two strips of tape running top to bottom and one from side to side. Tape should be tight enough to compress the top and bottom edges of the bundle. This will keep the coins from falling out of the pockets in shipment.
- Proof sets / Mint Sets: If coins are loose, remove carefully without touching the coin surfaces, and place each in an envelope, or wrap in cloth. If coins fit tightly in their holes, leave them. Place cloth (coins) and paper sheets (wrapped coins) over them until the holder bulges when closed. Wrap holder in newspaper and tape shut.
- Rolls: Rolled coins can be placed in a small box, or simply taped together. Use styrofoam or other padding between bundled rolls and any fragile items.
- Beads: Loose beads or strands should be put in plastic bags (grocery, etc.) and twisted into a tight ball, then taped around. Glass on glass will not abrade if tight. Place these balls in a box and fill spaces between with styrofoam or tightly wadded paper.
- Books: Books should be stacked by similar size and the stacks wrapped in newspaper, then taped both directions. Stacks should run top-bottom within the box, not edgewise. Separate book stacks from any dense contents, such as bundled coin rolls.
Get one each size of the free flat-rate boxes from the post office and choose the best fit. They are free and cheap to ship compared to weight-based rates. Stuff Styrofoam peanuts, tightly crushed newspaper, etc. into any open spaces. Don't put so much weight into a box that it would burst if dropped - use styrofoam sheets or other dense padding between the contents and the box itself, or ship in more than one box. When the box is closed and shaken, you should not feel any shifting or hear any rattle. Use narrow strapping tape around the box both ways if it is heavy. Clear tapes are usually too broad to fit paper tape over top, which you will need if you register the package. Unless they are very valuable, use Media Mail, not flat rate boxes, for books.
- USA: Use postal insurance up to about $800. Above this, the $13 registration minimum fee is better protection, but you will need to cover any sticky tape with water-activated tape. The postal clerk can supply this. Keep your receipt; it includes the tracking number.
- From outside USA: Ship by registered or insured post. You may declare as coins and set any value, as there is no duty on coins to the USA. Do not declare age, or country of issue or origin, only "coins." Option: If your local postal system is not trustworthy and you wish to declare as "metal stamping samples" give a value under $200. If sending money items which are not in coin form, declare "ethnographic money / barter media". If sending non-monetary items, please request our instructions.
- Our Address: Scott Semans / 400 NW Gilman Blvd. #2347 / Issaquah, WA 98027 / USA
We will acknowledge receipt when picked up at the post office. We do not go to the post office every day. "Delivered" in tracking means placed in our P.O. box; it does not mean picked up.