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Purchasing Coins At A Public Auction

Jul 4, 2008
Auction officials may acquire their coins on consignment from private dealers, government agencies, collectors, estates, museums, banks, or other sources and then offers them to the public where bids are taken and the highest bidder then purchases the coin they have been bidding upon.

While participating in an auction might be extremely fun most collections have been formed from acquiring coins in this manner. Typically all auctions are conducted in the same manner, with the exception of auctions they do mailing bid sales. Normally auctions are conducted by licensed auctioneers with the auction itself containing a various amount of rare coins with the majority containing more common coins from a variety of series.

Before the actual auction begins, each coin is first graded and determined if it is desirable. Then some of these coins are sent to an agency where they will be certified. After the all coins have returned from being certified each coin is then assigned a lot number. The auctioneer company will then begin their process of researching and creating a catalogue for the auction. Each coin has to have their pedigrees verified, die varieties confirmed, and any market information has to be studied, which often brings surprising results to all involved.

Once the catalogues are completed, they are then distributed to clients, who are on a mailing list that belongs to the auctioneer company. Soon bids begin pouring in and the auctioneer company will begin posting the bids in preparation for the auction. On the day of the auction itself, clients have the opportunity to inspect the coins they plan to bid on. All floor bids are final, which is why it is important that the clients verify the grade and overall quality of the coins they plan to bid on beforehand.

As the auction starts, a single spokesperson, who is following the mail bids will announce the starting bid according to the bids from the mail, which are typically an advance over the second highest mail bid. After the spokesperson calls out the opening bid, the auctioneer will cry out that they have a bid of a certain amount and then ask for a higher bid. At this point if there is any competition from clients who would like to bid on that particular lot, then hands will begin going up. The auctioneer will continue advancing the amount, until that particular lot is sold to the highest bidder.

If on a particular lot no one within the audience makes a bid higher than the opening bid, then the lot automatically goes to the bidder who mailed in their bid. If a bidder at the auction bids the same amount as the highest bidder who mailed in their bid, then the lot would go to the mail in bid because theirs was received first.

When purchasing coins at any auction be cautious of any coins that are sold under "as is" because once you purchase any coin then more than likely you will not be able to get a refund, unless the coin is actually a fake. It is a wise practice to make sure you understand the terms of sale beforehand, and do not be afraid to ask question of other collectors or the auctioneer company. It will also help you to become familiar with the descriptions that the auctioneer uses.

Another safe guard for any bidder is to determine the price for any lot you are willing to pay in advance, then do not exceed that amount. There are times when bidders do get carried away with the excitement that fills the room and does over bid on a lot that may not even be a good value in the end.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant about rare coins, stamp collections, and rare collectibles. Follow these links to find the best marketplace for: rare coins, auctions, and collectibles.
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