One of the most disheartening things I hear is when someone says they have thrown out or given away the collection of a relative who has passed away without having any idea whether or not it had value. I always encourage people to check with us first before disposing of something that may have value.
This goes beyond collections; it includes such things as jewelry that may or may not be gold, and silverware that may be silver or just plated. Think of us as the informal local version of “Antiques Roadshow” when it comes to collectibles and precious metals. However, we are not good on antiques, that’s for others. There is no charge for our opinion, and if it is something we feel we can sell for a profit, we will make an offer.
Over the years some of our better sources of collectibles have been workers on trash trucks who questioned whether something at the curb for pickup had value. Don’t be one of those people who throw out first and ask questions later. I’ve paid thousands of dollars for “trash.”
There is never an obligation to either party. Sometimes, for various reasons such as wanting to pass the items on to relatives, our offer is declined, and that’s fine; there is never any pressure.
The other side of the equation is if we don’t feel there is a market for the items, we just won’t make an offer. I’m in the business of selling things, so if I don’t make an offer to buy it is because I don’t feel I can sell it.
There can be times when I’m not 100 percent sure about an item and will seek another opinion. This happened recently with a valuable coin collection. I was comfortable with all coins except a silver dollar that was worn to the point I couldn’t see all of the diagnostics.
Instead of just ignoring it I asked permission from the owner to send it away to the Numismatic Grading Corporation for an opinion. The good news for all was they could vouch that it was real and it resulted in my paying an additional $2,000 for the collection. A win-win situation for all.
People are welcome to accept our offer and sell their item or collection, or reject it for whatever reason. Sometimes people don’t agree with an offer, and that’s their prerogative. They may think the item is more valuable than I do, or they think I should pay the price I expect to receive when I sell the item.
Sometimes we hear, “I saw it on eBay for ...” When I ask, “Did you click the sold button?” and get a blank stare in return, I know they are looking at listing prices, not the price an item sold for.
On eBay you can list an item for whatever price you want. It doesn’t mean it sold for that amount. And listing on eBay is not free; a fee is charged, plus there is the time involved in listing, shipping and collecting payment.
At times people have become argumentative. We have taken our time at no charge to examine an item and give an opinion, and we will give the reasons why we have come to that opinion. But a very small minority of people feel they can argue about our opinion. One such situation occurred last week in the Egg Harbor Township store where a customer had a quarter so badly worn that the date was no longer visible.
When told its value was only for the silver content, he argued it could be a rare date. When told it didn’t matter because the date was no longer visible, he argued the point with both my employee and Linda. He then started questioning values of coins in our cases and became disruptive to the point Linda snapped at him (She doesn’t snap at anyone). He then exited the store with the threat he’d get even with us on Facebook.
Good to his word, there is a derogatory comment about us on Facebook, which seems to be peoples’ way to say whatever they want online, true or untrue. Whatever.
Anyone who has something they don't know the value of is welcome to bring it in. I am glad to render an opinion at no obligation; that’s what we are there for.
Just don’t throw it out and then tell me about it.
Douglas Keefe is the president of Beachcomber Coins Inc. He and his wife, Linda, operate Beachcomber Coins and Collectibles, formerly in the Shore Mall and now at 6692 Black Horse Pike in the old Wawa building just beyond the former Cardiff Circle in Egg Harbor Township. They have satellite offices in Brigantine and Absecon. Between them they have more than 70 years of experience in the coin and precious-metals business. They are members of the American Numismatic Association, the Industry Council of Tangible Assets, the Numismatic Guarantee Corp., the Certified Coin Exchange and the Professional Coin Grading Service.