One of the most popular ways to purchase coins in-person is by visiting a coin show. Shopping at a show is like visiting dozens of coin shops in the span of a few hours. The largest coin shows attract buyers and sellers from across the country. Whether you are searching for rare coins or hoping to find great deals on silver bullion, a coin show can be a great opportunity to add to your collection.
At a large, well-attended coin show, you can practically feel the energy in the air. With hundreds of coin collectors eagerly going from booth to booth, the excitement of a coin show can be a lot of fun – though it can also be overwhelming, especially if it's your first show. Though the thrill of the hunt is exciting, it can also be difficult to navigate a large coin show.
How can you get the most out of your day? It starts well ahead of the coin show itself. If there's an upcoming coin show you plan to attend, make a quick list of the coins you're after. Though this seems basic, it's easy to forget specifics when you're faced with thousands upon thousands of coins, many of which look nearly identical. Consider purchasing a price guide if you're not already familiar with the going rate for the coins you're interested in buying. On the day of the show don't forget to bring a loupe or magnifier. Bring cash and locate a nearby ATM, as many dealers will not accept credit cards at coin shows.
At the coin show itself, there is some etiquette to be followed. Always pay attention to your body language; with thousands of dollars worth in coins changing hands at a coin show, dealers are understandably wary about theft. Put yourself in the dealer's shoes. Make the dealer comfortable by keeping your purse or bag away from the table, and be aware of what your hands are doing and how that may look to a nervous dealer.
After you've located a coin you may wish to purchase, take your time. Though there will be dozens of other coin collectors rushing past the table, don't feel rushed. Carefully examine both the price and the coin. If you're only planning to browse or conduct research, let the dealer know, so that he can pay attention to paying customers before discussing the coin with you. If you're only there to look, visit the show later on Saturday, or on Sunday, when coin shows are less busy than on Saturday mornings.
Many dealers bring boxes or trays full of individual coins to a show. As you dive in, be aware of which coins came from which boxes. Return any leftovers to the right spot. There's nothing more disappointing than spotting a great find in the $5 box, only for the dealer to inform you that it's actually a $50 coin that a previous customer misplaced.
Making a Purchase
Don't be too eager to purchase a coin at the very first booth. You're likely to run into the same types of coins again and again throughout the day. Many collectors make a point to visit every booth before buying a single coin. Some wait until the final hours of the day, hoping that dealers will be willing to lower the price to make a sale. If you want to buy multiple coins from one dealer, ask them about negotiating a bulk rate.