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Dealers' Bid Boards Offer Fun and Profit to Sellers, Buyers

August 14, 1986|DON ALPERT

Question: Maybe you might have some ideas as to how I can dispose of items including extra proof sets, uncirculated sets and commemorative coins. I have acquired these coins since I started collecting in 1973. For the past few years, my interest has been in proof sets; therefore, I've been thinking of trading the extras I have for the proof sets I need to further my collection. How would I go about doing this? Some friends have suggested I use the bid board that a few dealers have in their shops near where I live. Could you please explain how the bid board works?--T.M.

Answer: Buying coins is simple. Selling is something else. The obvious, and often best, way to sell coins is through dealers. After all, that's their business. Prices for coins, especially proof sets and uncirculated sets, are fairly standard. Most dealers work off the same bid-ask price sheet, so it's just a matter of getting the best offer, because sometime the profit margin will differ. You can visit several dealers in order to sell your coins or go to a coin show, where many will be on hand.

The bid board is still another way to go. Many dealers provide them as a service to their customers. Collectors, such as yourself, can either place coins for sale on the board or purchase coins that are posted there. The dealer will take a percentage, usually about 10%, from the sale price. The seller can protect himself by putting a minimum price on the coins. Buyers are usually required to go up in increments of $1 or so or in a percentage of the previous bid. Bids close every week or every other week and then new coins are offered. It's a fun way to go. Sometimes, buyers will pick up a real bargain. Other times, the seller will make out.

Whichever route you decide to take, selling will make you a better buyer in the long run.

Q: Several years ago my husband found an 1889 silver dollar with a beautifully detailed Miss Liberty on one side and the American eagle on the other. It is in very good shape with all the raised areas unworn. Would you be able to tell me an approximate value?--M.R.

A: Morgan silver dollars, such as yours, are worth about $8 each and up. Chances are that even though your coin appears well defined to you, it still has considerable wear. Many common-date dollars described as brilliant uncirculated are only worth about $30 at best.

Q: Until your recent column in which you mentioned Sol Taylor, president of the Society of Lincoln Cent Collectors, I didn't know there was such a society. Can you tell us more about this society?--A.A.T.

A: I don't know how active the Society of Lincoln Cent Collectors is. Obviously, it is made up of people with an interest in the Lincoln cent, a series that has been issued since 1909. It is also a coin that often attracts beginning collectors, because many can be found in circulation and many others are relatively inexpensive. To learn more about this group, contact Sol Taylor at P.O. Box 5465, North Hollywood, Calif. 91616.

Q: Please tell me if any of the following have any value. There's an 1884-O silver dollar and a "gold brick" stamped Parson S & G Assayers Col. 1860, 18 1/2 DWT 25.6/10 20 dollars.--T.A.J.

A: Your silver dollar is from the New Orleans mint, and like most dollars in today's market, it's worth $8 and up, depending upon condition. Your gold bar would have to be seen to be evaluated. Parson pieces from Colorado are quite rare, so it's possible that yours is a copy or reproduction. In any event, it must be authenticated before it can be evaluated.

Q: I would like to know the value of a Queen Elizabeth II coronation souvenir medallion that is 18-karat gold-plated. I also have a 1953 English uncirculated set (10 coins) and an uncirculated set of Britain's first decimal coins.--J.D.

A: I'm not sure about the gold-plated medallion. If it's gold, you can figure about $100; gold plated would be considerably less. The 1953 uncirculated set is about $60; the decimal set is $10.

Q: Enclosed is a copy of a $1,000 U.S. bank note. What is it worth?--T.K.

A: Your $1,000 note is worth about $3 to $5.

Q: It's a fact that only the 1943 Lincoln cent can be found from all three mints (San Francisco, Denver and Philadelphia) in three metals. The metals are bronze, silver on a dime planchet and zinc-coated steel. The 1943-D Lincoln cent in bronze has only two known, the 1943-S has two known and the 1943-P has five known. The 1943-D on a silver dime planchet has one known, the 1943-S has one known and the 1943-P has one known (but I have the second one). What might it be worth?--O.P.M.

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