If you buy or sell a lot of coins, you will eventually need to do business with a local coin dealer. Coin dealers provide many valuable services to those in the coin collecting community. They buy and sell coins, continually obtain new coins, grade and appraise coins and have contacts throughout the coin collecting world. Knowing how to select a local coin dealer is an important and invaluable part of being a coin collector.
Visit the Coin Gallery Online (see Resources below). Here, you'll find separate listings for dealers of U.S. coins, dealers of ancient coins and dealers of world coins. Links are provided to most dealers' websites.
Decide how far away you are willing to travel, then pay an in-person visit to four or five dealers within your radius. Ask each dealer about his background and training, and find out how long he's been in business. Decide whether he seems like someone you'd be comfortable doing business with. You need to be able to trust and rely on your coin dealer.
Examine each dealer's available stock. Take note of whether there are rare coins on display and if there seems to be a wide variety of coins present.
Find out how often the dealer gets new coins and if he or she is able to find specific coins if you request them.
Try to determine who the dealer's other clients are. You want them to be reputable collectors, but you might not want to select a coin dealer who's already agreed to give one top collector first pass at all of the best finds.
Ask for references. Talking to others who have dealt with a particular dealer is an unbeatable way of finding out what kind of a dealer they are, how reliable their knowledge is and how easy they are to work with. Most coin dealers should have no problem providing you with this information. Once you have references in hand, call them.
Try to select a local coin dealer who is a member of the American Numismatic Association. You can find a dealers who are members on the American Numismatic website (see Resources below). These dealers have already proven their expertise and honesty to one of the most trusted coin collecting organizations in the country.