There was a time when the only way to find rare coins are through newspaper ads and specialty shops. With the technology that we have now, you can just Google rare coins and the internet will provide you with a list of merchants where you can buy them. You can even buy the rarest coins like the Morgan Silver $1 series or the Liberty Head coins online. Before you hit that button though, here are a few things to consider when making your purchase.

You’re probably thinking of buying rare coins online. The web has connected people from across the world and it has become a global marketplace for buying and selling products. This results in a lot more competition which lowers the prices and presents more options. On the other hand, this has also opened an avenue for fraudsters from all over the world to scam us out of our hard-earned money.

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Another option online is to use e-commerce sites like eBay and Craigslist. With eBay, you have the option to sort your rare coins search according to their certification, mint location, composition, and grade. You can also join auctions that deal in the rarest of coins. With Craigslist, you are being connected to actual coin owners looking for a quick buck in your own locality. With proper bargaining, you might be able to buy your item at a rate lower than the market price.

These sites though are not immune to scams. We’ve heard of multiple cases where the items delivered are not the one advertised in eBay. Although the item can be returned and your money refunded, it may take 3 business days to more than a week for the refund to be processed. This is particularly worrisome if you’re spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on your rare coin purchase. It’s even worse if the fraud happened while transacting through Craigslist. Since Craigslist is not involved in the processing of payments, getting refunds for faulty items or actually being sent the wrong item on purpose is almost impossible.

If you want to avoid the risks inherent in online transactions, you can go old school and refer to newspaper ads for rare coins. These are posted by sellers in the classified ads section. In most instances though, there are no background checks for newspaper ad buyers and it can be a scary proposition when you have to meet with your seller bringing cash in an unfamiliar place. You can be robbed or mugged or worst, murdered.

For me, the best way to buy rare coins is by visiting your local specialty shop. Find a reputable one who has been in business for a long time and has the inventory or access to the coins that you want to collect. Once you’ve developed a relationship with the shop, you’ll have first pick to their new inventory or in most cases, you can request them to purchase items for you for a small fee. Some stores can even mediate in a trade with another collector. It’s safer, it’s upfront and you can pay directly for your purchases. For the longest time, scammers have been working the rare coin marketplace, so to minimize the risks, I suggest you stay local.

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