Issues Related to the Purchase and Sale of Gold Coins

This post is being provided for informational purposes only. The associations referenced below are not being endorsed by the writer but are solely being provided for the convenience of the reader.

The gold coin business as well as the sale of other precious metals is unregulated. However, if you do decide that you want to take a “shot” at investing in gold coins there are a few things that you can do to attempt to minimize your risk.

The first thing that should be done is to go to the consumer protection information from the American Numismatic Association about “How to Buy Gold & Silver” can be found on-line at http://www.money.org/Content/NavigationMenu/ExploretheWorldofMoney/BuyingGold/default.htm, and the Professional Numismatists Guild offers consumer education information about “Three Things Gold Buyers Must Know First” on-line at http://www.pngdealers.com/item.php?item_id=129&category_id=2 .

“If you don’t know gold coins, you’d better know your gold coin dealer,” is the advice to collectors and investors from three nonprofit organizations: the American Numismatic Association (http://www.money.org), the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (www.ictaonline.org) and the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.pngdealers.com).

“There are many reputable, professional numismatists in the United States,” the three organizations emphasize. “Before you make a purchase or offer something for sale, do your homework and check the dealer’s credentials. For example, contact the Better Business Bureau to check the company’s BBB rating or if the company is even accredited by the BBB.” A listing of Better Business Bureau accredited and rated companies nationwide can be found on-line at www.bbb.org. Other ways to check on any company that you are considering dealing with is to perform an on-line computer search on a search engine such as “Google” or utilize a system such as “PACER” or go to the local clerk of the court’s office and to a “defendant” search to see if there are any lawsuits pending against the company. With the knowledge of the existence of these on-line resources, many companies now require disputes between customers and the firm to be resolved in arbitration. The existence of such disputes are more difficult or impossible to verify because of the confidentiality of the process. Therefore, nothing is failsafe.

Typically, dealers who are unresponsive to reasonable requests from customers seeking resolution of disputes are not involved in the mainstream of numismatics, but may advertise in prominent, mainstream news media. Based on the experiences of the ANA, ICTA and PNG, and in consultation with law enforcement agencies, the three organizations suggest that buyers or sellers of gold coins who encounter problems consider taking these actions:

• Make copies of all correspondence, receipts and transactions and if possible have copies of advertisements or the dates and times ads were broadcast.
• Always contact the company directly to try to resolve the dispute. Ask for the manager or company owner.
• Take thorough notes of your conversation(s).

If the problem is still not resolved after a reasonable amount of time, you need to take immediate action to attempt to resolve the dispute by contacting a lawyer experienced in these matters. Time is of the essence.

If the company with which you are dealing is a member of the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers.com ) the dealers in question must adhere to the Guild’s Code of Ethics, support the PNG Collector’s Bill of Rights and must agree to binding arbitration to resolve any disputes involving numismatic merchandise. Otherwise, if the agreement that you sign does not contain and arbitration agreement, the matter will need to be resolved in court.

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