Seller Beware: Reporter Offered Fraction of Coin’s Worth By Traveling Buyers
Posted by Adam King on December 12, 2012
A local news reporter from Wisconsin Rapids recently visited a traveling coin and gold show, at which vendors can offer to pay cash on the spot for items. He soon discovered that not all representatives are open and honest about the true value of bullion and numismatic products after he was offered a mere fraction of the value of his coins.
Jeff Daniels took five silver dollars including an 1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar valued at $3,400 to the Mid-Amer that was hosted by the Quality Inn in Wisconsin Rapids. A traveling coin show representative named Gayle Buchholtz first offered him $100 for all five, stating they were common coins, despite the fact that the melt value of the coins itself far exceeds that amount.
Buchholtz, who was the only buyer in the room at the time and is listed as president on his business card, said that despite the negotiation the business is legitimate.
Buchholtz regarded himself as very honest and straight forward.
However, there was no business registration for the enterprise and no records with the Better Business Bureau in Wisconsin for Mid-Amer.
Gary Rosencrans, owner of Gary’s Coins in Wisconsin Rapids, said coin dealers use a guidebook that changes weekly with updated prices based on the fluctuating precious metals market, demand, and recent sales. It was Rosencrans who allowed Daniels to use the set of five silver coins.
During the negotiation, Buchholtz said he likes to collect silver dollars from the 1890s, setting aside the 1893-S and an 1896 Morgan worth about $30. Buchholtz asked Daniels repeatedly what price he had in mind for the coins then made an offer of $150 for the pair. He then offered $150 for just the 1893-S and took the cash out from a bank bag.
Daniels asked if there was a book or buying guide that had the value of the 1893-S Morgan and Buchholtz grabbed a small book, opened to a page, skimmed it briefly and said it was worth about $200.
Only 100,000 1893-S Morgan Silver Dollars were minted, compared with the 1921 issue when 87 million were struck. The rarity makes the coin the most valuable of the Morgan series, printed from 1878 to 1904 and again in 1921. Uncirculated 1893-S examples have sold for $100,000.
Buchholtz was confronted and said he knew it was an undercover news operation and that is why he did not offer wholesale price.
Regardless, the incident highlights the importance of working with a recognized and reputable coin dealer with professional affiliations, including records with the Better Business Bureau and recognition with professional publications.