Coin Collector's Survival Manual, 5th Edition

Coin Collector's Survival Manual, 5th Edition

by Scott A. Travers



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Coin Collector's Survival Manual, 5th Edition by Scott A. Travers

“The preeminent consumer advocate in the numismatic field.”
New York Times

From one of the world’s most knowledgeable coin dealers—a former consultant to the Federal Trade Commission often quoted by the Wall Street Journal—comes a thorough update of his consumer protection handbook to buying and selling rare and valuable coins. Bestselling, award-winning author Scott A. Travers combines insider information on the latest trends in coin collecting with his influential How to Make Money in Coins Right Now. Beautifully illustrated with black-and-white photographs and a full-color insert, The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual is indispensable for seasoned collectors and novices alike.

“One of the most important coin books ever written.”
New York Times

In The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual you’ll learn how to:
• Understand coin grading systems
• Detect altered, counterfeit, and doctored coins
• Know when to buy and sell—and when not to
• Buy coins through Internet auctions—and avoid the pitfalls
• Safeguard and protect your coins from disaster


Praise for The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual:
The book on rare coins “you can’t afford to be without.” —Newsweek
“A book that should be read before a single coin is bought—and read again and again!” —Coin World


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375721274
Publisher: Random House Information Group
Publication date: 02/14/2006
Series: Coin Collector's Survival Manual Series
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.13(w) x 9.18(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

Scott A. Travers ranks as one of the most knowledgeable and influential coin dealers in the world. His name is familiar to readers everywhere as the author of six bestselling books on coins: One-Minute Coin Expert, How to Make Money in Coins Right Now, Travers' Rare Coin Investment Strategy, Scott Travers' Top 88 Coins Over $100, The Insider's Guide to U.S. Coin Values, and The Investor's Guide to Coin Trading, and the forthcoming Coin Collector's Survival Manual. All of them have won awards from the prestigious Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG). In 2002, NLG awarded him its highest bestowable honor, the lifetime achievement Clemy. He was elected vice president (1997-1999) of the American Numismatic Association, a congressionally chartered, nonprofit educational organization. He is contributing editor to COINage magazine and a regular contributor to other numismatic periodicals, and has served as a coin valuation consultant to the Federal Trade Commission. His opinions as an expert are often sought by publications such as Barron's, Business Week, and The Wall Street Journal. A frequent guest on radio and television programs, Scott Travers has won awards and gained an impressive reputation not only as a coin expert but also as a forceful consumer advocate for the coin-buying public. He serves as numismatic advisor to a number of major investment funds and has coordinated the liquidation of numerous important coin collections. He is president of Scott Travers Rare Coin Galleries, LLC, in New York City. Please visit him online at

Table of Contents

Preface to the Fifth Editionxv
1Collecting Coins Profitably
The Nature of a Collector1
The Lure of Coins2
Major American Collectors4
Collecting Reaches the Masses4
A Dealer's-Eye View of Collectors6
Collectors Versus Investors7
2Reading a Coin Like a Book
Coin-Viewing Attitudes and Techniques11
Quick Viewing Action13
How to Handle Coins14
3Bigger and Brighter
Magnification for Grading16
Magnification for Authentication18
4The Grading of U.S. Coins
What Grading Is and Why Coins Are Graded21
Certification Services and Grading22
What Constitutes Grade24
Coins Made for Circulation25
How the Certification Services View Eye Appeal25
Subjectivity and Self-Certified Coins26
Proof-A Method of Manufacture, Not a Grade26
Grading Guides27
Numerical Grading Standards28
How the Marketplace Defines the Grades AU-58 Through MS-7029
The Coin Grading Spectrum40
Overgrading and Undergrading43
Small Imperfections, Big Grade Difference47
Mint-Made Imperfections49
White-Collar Overpricing49
How to Distinguish Mint State from About Uncirculated49
The Rub54
Detecting Doctored Coins64
The Most Difficult Coins to Grade65
Concluding Grading Tips67
5Grading Services and the Plastic Revolution
A Tale of Two Investors74
The Impact of Grading Services76
Some Important Grading Services76
Detecting Counterfeit PCGS Holders81
PCGS Versus NGC: Analyzing the Certified Coin Market Indicator94
Changes in Grading Standards98
Premium-Quality Coins105
Grading by Consensus109
A Case for No Industry Standard109
How Grading Services Determine Grade110
How to Protect Yourself When You Buy Coins Certified by Leading Services111
Bombshell Interview: A Candid Look at Coin Doctors113
6Beauty and the Best-Authenticating Proofs
How to Tell Proof from Prooflike122
The Most Difficult Coins to Confirm Proof Status Of123
7Telling Fact from Fiction
Altered Coins126
Cast Counterfeits132
Die-Struck Counterfeits135
For Further Assistance139
8Making Money in Coins Right Now
The Crack-Out Game141
Multimillion Dollar Crack-Out Secrets142
The Handpicked List for Quick Cash143
When Not to Play the Crack-Out Game146
The Best Place to Buy Coins to Crack146
Crack-out Cautions148
Dipping Coins149
Cracking Out Commemorative Coins150
Profiting from Generic Gold Coins157
Generic Gold's Price Performance158
Rare Gold Coins' Performance159
Diversified Potential Winners162
Profit and Loss in a Coin Trading Fund163
Tips on Making Coins Profitable165
9Making Sure the Price Is Right
Determining Value169
Where the Price Is Always Right179
Monthly Price Guides180
Secret Dealer Tip Sheets181
When the Price Is Not Right184
Common-Sense Tips186
10Registry Sets Get High Grades
The Meaning of "Registry"187
A '"Weighting" Game188
Registry's Impact on Prices189
Pitfalls to Avoid190
11Secrets of Cherrypicking
12"Insider Trading" of Rare Coins
Rare-Coin Insider Trading198
Insider Information and Rare Coins199
Completely Legal Insider Negotiating205
Rare Coins as Securities208
13Dangers of Buying Coins on the Internet and by Mail
Buying Coins on the Internet212
Online Auctions212
The eBay Phenomenon214
The Risks of Buying Coins by Mail225
How to Identify a Disreputable Dealer226
Confession of a Rip-Off Coin Salesman229
Mail-Order Coin Guarantees231
Your Rights as a Mail-Order Coin Buyer233
How to Complain and Get Results233
Hanging Up on Telemarketers237
14Cashing In at Shows
Local Club Meetings240
Local Club Shows241
Seminational Conventions: Regional and State241
National Conventions242
International Conventions243
Bourse-Room Etiquette243
Security Tips for the Convention-Goer245
Educational Forums246
Youth Programs246
How to Design a Winning Exhibit247
How to Complain248
Dealing with Dealers249
15Selling High, Higher, Highest
Changing Strategies251
The Need for Certification253
Generic Coins253
High-Grade Rarities254
Generic Gold Coins255
Five Types of Coins to Sell255
The Anatomy of a Coin Transaction259
Coin Sale Methods262
Cashing Out at the Top of a Bull Market272
16Don't Let Uncle Sam Pick Your Pocket
How the Mint Makes a Mint276
Proof Sets' Price Performance278
Modern Commemorative Coins281
Traps Set by the Mint and How to Avoid Them283
Tax Obligations, Record-Keeping, and Estate Planning284
Estate-Planning Secrets287
Coins and Retirement Plans288
Contributing Coins to Charity290
Like-Kind Exchanges When Coins Have Increased290
A Tax-Slashing Strategy When Selling at a Loss291
17Myths That Can Cost Millions
18Endangered Coins-and How to Rescue Them
Abrasive Cleaning299
Nonabrasive Cleaning302
State-of-the-Art Protection Against Deterioration305
Artificial Toning and Doctored Coins307
Toning and Corrosion310
Holders Can Damage Coins311
Preservation Precautions312
Coin Conservation Services313
The $10,000 Conservation Secret316
19Security After September 11 and Hurricane Katrina
Insurance Against Terrorism and Protection from Natural Disasters318
Explosion-Resistant Safes319
Safe-Deposit Box Storage320
Home Security321
Photographs and Digital Images325
Value Chart for United States and Canadian Silver Coins328
Value Chart for Commonly Traded United States Coins and World Gold Coins332
Specifications for American Eagle Silver and Gold Bullion Coins338
Internet Resources339
Calamity Insurance: Gold Coins as a Safe Haven342

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