Quality in any grade is the name of the game in coin collecting.
Numismatists are proud to be known as individuals who know what they want. The art of picking out and purchasing just the right coin at a coin show is the product of this trait. Often the coin sought is a scarce issue, and never locally available from the corner coin dealer. To secure these issues, thought and skill must be mixed in their proper proportions upon the floor of a coin show.
Upon entering the [bourse] floor, the collectors survey row upon row of glass cases filled with coins and staffed by their respective dealers. Thick crowds huddle around the outside of the cases, staring at the choice issues inside. Sometimes it is impossible to view the coins because of the thickness and intensity of the crowd.
The coins inside the cases, however, are really no surprise. They are most likely common date type coins in proof and uncirculated condition. There is usually very little variation in this pattern among dealers, because these coins make an expensive sale that will cover the expenses of setting up on the show floor. Common date uncirculated type coins might be fine for some individuals, but what about those collectors after those really scarce, better date, underrated, very fine and extra fine graded coins that are so much less expensive?
Dealers have trade secrets. One is not to display their scarce circulated material in display cases, but to keep it stuffed away in boxes behind the display counter. This is done because many of these coins are in high demand and can be sold quickly at any time to real collectors. These coins can be from any series, old or new. Also, some dealers would rather buy, than sell these coins at a show.
Assume a collector is searching for better date circulated Liberty Seated coins in fine and better condition. He starts out at the show by going from dealer to dealer, asking about the issues desired. The dealers who are known to buy or specialize in Liberty Seated coinage are asked first, then to the other dealers on the floor.
The collector does not limit himself to any special date or mintmark in the Liberty Seated series, but asks to see everything he has. By being too specific you may overlook something valuable and desirable, so ask to see everything, and don't act too anxious. If you can't find anything you are looking for, be honest and polite, and move on to another dealer. It is possible that one of these other dealers recently purchased a collection of Liberty Seated coins with something that you are looking for. It happens.
Many of these underrated coins can be obtained in the $l5.00 to $75.00 range. Make sure the coins are accurately graded before you purchase, and expect a discount if the pieces are harshly cleaned, scratched, or otherwise damaged. Remember that a quality piece is a better proposition than several inferior pieces at a low price. Quality in any grade is the name of the game in coin collecting. If you feel the price is a little steep for a desired piece in choice condition, a little friendly and reasonable negotiating is acceptable, but be serious.
Patience is required when looking for authentic collector coins. Many dealers may not have them in stock, so hours of fruitless searching are possible. Contact as many likely dealers on the floor as possible. The payoff could be tremendous.