The most common legal footing for investors ‘ claims against coin dealers is overpricing. But overpricing claims are difficult to make. For one thing, there is no legal definition of “ overpricing. ” No jurisprudence limits how much of a markup dealers can add to their price or to any nationally published “ bid ” monetary value. As Barry Cutler, the former Director of the FTC ‘s Bureau of Consumer Protection once said, a office supplier can charge $ 1,000 for a pencil and the FTC can not stop him. To be legally liable for overpricing, the trader ‘s prices must be inconsistent with representations being made to the buyer. This can occur in two situations : ( 1 ) where prices are such that the dealer ‘s representations concerning price itself are false ; ( 2 ) where prices are so high that the dealer ‘s representations regarding level of investing risk and appreciation likely become deceptive or false. These situations bear closer examination .
Dealers normally promote their coins are being dear values. There is nothing wrong with this. If, however, a principal falsely advertises coins as being sold “ below wholesale ”, or “ at cost ”, those statements could be the basis for an overprice claim. One FTC case involved a dealer who represented that coins were sold below wholesale bid, and sent customers copies of the Coin Dealer Newsletter as proof. The coins the dealer sold, however, were certified by a grade service whose standards were looser than those used by the CDN, so that an MS65 would actually command entirely the invite price quoted by the CDN for MS63 ‘s, a difference of 100 % in many cases. I strongly advise investors to be sure that they get such dealer representations about pricing in writing, so they can be verified and enforced legally if necessity .
Dealers who sell to investors much represent that coins are low in risk and have big net income likely. relative to other collectible items, this may be genuine, but only for coins that are properly priced. A retail markup of 20-30 % over wholesale ( dealer-to-dealer ) rate is common in the rare coin business. however, careless of how much markup an investor pays to purchase a mint, he or she will about always must sell at wholesale prices, unless they are cook to consign their property and wait a considerable time to be paid. If the prices are besides high, there is substantial hazard and very small profit potential. The courts have said that in order to be promoted as low-risk investments, markups must be such that the investor can profit in a moderate marketplace upswing. As the court put it in the character of FTC v. Security Rare Coin & Bullion Corp :

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“ Because the markups charged by defendants were so eminent, the coins lacked investment value. When a coin has to double or triple in measure before any reach can be realized, it is neither a estimable investment nor a low-risk investment. ”

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Overpricing can even result in criminal penalties. In United States v. Kail, the court affirmed the mail imposter conviction of a rare coin dealer who sold coins to investors at excessively high markups, “ making them about despicable as an investment vehicle ”. The court rejected the principal ‘s defense that the lack of industry-wide marking and evaluation standards made overpricing impossible :
“ Kail asserts that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury ‘s verdict in light of the fact that there were honest differences of opinion and sagacity as to the grade and value of the coins, therefore furnishing no basis for a line up that the defendant had committed imposter. He maintains that because the valuation of coins is inherently immanent, it can not be imposter to sell coins at high prices. Appellant, however, mischaracterizes the nature of the charges against him. He was not charged with marking up the prices of the coins, but with misrepresenting the coins as valuable investments. In the read before us, the evidence demonstrates that Kail ‘s representations with regard to the marketplace value of the coins were faithlessly, and that these representations were made with an intent to defraud .

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