Jump to content

How often do you buy coins overseas?


Recommended Posts

I was making the end of year tally, while still waiting for couple of coins and my Saturnalia gift. During the pandemic I mostly bought coins domestically, and only from overseas when I really wanted the coin. However, this year majority of my purchases were international, surprisingly none from the US, let's see as there's still a few days left for 2024. Most coins were bought on eBay, some from Ma-shops/Vcoins/private dealers, and a couple from local coin shows. 


  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me "overseas" is exactly the other way around, compared to many members from here =))

All my purchases are from EU. Mainly Germany, Belgium, Netherlands. I bought coins from Poland and Czechia also. 

Once from UK, but I avoid this because of customs. The T&C were a little ambiguous as I understood they CAN ship from EU also. They did, but this meant an expensive and slow shipping. 

Never bought from US and not sure if I will - also because of customs. 

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

About 50 percent US and 50% elsewhere. Some example source countries are Germany, France, Italy, UAE, Portugal, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Poland, Spain and maybe a few others that I don't recall. The UAE dealer has a massive number of coins from Roman Egypt. 

Edited by Ancient Coin Hunter
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure what this year's percentage is; I have to dash off to a busy day.

I bought a decent number from U.S. sellers, while I was into Byzantine AE's earlier this year.  I usually buy from European sellers or from Dubai.  The quality is generally higher, and the price a bit lower, generally speaking (not factoring in shipping).

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I purchase around 7 coins out of 10 from overseas and have no problem in doing so on the basis that I do not worry about that which I cannot change. I have to admit frustration last year when coins were sitting in a UPS depot for 8  months only 40 miles from me because the Polish auction house put Polish Zlotys on the customs declaration which UPS and Customs interpreted as British Pounds so the duty was several times greater than the value of the coins. The auction house washed their hands of the affair so I will never buy from them again, a little sympathy and assistance would have retained my patronage.

I have had some great deliveries from the USA in the past proving distance has no issue it is simply the internal post officials and customs officials that can make or break a consignment. The only stipulation I ever make with auction houses and dealers is not to mention gold or silver as UK customs can regard it as bullion and charge 20% value added tax on top of import duties based on both coins and the carriage charge.

I tend not to consider any issues with purchasing from overseas, the majority of society is honest and try to do a good job but human nature tends to remember the problems not the majority of times there are no issues, hence my comments above. 

It may sound trite but a little thrill from buying overseas is that unless I particularly track a DHL shipment, the postal packages can arrive at anytime and can cheer up an otherwise mundane day. 


  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

For auctions, CNG is the only one I buy from that is in the US. I buy most often from Germany. Second is probably Switzerland, followed by Austria. Last year most of my coins came from the UK, but I've cut way back on that seller - though I still do purchase from there occasionally.

Overall, this year I purchased a lot more coins from the US, mainly because I've bought a lot from a few low cost sellers here.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have stopped buying from overseas in 2015. Before that, I bought from the US on a regular basis. In 2015 mail from the US started getting "lost" or sent to customs where I got charged insane amounts on taxes and customs officers were looking at me like I was Pablo Escobar. No thanks.

  • Like 6
  • Yes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

It appears that I purchased 58 ancient coins in 2023 -- it sounds like a lot, but it was actually quite a bit less than in any of the three previous years! -- including three that haven't arrived yet. (I didn't try to add up the world coins and medals I bought, a considerably smaller number.)

Of those 58, I purchased 27 at auction and 31 at retail (counting my Harlan J. Berk purchases as retail, since I bought all of them at the "buy" price).

Here are the USA vs. non-USA and individual country breakdowns (counting everything I bought at the January NYINC as a USA purchase even if it was from a foreign dealer). Keep in mind that I live in New York City:

USA: 5 auction, 14 retail, Total 19.

non-USA: 22 Auction, 17 retail, Total 39

Within non-USA:

UK: 11 auction, 4 retail, Total 15

Germany: 7 auction, 4 retail, Total 11

France: 0 auction, 6 retail, Total 6

Switzerland: 3 auction, 0 retail, Total 3

Spain: 1 auction, 1 retail, Total 2

Austria: 0 auction, 1 retail, Total 1

Australia: 0 auction, 1 retail, Total 1

Out of the 19 USA purchases, none of the packages was lost or significantly delayed.

Out of my 39 non-USA purchases this year -- probably representing no more than 20-25 individual packages given all the times I bought more than one coin from a particular seller or auction house -- none was ultimately lost. However, two (one each from Germany and France) were very significantly delayed (one in US Customs and one for unknown reasons), even though they did eventually arrive.  In the two previous years combined, a total of two packages were completely lost and never arrived, one an auction purchase from Spain and the other a retail purchase from Germany. I eventually received refunds for both. Thus, the percentage of lost packages from European (including UK) sources over the last three years has been sufficiently low that I've been willing to continue to take the risk of buying from overseas.

Edited by DonnaML
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My collecting interests run to Byzantine and Migration period gold, and more recently Carolingian coins.  I also have a casual interest in Tetrarchy bronzes and miscellaneous Medieval.  If I restricted my purchases to US dealers, my options are rather limited.   Harlan Berk, Ed Waddell, and CNG have been good sources of Byzantine solidi over the years, but they are expensive now.    I can’t think of any US dealer who would be sure to have any Migration or Carolingian coin.  Joe Linzalone probably has some sceats and Viking era coins.  Heritage and some other auctioneers only sometimes have items of interest to me.  Nick Economopoulos usually has something good when I encounter him at a show, and Allen Berman usually does as well.   

Aside from the above, who in the US is apt to carry material of interest to me?  This is not a rhetorical question;  I would welcome suggestions.  

Most US collectors collect US coins.  Most US coin shows are dominated by American coins, and bullion.  Twenty years ago a major regional show such as the Boston Coin Show (Bay State Coin Show) would have a handful of European dealers with stocks of ancient and foreign coins, as well as tables with Berk, Waddell, M+M, CNG, Dr. Saslow, Warden, Schinke, Cederlind, and others.  I am not sure if COVID or the internet has been more devastating to ancient coin dealers’ attendance at regional shows.  But today I see no European dealers, and perhaps 3 or 4 American dealers at most who specialize in ancients.  

On the other hand, rising auction premiums, shipping costs, handling fees, bank fees, customs duties, delays, insurance, and the perils of transport have rendered buying at overseas auctions significantly more expensive and problematic.  Perhaps the local coin show will experience a renaissance.

To address the original question, my purchases are probably 60% overseas, 40% from the USA.  

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never worked as many hrs as this lawncare season. But work = rewards🤩 Work never interfered with my collecting. I always devoted 30 mins before bedtime at 11:00 to scroll sixbid/ place proxy bids. Even while working I thought about the coins/ how much to bid. Now/ unemployed I have tons of time to pursue fun stuff.

 So far and counting I added 115 new AV/ EL  coins. Matter of fact I won one this morning Rauch auction! Here is a breakdown.

Dealers/ MA-shops (all excellent)

Wolfgang Rittig/ Germany 4

Löbbers/ Germany 4

Stückler/ Germany 3   (including beautifull AV Edward VI Half Sovereign "Swan" mm

Kornblum/ Austria 2

Odysseus/ France 2

V-coins Shanna Schmilt/ USA 1


ROMA/ UK  13

Artemide/ Italy 4

Künker/ Germany 6

Nomisma/ Italy 5

Ranieri/ Italy 2

Tauler & Fau / Spain 1

Rauch/ Austria 1

Fruhwald/ Austria 2

Sincona/ Swiss 6

Nomos/ Swiss 4

Numisor/ Swiss 1

Münzenonline/ Swiss 3

Teutonburger/ 1  (Unique Gallienus Aureus) best win so far) a steal

NB Auctions/ Belgium 1

Heritage Europe / Netherlands 9

Schulmann/ Neth. 2

CGBfr./ France 4

Monnaies d'Antan/ France 1

Stacks/ USA 5

Heritage/ USA 7


Steve Album/ USA 8

Goldberg's/ USA 3

Auction World/ Japan 4

Noble/ Australia 1

Macho& Chlapocik/ Slovakia 2

Lansky/ Belgium 2

Elsens/ Belgium 3

Next year/ I will buy less coins and get this....


All were sent via mail/ arrived safe/ and no customs fees! I now will not deal with auctions that insist on FEDEX/ UPS. There are enough that work my way.





4001.455.66_1 (1).jpg


  • Like 6
  • Mind blown 2
  • Heart Eyes 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

greater than 75% of my coins are purchased in EU+UK, about 25% in US.  Here's my latest arrived (with a few others - in general I try to minimize shipping costs by purchasing/shipping multiple coins at one time) from the UK:


KUSHANO-SASANIANS. Hormizd I, circa CE 265-295. AE (Bronze, 14.5 mm, 2.20 g), mint in Baktria, probably Balkh.

Obv: Draped bust of Hormizd I to right, wearing crown with decorated korymbos and a lion's head; before head, 'AWHRMYZDY MLKA' ('Hormiz King' in Pahlawi); in upper left field, tamgha.

Rev: 'BWLZAWNDY YZDTY' ('Exalted God', in Pahlawi) Exalted God emerges from fire altar, holding diadem in his right hand and long spear in his left.

Ref: ANS Kushan, 2235.

and this one from Germany:

C. Claudius Pulcher, 110 oder 109 v. Chr. Denar ø 18mm (4,01g). Mzst. Rom. Vs.: Kopf der Roma n. r. Rs.: C PVLCHER, Viktoria in Biga n. r. Cr. 300/1; Syd. 569.

Edited by Sulla80
  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Ocatarinetabellatchitchix said:

Hey John, I think this one would fit better with your coins…


NOOOOOO! I like the older 58. The most beautifull sight a man can behold....but its 360K US and for us poor snooks living in Canada = 500K Canadian Dollars. I had a new Corvette convertible. It was fast 0-100K 4.5 secs/ had it top end on HWY at nite 287KPH scary. The ride perfect/ fuel economy great. Only thig it did not turn my crank/ the 67 is awesomely gorgeous/ car of dreams.......and the sound of the 427 coming out of those sidepipes is music to the ears.


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where the dealer comes from is not a consideration for me, except to factor in extra costs for customs and delivery into how much I will pay. Since most coins I'm missing don't come up often I don't ever have the situation where I'm comparing two coins and can select one based on where it is.

I don't mind if the coin takes a while to reach me. I've waited years to be able to buy it anyway. Since the end of the pandemic, no coins have taken a month to reach me and none have been lost. Even customs have stopped charging as often as they used to, although that might be because I don't use FedEx or DHL if I don't have to.

This year I've bought more coins from the UK (where I live) than usual, but that's because I've focused more on British coins. If you want anything Celtic, Saxon or British medieval, or from a Roman hoard found in Britain, 9 of the top 10 sellers are in the UK, as are most eBay sellers.

But I buy overseas if the coins are right. This year I bought from Jean Elsen for the first time, and bought several coins from Ukraine despite the war.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...