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Meshing metal prices

An educated seller won’t be swindled

March 15, 2011
By LINDSEY MUTCHLER Messenger staff writer

Prices for precious metals continue to rise.

For those with gold or silver coins or jewelry, selling may seem like a good idea.

But a local buyer and a coin collector both are urging buyers and sellers to beware with whom they deal.

Article Photos

Sam Ashton, co-owner of Fort Dodge Coin and Stamp in downtown Fort Dodge, checks the weight and gold content of a ring recently purchased from a customer.

Steve Rozack, a coin collector and president of the Fort Dodge Coin Club, said certain outfits should be avoided, such as "fly-by-night outfits" or television advertisements, he said.

"For example, you see full-page ads in the paper of businesses that are staying three days in a hotel," Rozack said. "My experience with those businesses has been a sale price between 30 and 50 percent below the true value of what you've got."

Rozack said he went to an event in Fort Dodge a few months ago with items, just to see what the buyer would offer.

Fact Box

For additional information on precious metals, visit numismatic organization's websites.

  • American Numismatic Association -
  • Iowa Numismatic Association -

After Rozack asked some questions and engaged the buyer in conversation, he said the buyer asked him to leave.

"He knew that I knew what they were up to," Rozack said. "People may get a good deal, but they're still not getting what it's worth."

Rozack has been collecting coins for 40 years. He frequents Fort Dodge Coin and Stamp, 615 Central Ave., which he says is a reputable source, along with Peters Coins, 12 S. 11th St.

Fort Dodge Coin and Stamp is owned and operated by Sam and Bev Ashton. They buy coins, rings and necklaces, among other precious metals.

"Some people are really struggling right now and will sell whatever they can," Sam Ashton said.

He added that more and more people are coming in looking to either sell or invest in gold and silver.

"I had a gentleman in this morning that was a newbie," Ashton said. Like others entering the investment area, Ashton said the man was concerned with unemployment, the economy and the national deficit.

"I tell people to ask questions, a lot of questions," Ashton said. "If a business owner can't take a few minutes to answer simple questions, you probably don't want to do business with them."

What simple questions should one ask?

To be an educated seller before asking a potential buyer these questions, you should know the actual cost per ounce of precious metals, according to the American Numismatic Association. One website potential sellers can reference is

According to, gold was at $1,427.20 per ounce, and silver was at $36.01 per ounce on Monday.

Rozack said he uses the website

In addition, Ashton recommends people deal with only established businesses in town, go to coin shows, join a coin club, and stay away from buyer businesses based temporarily in hotels.

"I've seen too many people get ripped off at those places," Sam Ashton said.

Which is why he and Rozack push research and education for sellers and buyers.

"The idea of the education aspect is to research the prices of what you're selling or buying before you go and spend a bundle on it," Rozack said. "Research it."

Rozack said that's one of the benefits of being a member of the Fort Dodge Coin Club. In addition to the fellowship, he said members get to hear from informational speakers, as well as put on coin shows.

The club has a show coming up March 26 and 27 at the Crossroads Mall with 15 to 20 coin dealers attending from across the state.

Contact Lindsey Mutchler at (515) 573-2141 or



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