New Minnesota coin law targets shady dealers

  • Article by: Dan Browning , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 29, 2013 - 12:01 AM

As of Thursday, state will require bonds, background checks for metals vendors.

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mn55066Jul. 28, 13 8:03 PM

This law is way overdue. Any dealers it puts out of business should not have been in it in the first place. It is about time government started doing more to protect consumers. Unfortunately, too may businesses have lobbyists that keep legislators from doing a better job of consumer protection.

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truthspecherAug. 1, 13 4:18 PM

The real problem with the law is that even though it claims to control "bullion coin dealers", the language used does not do that. Two of the most common methods in which bullion or precious metals are sold are via "rounds" and "bars"...neither of these is covered by the law. The law will however cost thousands of dollars per year to come into compliance with, driving dedicated hobby dealers out of business or out of the state. It also stops dealers outside of Minnesota from selling to collectors within the state by challenging existing interstate commerce laws. I collect Greek and Roman coins for their history, not as investment and these historical items are now considered "bullion" under the new law. A Roman denarius might cost $100 and yet only contain $2 in silver value...why is this covered under the law? I'm not buying this historical artifact for the $2 silver value. On the surface the law might sound good when sensational headlines scream "MINNESOTA TAKES LEAD ON COIN FRAUD" or "NEW MINNESOTA COIN LAW TARGETS SHADY DEALERS" but the truth is; the law only hurts small home businesses and honest coin dealers and collectors. The law casts a huge net and catches mostly all the wrong species. The vast majority of coin dealers are honest hobbyists selling to other hobbyists interested in collector coins. The law fails to separate these hobby dealers from "investment" dealers who buy and sell precious metal commodities (bullion). One of the most visible differences between these two is that hobby dealers are not doing aggressive, targeted marketing. They are not running full page ads in the Star Tribune announcing that they are buying and selling gold. They work from small margins selling on the internet via Ebay or from a very small brick and mortar store. They do little to no advertising and sell interesting pieces of history to collectors who love coins. I have to believe that the intent of this law was noble but the final product is an utter failure. Collectors' voices were ignored during the process and the entire law was pushed through the House and Senate and signed into law in just 9 days. In my humble opinion, this law must be re-written by the legislature through multiple amendments so that it achieves the original intended goals of the framers.

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kopperkidAug. 1, 1311:42 PM

“The days when a convicted bank robber could get a job selling gold coins in Minnesota are coming to an end.” This articles title says “coin law..” and then “dealers”. Then your subtitle says, “metals vendors”. Unfortunately, this law, like the article didn’t do a good job in discerning the differences. If you say coin law, most people associate coin dealers. Yet you change to metal vendors- the “gold and silver” exchanges you see popping up at strip malls. Let’s get this straight Star Tribune- which is it, metal vendors or coin dealers? The law didn’t do a good job either so don’t feel so bad about yourself. The law on the other hand has had a huge impact on the coin collecting hobby here in MN. Most coin collectors won’t feel this until they start getting the letters like I did from the major auction houses who can no longer comply to this new law and hence can’t sell me coins. That’s right, a US citizen, living in MN, can’t buy a coin from US company because of this law. The scary part..this law is being used as a model for other states! The days when an uneducated congressperson could get a job selling bills in Minnesota are coming to an end. Now that is a headline worth the ink and e-ink it’s printed on.

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