Code of Ethics For Numismatic Transactions




  1. This code of ethics represents the accumulated experience and well-considered opinions of many members of our Society. It is designed to guide members of our Society in the transaction of numismatic business between members, visitors or with the general public. Its primary purpose is to set forth generally acceptable business regulations. It will also serve as a guide to members who consider themselves improperly treated in a transaction; and in the drawing up and justifying of a complaint to the Grievance Committee which will in turn use this code as a basis for their decisions.
  2. Purchasers should always remember that in most cases of disagreement over a sale or trade the difference of opinion is usually caused by misunderstanding or differences of interpretation. The Society enjoins Its members and guests to use meticulous care in their transactions. If, despite this, one of the parties to a transaction considers himself wronged, he should contact the seller or trader and allow him the opportunity to rectify the situation. Either of the parties may suggest that a disinterested person be called in to act as arbiter. The arbiter must be acceptable to both principals in the transaction, but if his decision is not acceptable to both, either of them may appeal to the Grievance Committee.
  3. In the event the seller will not remedy the situation to the satisfaction of the buyer or will not submit the matter to arbitration, the buyer may apply directly to the Grievance Committee. When applying to the Grievance Committee, the plaintiff should write a complete report of the circumstances including all details of the transaction, and send the report to the President of the Society. This report should be positive and to the point, preferably documented with sales slip or other record of the transaction. The President thereupon shall transfer the complaint to the Chairman of the Grievance Committee for adjudication in concert with the other two members of the committee. If one of the members, after having been notified in writing or by telephone regarding the sitting of the committee is unable to attend, two members will constitute a quorum.
  4. It is emphasized once more that the buyer should carefully consider every facet of the transaction before filing his complaint. If a member has placed a claim against another member he should not discuss the matter in public. If the accused is exonerated he has the right to call his accuser before the Grievance Committee on a charge of slander if the plaintiff has maliciously distributed a report of the incident publicly.
  5. Upon receiving the written complaint, the Chairman of the Grievance Committee shall furnish the accused member with a written copy of the bill of particulars, including the identity of the accuser. The accused member shall be afforded a reasonable time to enter a written defense to the charges. The Grievance Committee may, at its discretion, summon either or both of the parties to ascertain the truth of the matter and try to bring about an amicable settlement.
  6. if such agreement is not reached, the Committee shall determine the case under the rules set forth in the present code. It may dismiss the charges, or it may recommend to the Executive Committee of the Society the censure, suspension, or expulsion of the accused member if found guilty. Until the final decision of the Executive Committee is announced, the accused member shall continue in good standing.
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  1. The seller of any numismatic item should extend to the purchaser the privilege of returning the purchase, without explanation, for a full refund within three (3) days after the receipt of the article by the purchaser.
  2. In circumstances where it is impossible for the purchaser to actually return the purchase within the three-day period, a telephone call or written note to the seller should be considered satisfactory notice of the intention of the purchaser to return the article at the earliest possible time.
  3. Refund for a returned article should be made immediately upon receipt of the article.
  4. Actual cash refund should be made. Credit towards other purchases should be acceptable only if both parties are in agreement with the credit arrangement.
  5. The purchaser and the seller should keep a permanent record of the transaction.
  6. It is advisable that the seller and the purchaser exchange receipts.
  7. Ownership of a numismatic item does not pass to the purchaser until full payment for the item has been made to the seller,
  8. The purchaser should not resell the article until full payment has been made to the original owner.
  9. For the protection of everyone, it is advisable to accept checks in payment for numismatic items only from someone whom the purchaser knows well. In any event, cash transactions are suggested as being the most satisfactory.
  10. If a numismatic item has been retouched, retooled, or re-engraved and the seller is aware of the alteration, this information should be made known to the buyer.
  11. A purchaser inspecting a numismatic item should not clean the article or alter in any way its original condition.
  12. A collector who borrows a numismatic item, whether for temporary use or for the purpose of inspection prior to the purchase, is responsible for the article. Loss or damage of the article transfers ownership to the borrower and fair payment must be made immediately to the original owner.
  13. The condition of any numismatic item is to a certain degree a matter of opinion. A sale or trade should not be concluded unless both parties are in complete agreement on the condition of the item.
  14. A purchaser in doubt as to the condition or the value of a numismatic item he wishes to purchase should consult other members of the Society for an independent and unbiased opinion. The consultation should be made before the sale is concluded.
  15. If a purchaser discovers gross misrepresentation by the seller of a numismatic item after the three-day limit of unconditional guarantee for refund has expired, the buyer should contact the seller and request adjustment. He should also request that a disinterested party be called in to act as arbiter.
  16. Trades are considered as being somewhat different from sales. Generally, the same regulations apply but the most satisfactory method for trading is to agree to the terms of the trade and method of calculating value before any trade is concluded.
  17. Numismatic items purchased at auction do not come under the headings of sales or trades. Purchasers are warned to inspect the items before purchase and the sale of any article by auction is considered final at the time of the sale. If, however, there is some question concerning an auction purchase, the buyer should contact the Chairman of the Auction Committee for advice and assistance.

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