Get Started

1897 Coiner's Department image

Whether you are coming back to numismatics or are here for the first time, your success will depend heavily on having a good beginning. There are many questions to consider. What are your goals as a collector? What path brought you here and what interests you? Have you thought about a budget and what is your timeline? If you are new to numismatics, or just new to OCNUMIS, then this is a great place to start.


Hello, I’m Joe O’Connor.

I’m a collector at heart, and for over forty years I’ve also been a dealer, helping other collectors successfully channel their numismatic passions.

If you are new to OCNUMIS, “Welcome”. And, if we already know each other, then, “Welcome Back”.

Numismatics is a vast, all encompassing, and highly intertwined discipline, including twenty five centuries of coins, currency, currency substitutes, tokens, historical medals, and medallic art, issued by thousands of cities, states, and countries, in the names of emperors, kings, warriors, and statesmen.

The study of numismatics of the United States of America covers little more than three of these centuries worth of history, and for only one piece of land. Yet, even here, in this small sliver of the whole of numismatics, the amount of information can be overwhelming.

The purpose of this Start Page is to begin the process of breaking down the mountain of data into basic pieces that can be easily understood, and then acted upon.

My daily focus is on what I call the ‘Masterworks’ of American Numismatics, the finest survivors, the rarest issues, THE most important coins in American Numismatics. That sounds daunting, unapproachable, and really expensive, and it can be. When all of the stars align, the right combination of rarity, condition, and historical importance can result in a six or even seven digit price tag. However, with diligence and some patience, we can acquire meaningful, near ‘condition census’ level coins for as little as a few thousand dollars.

Additionally there are areas of numismatics where condition is not so important, but where history or art are the drivers. I will occasionally drag you over to these side roads, and it’s possible that you could get lost there.

CONDITION CENSUS is simply a roster of known specimens, ranked in order of quality, with the “finest known” at top, followed by the second finest, then the third, on down the line. While every coin is technically in the “Condition Census” or “CC”, describing a coin as “within the Condition Census” often refers to it as placing among the top half-dozen or so finest examples known.

Whether you are new to numismatics or an experienced collector and just new to OCNUMIS, here is an easy path to help you get started.

STEP ONE – Let’s Get Acquainted

I like to get to know my clients well, and the first step is to say “Hello”. I invite you to call, email, or get together at a coin show so that we may get to know each other. Tell me what brought you to collecting, what you’ve learned so far, and your current approach to developing your collection. I look forward to sharing my philosophy of collecting, my approach to looking at coins, and how I decide what to buy, and when to pass.

STEP TWO – Stay Connected

This website is my platform for information, whether through articles posted in Perspectives, or the essays offered along coins included in Archives. New content will be added to this site frequently, so stop by often in order to stay connected.

STEP THREE – Take A Look Around

OCNUMIS.COM was completely updated in 2022, so it’s time to take a new look.

Private Sales includes those coins currently available for direct sale. Of all the coins that I buy for inventory, only the special ones make it here. These are regularly coins that I have repurchased from clients, as individual coins or as entire collections, and coins that I have purchased in the open market that I feel are temporarily underappreciated, and therefore, maybe under priced.

While I prefer a private sale to the added cost of an auction room, buying the best coins often requires competing at auction. Auctions will discuss the issue of using an auction agent, what to expect from that relationship, and what that will cost you.

When I’m not talking coins, or buying and selling them, you will often find me buried in a pile of old auction catalogues. Archives is a collection of my research notes, with each report covering a single issue, such as 1834 Capped Bust Quarters, or 1901-S Barber Halves, and highlighting a coin that I have sold previously. These reports include my interpretation of the numbers – grades and prices – with detailed condition census rosters and provenance chains. Some of these reports can get a bit technical, such as when we discuss die remarriages and emission sequences. However, they will always be full of good information for collectors at every level, and I will do my best to explain the technical jargon.

PROVENANCE refers to the chain of ownership, including all known sales history. Provenance is important as helps establish the known roster of surviving specimens, and provides a means, mainly through auction photos, to identify any changes in appearance between sales events.

Market action, expert insight, historical context and much more will be found in Perspectives, along with many of the great back stories that make numismatics so engaging.

About OCNUMIS includes my personal history in numismatics, and a description of the core principles that guide me in my relationships with both clients and colleagues.

On the business side of things, I recognize a fiduciary level of care with our clients and customers, whether it’s a one-time transaction, or a life-long relationship. From instructions on how to confirm an order, payment and delivery, Buying Guide outlines our responsibilities to you, and what’s available to assist you with your purchase, whether extended payment terms, or an aggressive trade-in of coins that you already own.

I need to buy coins on a regular basis, and most of those coins are bought directly from collectors. Selling Guide will outline how easy and secure the process will be to sell your coins to OCNUMIS, even if they don’t rise to the level of the coins offered on this site. Whether you bought them from us or not, I welcome the opportunity to buy your collection.

Top image: 1897 Coiner's Department at Mint in New Orleans, LA - E.S. Gardner, Library of Congress