Harlan J Berk Reviews

Harlan J Berk
Harlan J Berk
Harlan J Berk is a rare coins dealer based in Chicago, Illinois. The company has been in the industry for nearly 50 years and is one of the most renowned ancient coins dealers in Chicago area. Their owners are well-recognized experts in the field of ancient coins and numismatics. However, their product selection is only limited to collectible items and the company does not offer any IRA services. They are only suitable for collectors and numismatists.
Fees & Charges
Honesty & Transparency
Customer Service
Product Selection
Highly knowledgeable team
Great for collectors
No IRA-eligible products
No IRA services
Expert Score

In the realm of numismatics, finding a trusted dealer with a wealth of expertise is paramount for collectors and investors alike.

Harlan J Berk, situated in the heart of Chicago, Illinois, emerges as a distinguished player in the world of rare coins and antiquities. With a legacy spanning over five decades, this esteemed establishment boasts a diverse array of collectibles, led by a team of seasoned numismatists and scholars.

In this comprehensive review, we delve into the history, offerings, and reputation of Harlan J Berk, shedding light on their leadership, product selection, pricing, and customer feedback.

What is Harlan J Berk?

Harlan J Berk is a rare coins dealer based in Chicago, Illinois. They are located at 31 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60602 and their contact number is 312-609-0016. 

The firm specializes in rare coins and numismatics. However, their product selection has a few IRA-eligible offerings too. But because of the sheer number of ineligible products available in their collection, it would be very difficult for retirement investors to purchase here.

Harlan J Berk website

According to IRS rules, you cannot add rare or collectible coins to your gold IRA. Hence, adding such coins to your retirement portfolio might result in penalties. 

The company has received an ample number of reviews online. Their team consists of multiple numismatists, most of which have a lot of experience in dealing with rare coins. 

Apart from rare coins, you might also find paintings, US currency, prints, maps and other antiquities in their product catalog. Also, HJB has more than 17,000 books on numismatics and is renowned as Chicago’s leading research authority in the field of ancient coins.

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People Behind Harlan J Berk

Harlan Berk (Owner, President)

Harlan J Berk Founder

Harlan J Berk is the founder of the firm. He started out as a numismatist and founded the company in 1964. Since then, the company has expanded considerably and his three children have become a major part of it.

Apart from running HJB, Mr Berk is part owner of Gemini LLC, a numismatic auction firm. He became a member of the Professional Numismatist Guild in 1971 and has been a member since.

Also, Mr. Berk has received multiple Guilds awards including the Founders Award, Lifetime Achievement Award and the Robert Friedberg for literature. 

Krause Publications awarded him the title of Numismatic Ambassador in 2006. 

Moreover, Mr. Berk has received the Presidential Award from the Chicago Coin Club

Harlan is a life member of the American Numismatic Association and has been a contributing editor to The Numismatist since 1993. 

Aaron Berk (Owner, Vice President)

Harlan J Berk  Joint Owner Aaron berk

Aaron Berk is the joint owner of Harlan J Berk. 

Also, he is the founder of Artified LLC and Gemini Numismatic Auctions. He has been running HJB since 1992 and is a highly experienced numismatist. 

Apart from HJB, he is the co-founder of Artified LLC, a blockchain project focused on ancient coins, US coin, world currency, and antique maps. Moreover, he is the co-founder of History in Your Hands Foundation and has been leading it since 2016. 

Aaron Berk received his education at the University of Illinois Chicago. 

Curtis Clay (Ancient Numismatist)

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Curtis Clay is the cataloguer of Roman coins at Harlan J Berk. He has written a master thesis at Oxford University on the Septimius Severus’ coinage. 

Furthermore, he has presented papers at multiple international numismatic congresses. Curtis is a respected figure in the sector for his expertise and knowledge in Roman coins. Before he joined HJB in 1994, he spent several years as a teacher and translator in Vienna, Austria. 

Curtis has a B.A. in Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures and Linguistics from Princeton University and a B. LItt. in Roman Coinage from Oxford University.

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Does Harlan J Berk Offer Gold IRA? 


Harlan J Berk doesn’t offer any IRA services. Their website doesn’t mention any gold IRA facilities and their product selection focuses on collectibles. 

Keep in mind that the IRS prohibits the addition of collectible coins to your IRA. Adding ineligible IRA coins and products can result in severe penalties. Furthermore, HJB doesn’t mention any IRA custodians on its website so it’s clear they don’t have any partnerships with them.

If you’re a retirement investor, I would recommend investing with a company which specializes in gold IRAs. Companies like Birch Gold Group and Augusta Precious Metals have specialized staff and products that you can add to your IRA.

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Harlan J Berk Products

Harlan J Berk is a thought leader in the ancient coins sector. However, their product selection has a lot of variety. 

The primary categories in their catalog are:

  • US Coins
  • World Coins
  • Currency
  • Antiquities
  • Ancient Coins
  • Books
  • Maps and Prints

For collectors, their collection is priceless. At the time of writing this review, their US Coins selection features Classic Commemorative Silver, 1923-S. Monroe, 50, MS64, PCGS/CAC and $10 Indian, 1911, 10, MS64, PCGS/CAC. 

Harlan J Berk  Gold Coins
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However, their product does not feature any IRA-eligible products. That’s why I can’t recommend them to gold IRA investors. 

Their selection is only suitable for collectors. If you’re a retirement investor, you would benefit more from investing with a more specialized firm. 

Harlan J Berk Fees and Pricing

Harlan J Berk doesn’t offer any IRA services. Hence, there is no fee-related information on their website. 

Similarly, the company shares the pricing details of all of its products on its website. 

You can view the product listings and view the pricing instantly. This is a highly commendable highlight because many ancient coin dealers avoid sharing such information on their websites. For example, Maine Gold and Silver is a rare coins dealer which asks consumers to give them a call for any pricing information. 

Harlan J Berk Reviews and Complaints

There are plenty of Harlan reviews available online. Their Google listing has a 4.4 out of 5 stars rating based on 98 reviews. 

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Harlan J Berk reviews & ratings on google

Most google reviews praise the company for having fair pricing, knowledgeable staff and friendly customer service.

For example, Louie says that HJB is one of the best dealers in Chicago. They have been using their services for 2 years and the company has given them the best deals. 

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Similarly, their Yelp page has a 4 out of 5 stars rating according to 36 customer reviews. 

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The company’s BBB listing has received an A+ rating but there are no reviews. However, their BBB page has no complaints either. 

It’s obvious that the company values customer service when you look at their reviews. Despite being in the industry for nearly 50 years, HJB has succeeded in maintaining a positive reputation among customers. Not many companies can achieve that. 

Is Harlan J Berk Legit? Should You Invest with Them?

Yes, Harlan J Berk is a legitimate rare coins and collectibles dealer. 

They are one of the most renowned ancient coin sellers in Chicago. The company’s leadership and team consist of multiple experts who all specialize in ancient and rare coins. 


  • Highly knowledgeable team
  • Great for collectors


  • No IRA-eligible products
  • No IRA services

Their selection has many ancient coins, antiquities, books, paintings and other products a collector might look for. 

Furthermore, they have received many positive reviews on various consumer platforms. 

However, the company doesn’t have any IRA products to offer. Their product selection is limited to collectible items which makes them unsuitable for most retirement investors. 

You should only consider them if you’re a collector yourself. 

Summary: Should You Invest with Harlan J Berk? 

This company can be a great place for collectors. However, I can’t recommend them to any retirement investors because of their product catalog and lack of specialization. 

Their specialization is in rare coins, a category of precious metals products ineligible for IRAs. 

If you’re a retirement investor, you should look for a gold IRA firm. To help you with that search, I have compiled a list of the best gold IRA companies. You can check it out now and see what the industry’s best has to offer. 

Have you dealt with Harlan J Berk before? Share your experience in the comments!