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Best Coin Shop Experience(s)

keyman64keyman64 Posts: 15,396 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 13, 2021 4:43AM in U.S. Coin Forum

Please share yours.

For me, it was when I was young. At the age of eight, my father passed down his collection of Mercury Dimes that he put together, about eight full folders from circulation, minus the 16-Ds of course. That sparked my interest. I then had my mom take me to the Gilder Shop in Tampa, FL. They are still there, under different ownership and in a different location. This was about a 25-30min drive for us. She would take me on a Saturday morning every few months when I was between the age of 8-12. This was in the 1980s. When I would enter with my mom, they would put out their cigarettes. On my first visit, they gave me an old Red Book they had, for free. This became the source of my favorite reading for years. They were willing to share their knowledge and show me anything in the shop that I wanted to look at. They answered hundreds of questions and I even bought a few things that I still have today in their original 2x2s. 1939-D 5c, 1950-D 5c(crap, I sold this one), 1916-D 25c in F, 1963 PR 25c etc. I had so much fun. They would share their knowledge about the dimes in my collection from my father as well. :)

In recent years, besides Cherrypicking, my most enjoyable coin shop experiences have been at Sarasota Rare Coins. If you are in FL or have been to a FUN show, you probably recognize the name. Nice people with a nice shop and nice coins and great inventory. I was there recently and they showed me an 1840 Proof 50c which was pretty darn cool. Anyway, it is always a pleasant experience.

"If it's not fun, it's not worth it." - KeyMan64
Looking for Top Pop Mercury Dime Varieties & High Grade Mercury Dime Toners. :smile:


  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @keyman64... Those are nice stories...and much better than the other kind in another thread today. I wish there were a coin shop around here.... Nothing but some antique shops with overpriced Morgan dollars. Cheers, RickO

  • marcmoishmarcmoish Posts: 5,949 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Gimbels in the late 60's to early 70's on 34th street in NYC.

  • There was a dealer at a flea-market my mother would take me when I had just started collecting. They had bins of wheat cents, older jeffersons, and cheap coins that I could afford. Time and time again, they would sit me down and teach me a thing or two about coins I couldn't afford. Morgans, Peace, etc. And a few times they just gave me some cull large cents for free.

  • lkeneficlkenefic Posts: 7,476 ✭✭✭✭✭

    American Bullion & Coin in Flagstaff AZ... I still pop in every once in a while when I'm visiting family and friends. They're patient, have lots of inventory, and more knowledge...

    Collecting: Dansco 7070; Middle Date Large Cents (VF-AU); Box of 20;

    Successful BST transactions with: SilverEagles92; Ahrensdad; Smitty; GregHansen; Lablade; Mercury10c; copperflopper; whatsup; KISHU1; scrapman1077, crispy, canadanz, smallchange, robkool, Mission16, ranshdow, ibzman350, Fallguy, Collectorcoins, SurfinxHI, jwitten, Walkerguy21D, dsessom.
  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,033 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would have to say that it was a collective experience when I was young collector. The numismatists who maned the counter at Gimbels Department Store in Philadelphia, PA spent a fair amount of time with me helping me to learn the ropes. They helped me learn to grade and spot over graded material. When I was 16, they offered me a job.

    You can say what you will about their prices, but the help they gave me early on was priceless.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • Rob9874Rob9874 Posts: 315 ✭✭✭✭

    I have very find memories of the carousel coin display at Woolworths as a kid. That's what got me started in the hobby.

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 1,085 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The local coin shop (now been closed for a few years) has ripped me off quite a bit over the years as a young collector. His prices were at least 200-300% full retail. I only realized how badly I got taken in about twenty years ago when I discovered coin shows and internet sales. Prior to that I bought all my coins from this one coin shop.

    So about 20 years ago I actually lucked out big time. I had these uncirculated sequential packs of 100 $2 bills that I got from the bank at face value. They were the typical green seal notes with no special serial numbers or anything. Going on eBay at the time for about $20-$30 over face. I brought them to the coin shop and out of curiosity asked the owner if he would be interested in buying them. Not only was he interested but he offered me $200 over face for each pack. I only had three packs on me that day so I sold him those and made a quick $600 profit! I asked if would be interested in more since I knew I could get more at the bank. He was! I think I ended up being able to sell him two more packs for another $400 profit. After that he said 5 packs was enough for his inventory as he needed to sell them before buying any more.

    As the years went on I noticed he always had a pack of those $2 bills in his display case for like $575 (he always overpriced everything this high). I have no idea if he ever sold any of the 5 packs he bought from me or if he sold some and just kept putting a pack out for sale after selling the one(s) prior to it. A pack was still there the last time I went a year or so before they closed permanently.

    I feel like this was my karma moment with the shop.

  • 3keepSECRETif2rDEAD3keepSECRETif2rDEAD Posts: 4,285 ✭✭✭✭✭

    …I love my LCS here in San Diego…I like to bring the owner some Italian sausages and apple crumb pie every so often…in fact, I will do just that ;)

  • BaleyBaley Posts: 22,658 ✭✭✭✭✭

    When I was a 10-13 year old in 1977-80 my dad started taking me the local coin stores every few Saturdays, I'd save my lawn mowing and pool cleaning money and maybe have a little junk silver from grandpa to sell, and would be shopping for 20th century type coins and Morgans, then some seated Liberty and bust coins

    We had our "usual" place which I did and still do consider a perfect coin shop: they were very patient and let me hang around an hour or two, and even hinted at me getting a job there some day. They had display cases with all the usual array of coins both US and foreign/ancient, one of those rotating cases for jewelry and exonumia, his car license plates collection all over the walls, and a big old brown double door safe with a golden eagle painted on it with all the good stuff during the day and most of the inventory at night. Nice coins at fair prices, run by a nice man, his mom, and her 2nd husband. This was the San Jose Coin Shop in Town & Country Village mall, California.

    The other shops in town and on occasional travel ran the spectrum of the stories mentioned in the companion "bad experiences" thread, and these good guys were the reason we considered ourselves lucky to be regulars at our favorite. Probably the reason I'm still a collector, come to think of it. Although I took a break from coins ages 14-30, I always remembered the hobby well due to that nice coin store.

    Liberty: Parent of Science & Industry

  • goldengolden Posts: 8,805 ✭✭✭✭✭

    When I got my first, last and only job I had Sundays and Mondays off. I would be at the local coin shop just about every Monday. I bought and sold and learned.

  • VeepVeep Posts: 1,392 ✭✭✭✭

    Dad would take us to a little shop every other week or so. The dealer had a big belly, chaw in his lip and bankroll in his picket that would choke a horse.

    I’d pick out Merc dimes I needed for my set from his coin stacker while Dad talked about commems and silver dollars. I desperately wanted a Carson City coin— any Carson City coin and he sold me a very smooth, but legible ‘78-CC Morgan for $4.50. I loved that coin!

    "Let me tell ya Bud, you can buy junk anytime!"
  • AllentramAllentram Posts: 75 ✭✭✭

    When I was 13 a friend and I lived within walking distance of a weekend flea market/swap meet. There was a coin dealer there who was always very kind and nice to us. He'd greet is with a smile, and would give us tips and advice on coin collecting. We spent what little money we could on his coins and he would thank us. He gave me a trio of very well worn, dateless silver three cent pieces for free which I still have to this day.

    After I graduated college and started working full time I came across a local shop that had a bid board. Bids ended every Saturday at 4:00 PM so a small gathering took place. I did it only a few times, but it was good chatting with the owner and other local collectors. That bid board had lots of quality stuff, including a raw 1942 proof Jefferson Nickel that made PCGS PR 66.

  • Pnies20Pnies20 Posts: 1,861 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @BustDMs said:
    So, when I was a kid my Dad used to drive me to local shows, answered ads in the paper and local shops. One shop used to answer my questions and let me look at coins they knew I could not afford. Some years go by and they decided to open a shop in a local shopping mall. I was there for the grand opening! They used to let me put better coins in layaway and pay them off over time as I cut multiple yards in the neighborhood. After a few years they were persuaded to hire me when I was in high school. As it came time to graduate they had a full time position open up. A few years later I was able to buy in as a partner. I now co-own the company.

    So, if any of you are traveling though Cincinnati Ohio or Florence Kentucky and would like to stop for a coin chat please introduce yourself! Oh, yea, we might have a coin or two to show you. ;)

    Brad Karoleff, Coins Plus

    I drive through Florence going from Nashville to Erie, PA every year.

    Florence Y’all!

    BHNC Associate member #AN-07 … 88 and counting.

  • BillyKingsleyBillyKingsley Posts: 2,661 ✭✭✭✭

    I've not had many great coin shop visits because I haven't made many. Probably around 15 total in my life. I've only had two bad experiences one of which I shared in the other thread...one which I will after I finish typing this reply. All of the rest were good.

    In 1995 I was briefly interested in coins...NASCAR diecast, both then and now, was my main collection. One of the shops we went to was Kingston Coin, in Kingston NY, which sold both. I must have mentioned that I had some interest in coins, because the owner gave me an 1853 dime. It is nothing special to most people (it's been cleaned, harshly. I'm sure he took it out of an unsellable box) but for 9 year old me at the time it was the oldest thing I'd ever seen. It's still proudly part of my collection. Unfortunately I can't remember his name now, the shop closed and I last saw him circa 1996.

    In 2008 my family was on a trip to Cape Cod, and we passed a coin shop. We doubled back and I went in. It was my first coin shop visit as an actual collector, I had become a numismatist 3 months before, even if I didn't yet know that word. I bought my oldest US coin that day, still holds the record. (1832). I remember the name of the shop was Black River Coins but I don't know if he's still there...I have not been back to the cape in over a decade. Don't know if I could find the shop now even if he is still there.

    Later that year, I went to another coin shop for the first time, in Glens Falls NY. In the case was a Massachusetts pine tree shilling that had been a metal detecting find in Lake George NY, my favorite place in the world. At least that's the story I was told. The owner mentioned that it was going to get auctioned but I don't know what happened, I never thought to ask on subsequent trips.

    Although not a coin purchase, my last time going to the local coin shop before it unexpectedly closed, I pulled some basketball cards out of a card collection they had just gotten in. The owner got a phone call and had to go, so instead of telling me the price, he simply gave them to me. It wasn't many, nor very expensive... about $15 worth I expected to pay, but the gesture was nice.

    Billy Kingsley ANA R-3146356 Cardboard History // Numismatic History
  • JimsokayJimsokay Posts: 105 ✭✭✭

    Riding my bicycle for a number of miles to the only coin shop relatively close by. A widowed little old lady ran it by herself and the door was always unlocked. She always smiled and knew at best I would buy only the cheapest as I had very little money I somehow scrounged up. Looking back I must have been very trust worthy as she would leave coins I could never afford on the counter for me just to look at while she went in the back room to do some real work. I loved going there!

  • markelman1125markelman1125 Posts: 1,769 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Probably the day I bought a 1881 PR 65 cam PCGS 3 cent nickel from Falmouth coin and stamps. I was so excited and now when I come in, the people at the store rember I am the kid who bought a proof cameo 3 cent nickel

  • MilesWaitsMilesWaits Posts: 5,281 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I had many excellent coin shop experiences largely because I am excited to see them give it a try knowing that it can’t be easy. I do my best to support my local coin shops.
    And I am thankful the moderator shut down the “worst shop experience” thread.

    Now riding the swell in PM's and surf.
  • DontTellTheWifeDontTellTheWife Posts: 600 ✭✭✭

    A big thanks to thebeav , paul, who is here on the boards and ran busy beaver coins in williamsville ny.

    As a teenager, i would visit pauls shop,weekly it seemed,,especially in the summers. I worked on my run of proof sets, my lincoln number 2 book, and all those other beginer items. Spending 10 or 20 bucks here and there.

    Well paul, here it is 30 years later and i spend every day in a shop now "at work"

    Funny story i tell everybody is how in the early 90s i would buy eagles from you at 6 bucks each, and then one day you told me they were 7 each. Man, i thought u were crazy! Well, .... if only i knew!!

    Thanks paul!!!!
    (aka thebeav)

  • BearlyHereBearlyHere Posts: 254 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 14, 2021 10:58PM

    My experience was a little different.
    I remember combing through tons of coins with my Dad and Grandfather. Two years ago my father went into an assisted living center and had to get rid of many possessions including his coins. I spent months prioritizing and selecting the best of what was there. I live in a small town just east of DFW that happens to have an appointment only coin shop named South Park Coins. I struck up a relationship with one of it's principals and liquidated the collection over a number of months. It paid for my home remodel (after 18 years) and I was very pleased. It also ignited a new passion for coins in me.
    For a year and a half I have been collecting SAE and commemoratives as well as various and sundry modern graded coins (as I don't trust my own judgment). I get my supplies from South Park (PGSC boxes, etc...) and sell my accidental duplicates there. Although my purchases are primarily on Ebay, it's great to have a local shop that I trust close by.

    P.S. I wish I had kept a few more of my grandfathers coins...

  • WillieBoyd2WillieBoyd2 Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭✭

    In the early 1960's I was a kid living near Berkeley California.

    My grandmother was a coin collector (Lincoln cents and other small US coins) and introduced me to Bob Burroughs, a coin dealer who ran a small coin and hobby shop in Albany, California.

    I was interested in world coins and made many visits to his store to talk and sometimes, when I had some money, buy coins.

    I remember purchasing two editions (1964 and 1967) of R. S. Yeoman's A Catalog of Modern World Coins from him.

    In 1969 I was a college student and had been out of coins for a few years and one day, May 19, 1969, I stopped in his shop and said hello.

    Bob told me that he was closing his store and was going to Vietnam as a civilian contractor. I never saw him again.

    I bought one last coin from him that day, a silver Iraq Ryal for $2.75, and noted the purchase in my Yeoman catalog.

    Iraq ryal (200 fils)
    Silver, 34 mm, 20.0 gm


    The Mysterious Egyptian Magic Coin
    Coins in Movies
    Coins on Television

  • cladkingcladking Posts: 28,124 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've had only two bad experiences in coin shops my whole life; most have been very good. But perhaps my best experience was the first time I walked into James and Sons back in the mid-'70's. I was in awe of the vast array of coins and their brisk jewelry business as well. There was a sort of studious atmosphere punctuated infrequently by good natured banter and laughter. Most of the best coins were behind the counter or in the "books" but there was plenty on display to entice the novice and advanced collectors. Everyone in the shop had at least one field of expertise and some had many.

    I felt like a kid in the candy store every time I visited. It was Christmas anytime I could get all the way out to Cal City.

    There are lots of really great coin shops and you can get good deals even in the few that are the "bad apples" so the best bet is just avoid the very few cantankerous and mean spirited dealers that are out there. Life is too short for physical altercations or law suits.

    Tempus fugit.

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