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Four states, 1500 miles, 23 coins shops, a disastrous hotel stay, and 10 days later...

AlbumNerdAlbumNerd Posts: 117 ✭✭✭
edited January 19, 2024 10:52AM in U.S. Coin Forum

Published on CoinWeek!
https://coinweek.com/coin-road-trip-four-states-23-coins-shops/


Late last December [2023], I decided to take a road trip to visit all the coin shops I could while driving back home from California to Colorado. My goal was to find as many cool Dansco products and coins as I could. As well as meet other coin collectors.

Four states, 1500 miles, 23 coins shops, a disastrous hotel stay, and 10 days later, I arrived back home with:

Dozens of albums & pages, 15 lbs of world coins, 200 world current notes, and many stories to share.







Some observations after visiting 23 coin shops across 4 states:

  • 15% of shops were extremely welcoming. I was able to chat with the owners about my Dansco preservation project and they wanted to help out. They often suggested nearby shops to visit.

  • 25% of shops were generally friendly and welcoming, but I was seen more as a customer rather than a fellow collector.

  • 20% were outright hostile.

  • The remaining 40% of shops were ambivalent.

  • Some shops were extremely hostile when I said I was looking for Dansco albums. One shop owner looked at the Danscos I was trying to purchase, took them out back to look up eBay sold listings, then refused to sell half and overcharged the other half.

  • The best shop owner experiences were the ones where I got to share my preservation project with the owner and we got to talk about the current state of Dansco and coin collecting. The best interactions were ones where shop owners were curious about my knowledge of Dansco products, rather than thinking I was just a reseller trying to make a quick buck.

  • For fun, I ran an experiment where some days I dressed in casual clothes, and other days I dressed up a little more. When I was in casual baggy clothes, I was given worse service and experienced more hostile owners. When I was better dressed up, I received significantly better service and respect.

  • As a young person of color, I always wonder if my age/race plays into how shop owners treat me. After this trip, my experience was that race and age did not impact me as much. But class and perceived social status played a significant part in how I was treated.

  • The smallest coin shops tend to have the most personable owners.

  • Regarding my disastrous hostel stay, let's just say that it wasn't fun waking up to hear teenagers trying to break into cars in a hotel parking lot in Albuquerque when you have a few thousand dollars worth of coin supplies in your car. Ended up checking out the hotel at 2 am and sleeping on the road.

  • I saw all types of coin shops. From holes in the walls to boutique jewelry stores. It didn't matter how fancy the coin shops were, the key thing was how the owner saw and treated customers.

  • The best shop experiences were ones where coin supplies and albums were not behind the counter. Where I could physically pull out albums and inspect them. And where price stickers were already on them.

  • Every shop has complaints about how hard it is to get Dansco products

  • Around 90% of shop owners & employees were men. 10% women.

  • Around 30% of shop owners & employees were under the age of 45. 70% were over 45.

  • Some shops have old coin supplies like Whitman albums in a free giveaway box!

  • Negotiating deals is both an art and critical for coin collectors. Almost every shop was willing to negotiate the final price. The best tactic I’ve found is to purchase multiple items and offer to pay in cash if you can get a lower total price.

Overall this was a great experience. I got to meet many collectors and build out my collection. It was quite an experience seeing the range of coin shops around the southwest United States. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do it again soon.

  • Dansco Dude
Tagged:

Comments

  • scubafuelscubafuel Posts: 1,716 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great trip report! Your experience in coin shops is very close to what I have seen as well.

  • Project NumismaticsProject Numismatics Posts: 1,284 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow - I love the idea of this project and your insights. Amazing!

    Any additional stories in particular that jumped out? What was your best experience / interaction?

  • Manifest_DestinyManifest_Destiny Posts: 3,047 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Cool project and write up!

  • Project NumismaticsProject Numismatics Posts: 1,284 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Two more questions -

    Did any shops offer to sell you any albums that were partially complete or fully complete with coins? I assume you would have to specifically ask since dealers usually break these down upon purchasing over the counter.

    Did you find any Wayte Raymond albums?

  • keyman64keyman64 Posts: 15,451 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Neat report! Congrats on your trip.

    "If it's not fun, it's not worth it." - KeyMan64
    Looking for Top Pop Mercury Dime Varieties & High Grade Mercury Dime Toners. :smile:
  • SanctionIISanctionII Posts: 11,607 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Coin road trips are something everyone should consider doing once or twice. Yours sounds like it was overall a fun and positive experience.

    I have travelled the Western US (mostly in California for work) and am surprised at the large number of B&M coin shops that are up and running. There are coin shops all over the place. They range from small to large, run down/worn out to brand new. The owners and employees are a cross section, with some being very hostile/unfriendly to collectors to some being very friendly and helpful. Some are very knowledgeable and some are unknowledgeable.

    You never know what you will find by going into coin shops. I avoid the ones where people are hostile/unfriendly and enjoy going to other shops that welcome you. I make an effort to converse with the people running the shops; and by doing so have seen people warm up to me and decide to show me the "good stuff" that they have in the back of the shop.

  • GaCoinGuyGaCoinGuy Posts: 2,688 ✭✭✭✭

    Coin shops like the 20% you described are the reason so many go out of business; no one wants to do business with Oscar the Grouch. I have visited shops where the owner would let me rummage through boxes and many that looked at me as if I were there to steal.

    Interesting results of the casual/nicer dress; one of the richest men I know is most often seen in camo shorts and a sweatshirt; you'd never know he has several million to his name.

    I love the world notes; that food coupon is interesting; it shows Series 2000...did not know they were still in use then.

    imageimage

  • DoubleEagle59DoubleEagle59 Posts: 8,143 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow...what a trip!

    I was expecting all those albums to be full of coins though.

    Maybe that's the next trip??

    "Gold is money, and nothing else" (JP Morgan, 1912)

    "“Those who sacrifice liberty for security/safety deserve neither.“(Benjamin Franklin)

    "I only golf on days that end in 'Y'" (DE59)
  • Walkerguy21DWalkerguy21D Posts: 11,073 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Cool trip and report!

    Successful BST transactions with 170 members. Recent: Tonedeaf, Shane6596, Piano1, Ikenefic, RG, PCGSPhoto, stman, Don'tTelltheWife, Boosibri, Ron1968, snowequities, VTchaser, jrt103, SurfinxHI, 78saen, bp777, FHC, RYK, JTHawaii, Opportunity, Kliao, bigtime36, skanderbeg, split37, thebigeng, acloco, Toninginthblood, OKCC, braddick, Coinflip, robcool, fastfreddie, tightbudget, DBSTrader2, nickelsciolist, relaxn, Eagle eye, soldi, silverman68, ElKevvo, sawyerjosh, Schmitz7, talkingwalnut2, konsole, sharkman987, sniocsu, comma, jesbroken, David1234, biosolar, Sullykerry, Moldnut, erwindoc, MichaelDixon, GotTheBug
  • NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 853 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very educational writeup. Sadly, I have to agree with the grouchiness factor that exists in ~60% of the shops. Poor treatment by dealers is my #1 pet peeve in the hobby. Glad you found some great ones, too. A friendly, engaging coin dealer is such a joy to be around.

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

  • 2windy2fish2windy2fish Posts: 780 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Epic trip, great write up!
    Tell us more about your project please

  • davewesendavewesen Posts: 5,684 ✭✭✭✭✭

    great trip - what did you use for source to decide on shops to visit? were any closed due to holidays or have hours shorter than you expected?

  • braddickbraddick Posts: 22,858 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I am going to assume the "Littleton's Prestige Collector Series" is a date set of Ike dollars (with an Ike metal to boot)?

    peacockcoins

  • LukeMarshallLukeMarshall Posts: 1,883 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I admire your passion for this preservation project, and wish you further successes.

    Thank you for sharing the details, the data you collected was very detailed and painted a great perspective.

    It's all about what the people want...

  • Namvet69Namvet69 Posts: 8,602 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Well, Jack Kerouac has nothing on you. Thanks for sharing your observations. I think you were successful. Peace Roy

    BST: endeavor1967, synchr, kliao, Outhaul, Donttellthewife, U1Chicago, ajaan, mCarney1173, SurfinHi, MWallace, Sandman70gt, mustanggt, Pittstate03, Lazybones, Walkerguy21D, coinandcurrency242 , thebigeng, Collectorcoins, JimTyler, USMarine6, Elkevvo, Coll3ctor, Yorkshireman, CUKevin, ranshdow, CoinHunter4, bennybravo, Centsearcher, braddick, Windycity, ZoidMeister, mirabela, JJM, RichURich, Bullsitter, jmski52

  • AlanSkiAlanSki Posts: 1,657 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Did you find certain dealers in certain states treated you differently?

  • erwindocerwindoc Posts: 4,904 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Why dont you point out the exceptionally friendly ones for others to venture to, rather than calling out the bad ones.

  • KurisuKurisu Posts: 1,813 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great post!! Interesting results.
    Welcome back home from here in Colorado :smiley:
    In my area World of Coins in Littleton near Columbine High School is one of those welcoming places. Owner is a really good guy who I give a (friendly) hard time because he really knows his stuff a little too well lol! Fair prices too.

    Coins are Neato!

    "If it's a penny for your thoughts and you put in your two cents worth, then someone...somewhere...is making a penny." - Steven Wright

  • PillarDollarCollectorPillarDollarCollector Posts: 4,607 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Adventures and the hobbies we love what more can a person ask for!!!

    Collecting interests: Mexico & Peru early milled 1 reales + 1796-1891 US dimes

    Sports: NHL & NFL

    Thank you Lord for another beautiful day!!!

  • MWallaceMWallace Posts: 3,814 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @AlbumNerd said:

    • 20% were outright hostile.

    I think overall 20% is low but this is the very reason I don't visit coin shops or go to coin shows.

  • QCCoinGuyQCCoinGuy Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭

    This is such a great post. Really refreshing to read. Thanks for sharing!

  • BLUEJAYWAYBLUEJAYWAY Posts: 7,835 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Where are the pictures of the food you consumed along the way? :D

    Successful transactions:Tookybandit. "Everyone is equal, some are more equal than others".
  • ElKevvoElKevvo Posts: 4,046 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for the entertaining and informative post! Makes me want to put together a coin road trip but don't know what I would be looking for other than just to have fun! Hey...maybe that would be the point!

    K

    ANA LM
  • Mr_SpudMr_Spud Posts: 4,220 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sounds like a great roadtrip 👍🏼

    Mr_Spud

  • logger7logger7 Posts: 7,962 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for the report. Think of the challenges of running a shop on a profitable basis. Not easy.

  • KurisuKurisu Posts: 1,813 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 10, 2024 6:30AM

    @Kurisu said:
    Great post!! Interesting results.
    Welcome back home from here in Colorado :smiley:
    In my area World of Coins in Littleton near Columbine High School is one of those welcoming places. Owner is a really good guy who I give a (friendly) hard time because he really knows his stuff a little too well lol! Fair prices too.

    I haven't been to World of Coins yet, but I have been to A Coin Shop in Littleton a few times. The owner there has always treated me well!

    A Coin Shop is usually where I pickup my ANACS orders.
    I've made some nice cherry picks at Paul's shop :smiley:

    Coins are Neato!

    "If it's a penny for your thoughts and you put in your two cents worth, then someone...somewhere...is making a penny." - Steven Wright

  • MeltdownMeltdown Posts: 8,616 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 10, 2024 5:41AM

    What a great trip! I would love to do something like that one of these days. Some of my best buys and experiences have been smaller town, hole in the wall type places.
    I love the "General Coins album" - that has the plastic pages for 2x2's right? Mine is nearly full with all the random stuff I've accumulated over the years.
    I have two of those "silver rounds" albums all filled up. I'm curious, do you ever run into the "silver bars" albums? I assume they are pretty scarce just from my own experience looking for them.

  • DrBusterDrBuster Posts: 5,300 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Fun! Love me some cross country drives and used to do it a lot. Neat that you hit all the shops.

    If you did I-25 at night at all that was a fun stretch. I did a Ft Collins->Albuquerque->Atlanta bomber with only a 4hr nap in Amarillo, leaving around 4pm. Was the absolute only car on I-25 during a full moon once I got past Colorado Springs. Train was running and I tried to match speed. Had my little honda pegged out over 120 and that train was leaving me behind.

  • jmski52jmski52 Posts: 22,271 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What a great write up!

    Q: Are You Printing Money? Bernanke: Not Literally

    I knew it would happen.
  • WQuarterFreddieWQuarterFreddie Posts: 2,548 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Awesome thread and thank you for sharing!

    You seem very knowledgeable not only about coins and supplies but about human nature as well.

    Funny story about your brother and his treasured tokens! You two will always have the memories from your trip. Enjoy!

  • GaCoinGuyGaCoinGuy Posts: 2,688 ✭✭✭✭

    @BLUEJAYWAY said:
    Where are the pictures of the food you consumed along the way? :D

    And the bottles of wine?

    imageimage

  • pursuitoflibertypursuitofliberty Posts: 6,514 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great report and follow up on some of the questions posed. Thank you for taking the time to share.

    My younger brother would have picked out the exact same tokens! :D Well, those and automobile ones. :p


    “We are only their care-takers,” he posed, “if we take good care of them, then centuries from now they may still be here … ”

    Todd - BHNC #242
  • CircCamCircCam Posts: 206 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Cool write up and glad it was a safe and successful trip.

    Hard to blame coin dealers for being standoffish considering all the people they have to deal with who are up to no good and/or borderline insane. The ones who stay positive despite that really stand out though.

  • Dug13Dug13 Posts: 225 ✭✭✭

    Great write up.
    We always include coin store stops when ever we take a lengthy road trip. Every time at least 50% of the shops are closed due to vacation, wedding, funeral, out lunch, out on errands. I have learned to call ahead about an hour before we pass through the town.
    Also, that is an amazingly crazy large impressive collection of albums!!!!
    Great job 👏

    Wall of HONOR transaction list:WonderCoin, CoinFlip, Masscrew, Travintiques, lordmarcovan, Jinx86, Gerard, ElKevvo

  • hfjacintohfjacinto Posts: 737 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @AlbumNerd while your trip was super cool, I think the coolest part is that you gave my review of Dansco, Whitman and Littleton a shout out on Reddit!

  • MrScienceMrScience Posts: 725 ✭✭✭

    Great report, AlbumNerd!

    I suspect that many brick and mortar coin stores that are militantly unmotivated to show or sell coins to customers are more interested in ripping off buying from unsuspecting sellers.

  • Che_GrapesChe_Grapes Posts: 1,850 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Unfortunately my LCS’s are a lot like described - ambivalent or rude - almost condescending. Like if you’re not an expert then you’re just wasting their time. Feel like I’m bothering them - kinda like a gun store or gritty pawn shop. One of the LCS is so bad I refuse to even visit anymore - despite it’s the one easiest for me to visit and I drive by it daily.
    Why is this?

  • cladkingcladking Posts: 28,267 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've been in a lot of shops all over most of the country and experienced about the same thing. Most people treated me courteously and or professionally but rudeness and out and out hostility were not very uncommon. Part of the problem was I was buying odd ball stuff (about as oddball as empty albums). I'd look at every mint set in the shop, poke through the junk bins, and scrutinize all the modern world coins. I'd usually finish by offering to buy their boxes of "what is it" that most dealers keep by their desks. I was very fast so didn't take up a lot of their time but a couple dealers turned hostile when they asked me what I was looking for in the mint sets and I told them quarters and varieties. A few thought their unidentifiables were worth a fortune. I was able to identify many of them for them. Unsurprisingly most were common.

    I had problems with the motel rooms or the state parks I was staying in a few times as well. Usually I felt safe though.

    Almost every collector should try to check out the shops around the country. They all have far more and more diverse stuff than they take to coin shows. Even if all you collect are CAC 18th century US coins there are very interesting things in the shops. You can get a lot of insight not only into coins, tokens, and medals but the way the hobby works and how coins move around the "food chain". Just watching the way poundage evolves over time is worth the effort.

    Tempus fugit.
  • seanqseanq Posts: 8,567 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DrBuster said:
    Fun! Love me some cross country drives and used to do it a lot. Neat that you hit all the shops.

    If you did I-25 at night at all that was a fun stretch. I did a Ft Collins->Albuquerque->Atlanta bomber with only a 4hr nap in Amarillo, leaving around 4pm. Was the absolute only car on I-25 during a full moon once I got past Colorado Springs. Train was running and I tried to match speed. Had my little honda pegged out over 120 and that train was leaving me behind.

    I love to drive, but after going from Bridgeport, CT to New Orleans, LA in one 26-hour cannonball run, I was cured of my longing to be a long-haul trucker. My daughter just graduated from a school in Bangor, ME, I liked to hit the book shops along the way but never mapped out a route to check out coin stores. I may have to do that now this summer to make up for the oversight.

    Sean Reynolds

    Incomplete planchets wanted, especially Lincoln Cents & type coins.

    "Keep in mind that most of what passes as numismatic information is no more than tested opinion at best, and marketing blather at worst. However, I try to choose my words carefully, since I know that you guys are always watching." - Joe O'Connor

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