Welcome to Steve's blog, sharing stories of his professional coin career, 1963 to date. Enjoy stories of Steve's numismatic journey.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Final Coin, A Fast Car

Today’s memory concerns Fred, the undertaker.  Fred is a good customer of the big retail and mail order business where I work in San Diego.  It’s 1973.

Fred and I have been working for some time to assemble a set of $20 Liberty gold coins, and we’re down to the very last issue.  The last coin is an 1870-CC, and it’s rare. 

For the life of me, I don’t know where to go to find this coin . . . until I spy one listed in an upcoming Stacks auction in New York.  Fred and I discuss the opportunity.

Fred quickly makes a decision, “I want you to go to NY and buy this coin for me.”

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Step Right Up To See The Show!

It's 1964 and I'm a fresh young coin dealer, attending my first coin show, also the first Long Beach show.  The new show was amazing -- a huge event, with people everywhere, deals on every corner.  

In those days the Long Beach arena had a wood plank floor which squeaked often and loudly.  You could hear people coming from a great distance.  The noise from the floor accentuated the excitement of this brand new coin experience.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Blinding Luster, Big Disappointment

My previous post described the single best 1921 Peace Dollar I have had the opportunity to handle over the past 50 years.  This story concerns uncirculated 1921 Peace Dollars existing elsewhere along the spectrum of possibility.

In 1966 I’m setting up at a coin show in Palo Alto, California, home of Stanford University.   My table is located next to Harry Forman, the venerable dealer from Philadelphia, PA.  Harry is a real mover and shaker in the coin business.

Harry unpacks a roll of Dollars and a velvet pad, gently fanning the coins out onto the pad’s soft surface.  The effect was virtually blinding!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Not Your Average 1921 Peace Dollar

It’s 1965, I’m 25 years old, and have been in the coin business for two years.  I’m in partnership with Dick Martin in San Diego, CA, running the retail end of our business.

A good customer comes into the shop, seeking a special 1921 Peace Dollar. 

A lovely 1921 Peace Dollar recently in stock.  The coin needed was about 25% 
better than this example.

“I want one fully struck with no marks and full luster.  I want a gem.  I know it’s really a rare coin that way.  I’m willing to pay for it.  Do you think you can find me this special coin?”