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

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Numismatic Gentleman

Dan Brown
(Photo courtesy of American
Numismatic Association
Today I remember one of the great old time dealers -- Dan Brown, of Denver, Colorado. He was a fine numismatist and gentleman. Dan started his career as a conductor on the electric railway in downtown Denver, saving good coins he encountered along the way.

In 1942 Dan opened a coin shop in downtown Denver, running it for many years with his able and trusted assistant. He served collectors in his store and by mail order, but a major portion of his business was wholesale to dealers.

I used to fly to Denver from San Diego to buy coins from Dan, needing inventory for both shop and coin shows.  Dan was a great guy -- he would always save out special coins to further my numismatic experience and education.  You never stop learning in the coin business!

Dan kept much of his inventory in stock books.  There were lots of good items in the books, including key coins, 1921 P or D halves, 1877 Indians, and so on.  The choicest rarities were stored in his vault, unveiled as needed.  Most of what I usually needed was found in Dan's stock books.  Wholesale was his marked price discounted 20%, period.

On one particular visit I found about 4 pages of really nice Standing Liberty Quarters, most of a set without the 1916 and 1918/17.  The coins were very reasonably priced.  I had plenty of customers who would appreciate these quarters, so the pages went into my pile for purchase.

As Dan adds up my purchases, he comes to the quarter pages last.  Soon a funny look appears, his face gets red and he stops adding."What's wrong?"  I ask.

"Seems these quarters are priced wrong," he explained.

"Whoa -- if the coins are priced wrong, let's regroup.  It is not my intent to take advantage of your error," I protest.

Dan put the coins aside and gave himself a moment to think. He finally decided, "I don't think that was your intent, so I'm going to sell them to you anyway."

I think, "What a gentleman, but he doesn't really need to do this."  We agreed to split the difference between the error price and what he meant to charge for the coins.

Dan and I did business frequently over the years.  I used to see him at coin shows and made it a point to stop and say hello.

Business ethics are, in part, a combination of, upbringing, education, and experience. Dan Brown always demonstrated professionalism and fairness in his dealings with me.  I have tried to remember Dan's example in my own business dealings with others.

Next:  a GEM Dan Brown experience. . . .

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