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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Saved In Omaha

Surely your town has seen “road buyers.”  You know -- those folks who set up shop in a hotel, place large advertisements in the local paper and offer to buy just about anything precious.  Road buyers have ranged across the country for many years, and for a time, I was one of them.

1934 Silver Certificate
In 1967, my first coin shop was history and I headed out on the road.  It was the final year when the public could redeem silver certificates for silver value.   (Redemption for silver value ceased June 24, 1968.)  

On this particular trip, I planned to travel to Wyoming, move on to Omaha, Nebraska, and end up in Muncie, Indiana to sell my purchases at a major coin show.  I would run buying ads in the local newspapers to coincide with my stops, offering to buy coins and redeem silver certificates. 

My route through Wyoming began with Casper and ended with a stop in Cheyenne, the state capital.  I don’t expect much action in Casper and that’s a good thing, because absolutely no one shows up in response to my ad.  Zero, zilch, nada. 

Surely there will be action in Cheyenne, so I head off to set up in a new location.  Two days later – still nothing.  What happened?  Are there no coins in Wyoming?  I expected to be offered lots of silver dollars.

I was about to pack up when a woman appeared. 

“May I help you?”

“I have just one silver dollar to sell you, but it’s a good one, and I need some money.”  She takes a very nice 1889-CC Morgan Dollar out of her bag.  “I’d like to get $500,” she adds.

I’m happy to pay $500 for her coin, hoping to sell the coin for $800.  The $300 profit will just barely pay my trip and advertising expenses for Wyoming.

I head off to Omaha.  I set up at the hotel, the ad breaks and I am immediately swamped with hordes of people coming to sell.  The silver price had risen and people came pouring through the door with silver certificates, for which I was paying $1.50 each.

Within one hour I am totally out of money.  What to do now???

I think of Leon Hendrickson in Indiana, whom I’ve met just once.  Having no better ideas to handle the line of people at the door, I give him a call and tell my story.

Leon Hendrickson
SilverTowne LP
Within seconds, Leon offers to wire $10,000 via Western Union.  I’m floored at his generosity and, within two hours, back in business.  I buy loads of silver certificates, plenty of silver dollars and other coins.

Omaha is a great place!  I have an amazing steak at the Stockyards Inn, and end the day a happy guy.

Next day I depart for the show in Muncie, Indiana where  Leon pays $1.75 each for silver certificates.  I settle up with Leon and thank him profusely for what he did to help me.

The man barely knew me, yet wired me $10,000.  I was a fan of Leon Hendrickson from that day on.

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