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

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Businessman and His Buffalos

Let’s stay with the theme of Buffalo Nickels for the moment . . . .

One of the greatest individuals I’ve had the opportunity to work with was Bob B. 

I met Bob in my Portland coin shop in the early 1980s.  He was a true gentleman, extremely pleasant to do business with.  Bob had a sharply honed mind and we enjoyed many deep conversations about economics, business and the coin market.  He loved coins!

Bob was born in Oakland, California, in the 1920s.  His father was an engineer for Standard Oil of California.  Bob and his brother both had paper routes and began developing their business acumen when they were 8 to 10 years old.

Old Whitman Board
Whitman board popular in
1930s and 1940s

While his brother preferred stamps, Bob loved collecting coins, especially Buffalo Nickels.  He collected his first nickels from change – easy to accomplish, since Buffalo Nickels were still in circulation.  Bob collected a variety of U.S. coin series, including Indian and Lincoln Cents and others. Some of his paper route proceeds were spent building early collections.

Bob and his extended family ultimately migrated to Oregon.  He and his brother built and operated a large business in support of the interstate trucking industry. The family owned and managed substantial real estate holdings.

In the late 1940s, after serving in the Navy during World War II, Bob returned to coin collecting.  He was neither satisfied with the overall quality of coins he had pulled from circulation nor the empty holes which should contain key dates, so he began slowly upgrading and acquiring pieces from local coin shops and national auctions.

Modern Whitman album
Ultimately Bob completed five full sets of Buffalo Nickels, all containing nice quality, no problem coins.  When I first met Bob, he brought in one nice set of Buffalos for me to purchase; these coins graded VG – VF. 

Turns out the first set he shared was the least of his sets.  Over the next couple of decades, I bought three more sets of Buffalos from Bob.  These were F to XF, VF to AU and XF to AU.

I certified Bob’s finest Buffalo set and sold it intact almost 20 years ago; the set brought about $100,000. 

Bob did really well over his lifetime of coin collecting. He had loads of enjoyment from the hunt for perfect specimens and completed sets; price appreciation of his collections over his lifetime provided a significant contribution to his family’s already substantial wealth.

Coming up next:  Bob B’s most beautiful and valuable coin set – a rare and difficult series.

No comments:

Post a Comment