Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Al Kowsky, Mar 27, 2021.
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The few stores left in the Bay Area have huge signs saying they buy gold and silver. There is one in Albany (California) where they have to buzz you in at the door and everything is behind bulletproof glass. Hardly inviting. And they have no ancients, just gold US pieces, silver Morgan dollars and that kind of thing.
The one where I live just hounds the blue book and marks everything up from it. All raw coins. So might as well go online. The guys didn't know about RPMs or anything, they were just lame. Idk how the owner (who is great) kept them there.
Sad to see
John, I was a very lucky kid growing up, my mother worked as a bank teller & brought me rolls of coins to go through every week . You would be shocked at the coins I found including commemorative half dollars, Barber coinage, V nickels, Indian head pennies, two 1914-D pennies, & a complete set of Peace dollars except for the 1921. My twin brother Henry collected postage stamps so I had all the coins to myself, although he would occasionally steal coins from my collection & buy candy with them from the corner store . We used to fight so much my father bought us boxing gloves & we would duke it out on a regular basis in the basement . The good old days .
Your brother was very important to me when I was a kid and collected US coins from circulation. My mother would advance me the money (usually $50 - a lot in the 1950's) so I could buy a canvas bag of coins from a vending machine company in town. The coins were loose (not rolled). I would sort through these coins that recently bought a gumball or some such and replace the ones I wanted with ordinary coins. Then I would roll the coins in paper and take them to the bank (which required them to be rolled). I was convinced that some of my best finds were coins kids snuck out of dad's collection and spent on penny candy and nickel Cokes. Vending machine coins were better than the coins last used in some store that catered to adults because of the 'sticky-fingered kid' factor. I still have a couple Liberty seated dimes and coins just too nice to have been almost 50 years old and have been in circulation all that time. Thanks to kids with a sweet tooth, I got coins I wanted. Then, I discovered ancients and the thrill of bag searches went away. Today it bothers me that my young self was interested in coins only a few decades old. The average coin I collected is three times as old now as it was then. Ancients have barely aged at all in these last decades.
Dang. As a new collector this is sad. It's not the first time I've heard it either. I wonder why the animosity and hostility? Is it some "members only" prestige these places think they're holier than thou? I think I should visit some and see for myself.
That being said I would browse through the local antique dealer's foreign coin bucket and try to get some good deals. It was any four coins for $1. The coolest ones I found were a German pfenning made of aluminum during the 30's and a few USSR coins.
Great fun and it may have started a few new coin collectors.
Didn't hurt my sales either,
When I was a kid, my parents would constantly take me to gem shows. I would agree to go (though not like I had a choice) because they often had dealers with similar bowls. I'd spend the entire time sifting through the bowl. My greatest "prizes" were an 1835 British East India Co 1/4 Anna, an 1861 British penny, a 1797 US penny (extremely worn), and an 1852 Bank of Upper Canada penny. I believe none of these is worth much, but at the time I thought it was amazing I could own something so old (I knew nothing about ancients).
Coin Bowls RULE!
There have been changes - the "and Stamps" part of the company name has been dropped. They still deal in stamps, but it is a minuscule part of their business. For a while they were heavily into sports cards, when that particular bubble was expanding (I used to tease the owners about this). Now they sell a lot of jewelry - I suspect that is their biggest seller. But they still carry ancients, mostly really nice ones I cannot afford - they days of a bin of $25 sestertii are long over.
Anyway, here is my first purchase from them in 1987
Septimius Severus Denarius
L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP IIII, laureate head right / MARS PATER, Mars walking right, holding spear in right hand, trophy over left shoulder.
RIC 46; RSC 311; BMCRE 84.
(3.23 grams / 18 mm)
And here is something I bought from them in March 2021, just a couple weeks ago, my first siglos:
Persian Empire, Lydia Siglos
Darius II - Artaxerxes II
n.d. (c. 420 - 375 B.C.)
Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, dagger in right hand, bow in left hand, waist indicated / Oblong incuse.
Carradice Type IV (middle) B; SNG Kayhan 1033; SGCV II 4683
(5.54 grams / 12 mm)
Every once in a while he prices something inexplicably (to me) cheap. Here is a fairly respectable late-reign denarius of Commodus they sold me for $18 in 2017. This sort of deal doesn't come along very often, however:
L AEL AVREL COMM AVG P FEL, laureate head right / VOTA SOLV PRO SAL PR, Commodus standing left, sacrificing out of a patera over tripod altar, prostrate bull left
RIC 262; RSC 984; Sear 5725.
(2.60 grams / 17 mm)
The original owners are heading towards retirement and the new owner is primarily a jewelry person, so I have a feeling I am approaching an end of an era with them.
Then there was the dealer in Columbus, Ohio I bought a few ancients from. Nice guy, but the first time I visited (c. 1987) he made a point of producing a very large automatic pistol (I think it was a .45) and laying it on his safe behind the counter when I approached. I was going through a punk rock-New Wave phase back then and looked a bit of a fright. We got along fine after I bought some stuff. I can't remember the name of the shop, so I have no idea whether or not he's still around.
Here is an antoninianus of Elagabalus I bought from him in '87:
IMP ANTONINVS AVG, radiate draped and cuirassed bust right /PROVID DEORVM, Providentia standing left holding wand over globe and cornucopia, leaning on column with left elbow.
RIC 129; RSC 243; BMC 155.
(5.09 grams / 23 mm)
This is NOT my coin. This coin is from Heritage Auctions 3037 This coin looked a lot better than the one I saw at the Bon. It was covered with chop marks, but to me it was a treasure. At the time I was really interested in Spanish Colonial. This was an unrequited love as I could never find any.
This is a picture of that store. It does bring back fond memories
Here's a photo from HJB's website: https://www.hjbltd.com/#!/store/home
Just the way I remember it.
I'd like to visit his store while I'm still above ground .
While selling coins is his main business, you can also find a little bit of jewelry, some arrow heads, fossils, very nice pocket watches, and this time had a drum set!
Locally, this is the only shop I visit. The other coin shop isn't friendly at all, so it bothers me when I see the ad for it at the beginning of a thread here.
Also, the Albuquerque Coin Club has two shows a year in Albuquerque, usually with 100 tables. Most of the dealers represented there are great people to work with and learn from. There are always a handful of unfriendly types and they don't sell much.
Coin shops (if you can call them that!) in my new location in southwestern WA are lacking in decent inventory, so I'll have to go somewhere else to purchase coins in the area. Perhaps in Portland, OR.
Stack's Bowers still has a store in NYC; they've been around since the 1920s. They're known for their auctions, but also have a large retail inventory of ancients and everything else. It looks a bit intimidating, I admit, what with the uniformed guard right inside the door to ask why you're there. But if you say you just want to look at the display cases, that's OK.
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