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Monday, January 30th, 2006

Coin collecting! That is the topic for this week, collecting...

When purchasing coins there are basically two avenues to approach you can take, buying to invest or buying for the hobby (actually, either way you are investing which I will explain by the end of this story). I started my journey into the Numismatic world when I was around 12 years old as a kid who found something to collect that really fascinated me, my father gave me a little treasure chest with circulated Morgan dollars, Buffalo nickels, Franklin half dollars, Kennedy Half dollars, Indian head cents, and Wheat pennies. My friends at the time were collecting either comic books or sports cards and I fell in love with coins because I thought of them as treasures and history, and also the fact that they were something different then the ordinary to collect as a kid. I didn’t even have a clue about the industry, making money or the investment side of these tiny little pieces of history, I just loved the fact of what each date read and would think what it must have been like back in those days.

If I were to know then that I would be buying and selling coins for a living when I was an adult I would have never believed it or understood how this could be possible. So I guess because I truly loved coins before I knew how to make money really helped me excel in this industry and kept me true without thinking of ways to make money the fast way by lying to people who trusted me like a lot of people do in any profession unfortunately.

My father started to assemble common date Morgan’s, Franklin’s and other fairly low priced certified coins and would take me to our area’s coin show in Rochester, NY, the RNA. They were small shows but at the time huge to me, I would sit there all day listening to my father talk with people for hours about the wonder of coins and at the end of the day we usually sold only a couple $50 - $100 coins but to us we didn’t care if we sold anything, my father was doing it part time just for fun and I was just a kid being introduced to a whole new world. I would walk the aisles and glare into the cases and it was then that I really discovered the type of coins that grabbed my attention. It was the Seated Liberty designs, Saint Gaudens Double Eagles, Bust halves, and Mercury dimes. My father explained how I was attracted to early type coins and 20th century dimes that were in circulation before the present Roosevelt. He would ask friends to let me hold and look at coins under the lamps with a loop at the table while he was talking to people, so I would do this all day while my other friends were at home on the weekend sleeping in or playing football.

Years went on and by my senior year in high school the internet was brand new and my father did the very first internet coin auction on Teletrade. Time went on and he discovered coins that I truly loved and he also was bringing more money then he had ever seen in his life. He was also still selling modern coins too because of the demand and doing this part time it was a fun way for him to make extra cash to pay the bills.

Well, I moved away from home and years went on, I became married and had my first child and my fathers coin business had gotten so extreme that he needed someone to help him that really loved and could "see coins", so he asked me if I wanted to help him full time seeing as he retired early and dedicated his time fully to his true passion. I didn’t hesitate even though nothing was guaranteed and I had a new young family of my own with a lot of responsibility, I just believed if I had a chance to do something I loved for a living then I would be a fool not to try it. So I quit my job at the local bank and delved into the coin business, my father and I clicked instantly from the beginning having a perfect chemistry and the advantage of my older brother Darrin having come up with the idea of using the Internet to sell coins. Darrin showed me all I needed to know, setting up auctions on excel and typing my dad’s descriptions among a few other odds and ends. My brother didn’t have the love for coins that I did, he was helping my father part time because dad needed the help desperately. So when I came aboard he was confident enough to stop helping because he knew I loved coins and dad wouldn’t be without help.

Well a few months went by and my Dad took me to my first ANA show in Chicago 1999. I was blown away by the size and attendance! We walked for a few days around the floor and when we came home I said, “We have to set up at these shows to get to know people and get our name out there.” He wasn’t too hip on traveling but he did for a year and then he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and decided to stay home for a while which actually was perfect for him to stay busy on the phones talking to clients. So I went out and began my journey’s setting up at every major coin show by myself not knowing anyone or anything it seemed. I took my time and met some good people; I eventually made some friends for life who took the time to give me some of the best advice in my life. I also had people take advantage of me being I was so young, alone and susceptible to being taken advantage of, But that is the only way to learn so I never held grudges; I just looked at everyone as teachers in a world that no college could ever teach you for all the money in the world, I was loving it!

To make a much longer story short, years went by and I read as many books as I could and asked as many questions as I could come up with and I made our webpage with my best friend who ended up being my brother in law as well. I found a niche to find coins that I personally loved and put them on my webpage along with advertising them in Coin World’s publication. So our client list grew and grew because we stayed true to only be associated with coins that we loved. There is so much more but I’ll have to just save it for a book.

The point to all of this is if you really concentrate on coins that you are truly blown away with, the treasures that captivate your attention and make you want to study about them to learn all you can, these are the coins that will turn your hobby into a definite investment. When I sold my first certified coin for $65 I would have never guessed 7 years later I would have sold a coin for over $2 million dollars and a few others for over $1 million. I believe things like this happen because of staying honest, true, and keeping it fun without getting caught up in the rat race thinking of money first and your love second.

Have a great week and I sincerely "Thank You" for reading this weeks write up!
Very Best,
Dean Albanese