The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 15, April 9, 2023, Article 11


Greg Bennick's latest interview for the Newman Numismatic Portal is with author, researcher and Numismatic Detective Ron Guth. Here's the first part, where Ron tells how he got started in the hobby. -Editor

  Ron Guth interviewed for NNP title card

Greg Bennick: Hi everybody, my name is Greg Bennick, I'm with the Newman Numismatic Portal, and I'm here today with Ron Guth of the Numismatic Detective Agency. You can find out more at Ron has been active in the coin hobby for fifty-five years as a collector, researcher, auctioneer, professional dealer. He's the author of a number of coin books, including Coin Collecting for Dummies, The 100 Greatest U.S. Coins, which he wrote with Jeff Garrett and also The Encyclopedia of United States Gold Coins, which he also worked on with Jeff. In 1999, he created Coin Facts, which is now PCGS Coin Facts. And in 2014, he was named American Numismatic Association Numismatist of the Year. Ron, did I miss anything important in that introduction?

Ron Guth Ron Guth: I guess the one that I'm most proud of is I was named one of the top ten most influential people when Coin World did their survey in 2021, so I was really proud of that one.

Greg Bennick: That's pretty fantastic. Do you know what they base that on, by any chance? Just out of curiosity, was it just overall breadth of knowledge and that sort of thing?

Ron Guth: I was talking to one of the representatives from Coin World yesterday because they have a new survey coming out this year. And I asked them what is the criteria for the people that get in there? And he said, basically you're voted on by your peers. So, I'm honored to have been selected for that. And I made it last year - the top 100 - they haven't had a top ten again. And I'm not sure that they will or whatever, but yeah, it's basically a vote by your peers.

Greg Bennick: Fantastic, very cool. Well congratulations. That's quite excellent. So tell me, let's talk about the through line of your career. Did you get started as a collector?

Ron Guth: Yeah, I started as a collector when I was a kid and my buddies I used to go fishing with all the time. One day they came over with a tackle box and I've told the story multiple times, but they opened up the tackle box and instead of lures and weights and hooks and sinkers and each of the compartments there were Indian head pennies, buffalo nickels, silver coins and I was just hooked. I mean that was it. And I said where did you get these coins? And they said we would go to the bank with a couple of dollars and just go through rolls of coins and pick out the good stuff and I started doing that. That's how I started my career and just kept gathering stuff up. And as a teenager, I would take the silver to a local coin shop and I mean I was making a really good amount of money for a teenager back when minimum wage was about a $1.50 or $1.60 an hour. So I was hooked at that point, and then I just became a collector. My career path at that time was a lab tech in a hospital, but I ended up getting hired by a coin dealer in Tampa, Florida, Bill Calderazzo at Florida Coin Exchange. And that was the start of my professional career. Started a coin shop in 1977, 1978, went through the gold and silver boom, moved to Indiana, opened up a shop there, and then moved sideways to Kentucky, where I worked with Jeff Garrett. We started Mid-American Rare Coin Auctions, did that until 1988, sold my interest in that, went back to school and then just became an independent coin dealer ever since. And then of course, you've already told the story about Coin Facts starting in ‘99 so I've been a little busy over the years.

Greg Bennick: Now these guys who showed up with the tackle box and they had coins in there, were they using the coins somehow as weights for fishing? Or did they just happen to have coins in the tackle box along with all their fishing tackle and what that was.

Ron Guth: Yeah, it was just a coincidence, they weren't drilling holes in the coins and using them as sinkers. They actually are coin collectors even still, and in fact, they were twins, Kim and Carl Bildt and I'm in touch with Carl all the time. And so I would say that he is my oldest friend in the coin industry, but they became coin collectors in their own right.

Greg Bennick: I love stories like this about how people's paths in life started by accident, per se. I mean, what if they had had anything, a candy in their fishing tackle box that day? Who knows where you would be today?

Ron Guth: I might have opened up a candy store instead of a coin store.

Greg Bennick: Well, it's funny, when I was in sixth grade, I actually make my living as a keynote speaker. I started out as a performer, started out as a juggler, a juggling street performer and whatnot. And I got my start because I'd signed up for a coin collecting mini course that I actually petitioned my school to add to a list of mini courses they were holding after school. And when I went to sign up for the coin collecting course that I'd found a coin dealer to teach, I'd paid the guy to come into my middle school in sixth grade to teach it, the school's secretary accidentally signed me up for a juggling course instead of a coin collecting course. I went to this juggling course, I'm like, this is stupid, I can't stand this. And I walked in and the second I saw somebody juggling, I said that's what I want to do for the rest of my life. And that led to juggling, which led to performing, led to speaking, led to my career now. And I ended up taking both the coin collecting and the juggling class. Point being, who knows where we're going to end up by the paths we take in life and the so-called mistakes that happened to us along the way. Pretty awesome about the fishing tackle box. I've not heard anyone with a similar story to yours. I think that's pretty cool.

Ron Guth: Well, I like your story as well. I mean there are all these forks in the road as we lead our life and you just never know where it will take you. We have all these rabbit holes that we go down. And fortunately for me, I've been able to make a career out of this hobby that most people can only enjoy. But it's been just a great experience and I've made so many good friends this way. And like I said, I still know the Bildt twins, and it's just wonderful after 55 years that we can still tell stories like that about the tackle box or the juggling or whatever the story. Everybody has a story.

Greg Bennick: Amazing. Now just out of curiosity, as a collector, what sort of things did you collect and really focus or hone in on? Were there any particular series or types of coins or anything that you enjoyed most?

Ron Guth: I think starting out, we all worked on a Lincoln had pennies because those were coins that you could actually find in circulation and take a set to about a 95% completion level. A friend of mine that used to go to the bank with me was able to ultimately find every penny that he needed; an 09 SVDB, a 1914 D and 1931S, so I was never so lucky. But that was the sort of thing that you could do as a kid back then. So we focused on Indian head pennies, Lincoln Pennies, Mercury dimes, Standing Liberty quarters, you know, these are all coins that you could have pulled out of circulation and put together a fairly meaningful collection. When I was about 18, my collection was stolen. And so at that point, I said I still want to collect coins, but I need to focus. You know, I had a mishmash of everything, more of an accumulation than a collection per se, but I said I started going through the Red Book and looking at all the different series and picking out something that would be doable, affordable for an 18 year old and still be a really fun thing to collect. And so I focused on half cents and I began collecting those by variety. I met Roger Cohen, who authored the book in 1971 and in 1981. I knew Jim McGuiggan really well. In fact, one of my earliest contacts with half cents was at something that they call a half stone happening where big collectors got together and they would compare their collections and this was amazing. And so I slept on Jim's floor when he was living up in Michigan. And again, great memories, great experiences, but the half cents became my primary focus.

GREG BENNICK - 2023 headshot About the Interviewer
Greg Bennick ( is a keynote speaker and long time coin collector with a focus on major mint error coins. Have ideas for other interviewees? Contact him anytime on the web or via instagram @minterrors.

To watch the complete video, see:
Ron Guth Interview (

To read the complete transcript, see:
RON GUTH Interviewed for the Newman Numismatic Portal (

Schmidt E-Sylum ad 2017-06-18

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:

To subscribe go to:



Copyright © 1998 - 2023 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster