The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 27, Number 2, January 14, 2024, Article 10


Justin Hinh submitted this report on his recent coin shop scouting trip. Thanks! -Editor

I thought you and your readers would enjoy this story about the trip I took last month where I dropped by 23 coin shops across four states looking for rare Dansco albums and other coin-collecting supplies.

Four states, 1,500 miles, 23 coin shops, a disastrous hotel stay, and 10 days later...

  Hinh trip Dansco album haul
  Hinh trip map

  • 15% of shops were extremely welcoming. I was able to chat with the owners about my Dansco preservation project and they wanted to help out. They often suggested nearby shops to visit.
  • 25% of shops were generally friendly and welcoming, but I was seen more as a customer rather than a fellow collector.
  • 20% were outright hostile.
  • Hinh trip other albums and books The remaining 40% of shops were ambivalent.
  • Some shops were extremely hostile when I said I was looking for rare Dansco albums. One shop owner looked at the Danscos I was trying to purchase, took them out back to look up eBay sold listings, then refused to sell half and overcharged the other half.
  • The best shop owner experiences were the ones where I got to share my preservation project with the owner and we got to talk about the current state of Dansco and coin collecting. The best interactions were ones where shop owners were curious about my knowledge of Dansco products, rather than thinking I was just a reseller trying to make a quick buck.
  • For fun, I ran an experiment where some days I dressed in casual clothes, and other days I dressed up a little more. When I was in casual baggy clothes, I was given worse service and experienced more hostile owners. When I was better dressed up, I received significantly better service and respect.
  • As a young person of color, I always wonder if my age/race plays into how shop owners treat me. After this trip, my experience was that race and age did not impact me as much. But class and perceived social status played a significant part in how I was treated.
  • The smallest coin shops tend to have the most personable owners.
  • Regarding my disastrous hostel stay, let's just say that it wasn't fun waking up to hear teenagers trying to break into cars in a hotel parking lot in Albuquerque when you have a few thousand dollars worth of coin supplies in your car. Ended up checking out the hotel at 2 am and sleeping on the road.
  • Hinh trip stamp albums I saw all types of coin shops. From holes in the walls to boutique jewelry stores. It didn't matter how fancy or run down the coin shops were, the key thing was how the owner saw and treated customers.
  • The best shop experiences were ones where coin supplies and albums were not behind the counter. Where I could physically pull out albums and inspect them. And where price stickers were already on them.
  • Every shop had complaints about how hard it was to purchase and attain supplies from Dansco
  • Around 90% of shop owners & employees were men. 10% women.
  • Around 30% of shop owners & employees were under the age of 45. 70% were over 45.
  • Some shops have old coin supplies like Whitman albums in a free giveaway box!
  • Negotiating deals is both an art and critical for coin collectors. Almost every shop was willing to negotiate the final price. The best tactic I've found is to purchase multiple items and offer to pay in cash if you can get a lower total price.

  Hinh trip paper money

Overall this was a great experience. I got to meet many collectors and build out my collection. It was quite an experience seeing the range of coin shops around the southwest United States. Hopefully, I'll be able to do it again soon.

Thanks for sharing your experience! Great report. I assume others could report similar experiences - all over the map! -Editor

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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