Over 200 Years of Combined Numismatic Experience at Your Disposal.
|October 2015 Issue|
By Warren Mills
It was the best of times that led to the worst of times. The major coin boom of 1979 and 1980 was a tremendous time to be in the business. Coins were appreciating dramatically and bullion was adding fuel to the fire. Three Cent Nickels in Proof-65 went from $300+ to $3,500. It was a time of plenty.
Then came the crash. Unfortunately, 35 years have passed, so I don’t exactly recall the time and dates. I believe it was April of 1980. I just remember it was a major coin show and, all of a sudden, trading virtually stopped. It was as if someone had thrown a switch. If people were trading, it was at 20% to 25% lower levels, and this all occurred within a matter of minutes. The owner of the company for which I worked looked like a cast member of “The Walking Dead”. You have a 7-figure inventory and the market is sliding dramatically. In a matter of days, your value is cut in half and your liquidity is still compromised.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, so the management team thought it would be better to hire experienced salesmen and eliminate true numismatists that knew grading and had a conscience. The problem with this strategy is that commission-driven salesmen will sell the product, but they have no true loyalty to the customer or industry. Sure, you can optimistically grade all your coins, but your reputation will be gashed on two fronts: poor quality and the potential for misrepresentation of false guarantees by the salesmen… a double whack for the customer.
I read the writing on the wall in 1981 and moved on to greener pastures. From here, Mills Numismatics was launched. Next time, I’ll bring you to the crossroad of deciding to stay in the coin industry or to go into another field.