Wonderful Experience with a Young Collector at the ANA Show

During the second day of the Chicago/Rosemont ANA Show last week a young boy and his mother stopped to look at my coins. Both of them were highly enthusiastic and it was quickly apparent this was no normal 12 year old, when it came to coins. He’d done his homework and it was easy to recognize he “gets it.”
He and his mom asked all the right questions, and even more importantly, they listened and absorbed the answers. I did my best to tell them as much as possible what I thought they needed to know. Over the course of two days at the ANA Show we probably talked at least three to four hours.

They were very interested in my colorful proof Indian Pennies, although they had never purchased one before. The mom offered to fund the son if he could pick out one within her budget. I let him handle and inspect every proof cent in my showcases and my boxes. I observed how he properly handled a loupe, rotating each coin at different angles under the light to spot hairlines. He did an amazing job of picking a stack of great coins, although several were beyond mom’s budget. I had already made up my mind that I would sell at or as close to cost as necessary to enable them to afford a purchase. Finally they decided on a coin that my code said I paid $1,300 for and was asking $1,500. I priced it to them at $1,325 and they bought it.

After they left with their purchase, several dealers and collectors mentioned they noticed that I had spent an unusual amount of time with the pair, but I explained that I saw a young person who has the potential for a great future in this hobby, and I wanted to help nurture that. In truth, I recognized a lot of me, as a 12 year old, in him.

I have never forgotten how much time and knowledge a local coin shop owner invested in me between the ages of 11-16. I still to this day use knowledge that I learned from him. Later, as I started attending coin shows as an adult collector, there were a few older experienced dealers who gladly shared their time to answer my questions and share what they knew to help me. Most of them are gone now, so I can never repay them, but I can pay it forward to help others, just as they did for me.

On Friday afternoon the mother and son returned to my table. They wanted to show me something. They had taken the coin they purchased from me over to the grading service and resubmitted it for regrading. It had upgraded!

I faked indignance and proclaimed, “I’m supposed to be the best in the business on grading proof Indians, and I just got picked off by a twelve year old!!!

The boy’s grin spread from ear to ear.

There could not have been a better or happier ending for either of us!