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Good Coin Security by Len Augsburger

Originally published on March 20 2018

While Gerry takes a much needed break I have volunteered to fill-in as guest blogger. Today I would like to talk a bit about good coin security. It's something most people don't want to hear about - after all, you came here to find out about cool, new coins for sale, not protecting the ones you already have. But, in the interest of educating collectors, it's good to talk about all aspects of rare coin collecting, and security is certainly among them.

Rule Number 1

Coin theft is most likely to happen while coins are being transported. How many stories have we read about coin dealers being tailed after shows, or having their vehicle subject to smash and grab while they stop for a break? DON'T BE THAT GUY! I've watched how a major auction house does this - multiple drivers show up with a truck, and then drive non-stop from the point of origin to the auction house headquarters (I didn't ask if they were armed, and it's probably better if the bad guys don't know for sure).

When traveling to shows, it's understandable that you want to carry coins. You are buying, selling, exhibiting to your collector friends. If you elect to do this, please carry the coins on your person at all times. It won't prevent you from being mugged, but the criminals will be looking for easier targets first - like unattended coins in a vehicle or hotel room.

Rule Number 2

Store your coins in a safe deposit box. This is a pain, because most people like to "play" with their coins and study them. Or obsess about tiny marks and luster breaks and convince themselves all their coins should be graded one level higher. Trust me, leave them in the bank. Right up there with stories about coin dealers being nailed after shows you have stories about collections stolen in burglaries. Usually the media is highly misinformed about numismatics and gets all the details wrong. Ten ounces of gold bullion coins comes out as "a quarter million dollars of rare U.S. gold coins," etc. This does not change the fact that a substantial loss has occurred.

Rule Number 3

Consider insuring coins stored in a bank. I've never heard of a loss from a safety deposit box, but if you are so inclined you can get insurance through Hugh Wood (if you are an ANA member) which covers safety deposit box loss at a rate of $25 for every $10,000 of value. Not bad.

Rule Number 4

Separation of numismatics and the "real" world. As much as possible keep your numismatic activities and the "real" world separate. Casual acquaintances do not need to know about your numismatic activities. Don't post on Facebook you are traveling to a coin show, that pretty much screams "come and break into my house in the meantime."

Rule Number 5

Theft is inevitable. It's going to happen to somebody, somewhere, so there is no sense worrying about it too much. Take common sense precautions in order to push the odds in your favor, and have fun with your hobby. If you find yourself at a coin show talking for hours about guns, considering going to a gun show instead!