Blind Coin Collector

It's another kind of fun to collect coins if you can't see them.

Coin dealers and blind collectors – a tribute to Dean

| Filed under Blindness

When a blind person walks into your coin shop, you can be sure: it will be a good amount of time spent, and little money made. But keep reading, there is more you get out of it. You get a loyal client, and you can be the one who makes a difference. In this post I will talk about what it means for the coin dealer to work with a blind person, and also show you an example through a great coin shop owner, Dean, who just passed away this year.

When I go to a coin shop, I would like to touch. Maybe I just made you scared. Ok, not everything. Just whatever you let me. I know that there are valuable coins, probably some that if I touch you just lost thousands of Dollars. And of course, you don’t have those out on the counter. And if I need to touch something to appreciate it, I should be fair enough to ask for your permission, even if it is in a holder. But consequently, there are only a few things I will be able to feel without making you uncomfortable or make your loss for the week. And that’s ok, I know that’s how it is, and I respect that. But another consequence, this is why I don’t buy expensive coins, unless for an investment. It doesn’t make a difference for me, what differentiates a $1000 and a $5000 Morgan Dollar cannot be felt. Maybe the difference between a $40 or a $500 Morgan. So, for me, there is no point adding very nice coins to my collection.
If I would like to understand the difference between an MS60 and MS65 coin, I will probably ask you to demonstrate it with a recent quarter that I can buy from you.

So, when I’m in the coin store, I will touch the things which can be felt without making it lose value. Probably your loose change bucket. The coins which sell for $0.25, $1, maybe $3 a piece. I may ask you if I can touch a more expensive one, but in this case it is business, and chances are I will buy it from you.

I will be another person in your line, another person to spend time with. I may ask you obvious questions about a coin taken from your loose change bucket that others would be able to answer just by looking at the coin. There are many coin dealers who find it frustrating. And I understand, there are better things to do when you are working the floor. But the ones that take the time, are able to do much more than just reading what’s on a dirty coin that came from somebody’s pocket change. They are able to explain things I didn’t know before, they can increase my understanding of coins, cultures and history. I may not drop the big bucks in your store that day. But if anybody asks me if I know a good store or a good coin dealer, I will have your business card.

A couple of years ago, when I joined our local coin club, I met a gentleman, Dean, who was a coin shop owner. He was just a nice guy, cheerful, funny, extremely knowledgeable about coins, and very helpful. Several times I called him in his store to ask questions. He spent hours on the phone with me. I often told him he doesn’t have to feel obliged to talk with me if he has better things to do. Once I had a chance to visit his store where, among many things I picked up coins from two new countries. He told me about all kinds of coins, handed me many which he knew I was not going to buy, and was helpful explaining anything I randomly picked out from the loose coin bucket. At the end I think I spent about $3 on those loose coins.

Last month I got an email that Dean died unexpectedly. I was hoping to visit his store many more times, and recommend his services to all the collectors I know. I am sad he is not able to read this post. I have learned a lot from you Dean, mostly about coins and about working with people.

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