Coin Store Offers History Lessons With Collectibles

Coin Store Offers History Lessons with Collectibles

Alison Bath

Special to The Reno Gazette-Journal

June 2002

Southgate Coins employee Rebecca offers customers coin value advice

Walk into Southgate Coins and soon you’ll be aware you haven’t stepped into an ordinary coin shop. Gone are the dusty shelves, tattered flooring, and dim lighting normally associated with similar businesses. Instead, customers are treated to a clean, well-lighted shop, outfitted with beautiful hardwood floors, sparkling glass cases and handsome wood cabinets. “I’ve been in the business for 21 years and developed in my mind what a good model would be for a coin store,” said owner Rusty Goe, who previously owned a similar business in Las Vegas. “I wanted our new store to be special for the people (of northern Nevada). We wanted to give them our best shot.” To that end, customers who visit the South Virginia Street shop can count on a well trained, knowledgeable staff anxious to answer questions and impart a little bit of the history that goes with each piece of merchandise. (In photo above, Rebekah Lacey (right) of Southgate Coins appraises some coins.)

Marie counting Silver Eagles from a “monster” box.

Marie counting Silver Eagles from a “monster” box.

The South Virginia Street store sells a variety of rare American made coins — the oldest minted in 1793 — and paper money, books, specialized gift sets and other accessories. Other services include appraisals, purchasing private collections and filling special orders. Merchandise prices range from 50-cents for less valuable items to several thousands of dollars for exceedingly rare acquisitions. It’s the kind of store where a veteran collector can pick up a 1916 Standing Liberty quarter or a 1909-S VDB Lincoln penny, and an inexperienced young hobbyist can look for the latest offering in statehood coins or an Indian head penny — each feeling equally comfortable and at home. “I was a beginner one time and I know what it feels like to not really know what you are doing and just be getting started,” said Goe of his customer service philosophy. “I would have appreciated this kind of concept so I didn’t feel intimidated and was able to ask my questions.” Goe said the shop is also devoted to stocking a wide selection of coins — from dimes to $20 gold pieces — manufactured at the historic Carson Mint. “Carson City (mint) is the most popular (United States mint) in the whole world,” said Goe, who bought his first coin in 1964. “Being a coin collector who loves Carson City coins, and being here in Reno — it’s like a kid being right next to Santa’s workshop.” Open just nine months, Southgate Coins has already gained a loyal following of local and out-of-state customers. Goe said he is looking forward to growing the business and providing a valuable service to the community. “As we grow, we hope we will develop great relationships with some of the many collectors in the area,” he said. “It will be interesting to look back … in three years and see what we’ve accomplished.”