This month we'll give you a little insight into the behind the scenes at Southgate Coins. Here we have just a few of the activities we're working on to "Keep The Lights On". One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with Rusty. Oh ,Oh, There he goes again....
Keeping the Lights On
By Marie Goe
The other day one of the girls came to me with a question from a customer. He was asking her how we were able to "keep the lights on in a store like this." I came out to find out what his "real" question was and after a short interview I got it. He planned on retiring and thought it might be nice to have a part time career/hobby in coins. He was overwhelmed by the inventory in our store, noting that there were some of the finest coins he had ever seen in our cases and an array of coins for hobbyist too.
He mentioned again how impressive our store was and then his how-to questions began. How could we afford the rent? Did we sell on eBay (always the fledgling collector/wannabe coin dealer’s first hope)? How and who did we sell to, as he was sure that the customers that just came in couldn’t support a store this size, especially with all our employees? I knew he was trying to figure a plan of strategy of how to survive and make a living selling coins. Unfortunately, things don’t work the same way they would if you opened a retail business that sold certain items; you stock your store and sell merchandise. After we spoke for a bit our customer realized there was much more to our store than meets the eye. He chuckled at himself when he thought that running our store could be done on a part time basis as we told him just a portion of the different facets of the business.
The hidden factor in our business, that no one realizes from the outside, is that Rusty is our main product. What a surprise you say, since you call yourselves a coin store; but it is true. We rely on him for everything that goes on in the store, behind the scenes and out front; also things that are not always obvious. Rusty is always creating, inventing or writing something that we have the privilege of assisting him with.
You probably figure that being a numismatist for over 25 years qualifies Rusty to purchase, process and grade all the coins we stock, but that is just part of what he does. Many of you know that he builds some of the finest collections known, which sometimes it can take years to find just the right coins. These activities create plenty of work for our staff, as you may have read about in the last Snippets. Organizing, taking inventory and stocking shelves are daily rituals. Add to that, preparing for and attending coins shows, photographing coins and writing coin descriptions, all are ongoing projects. We are often preparing ads for the local and trade publications (keep your eyes open for a special one coming out for C4OA in Coin World, Numismatic News and ANA Numismatist).
Coming up in August are some events that are above and beyond our daily activities: On Wednesday, August 9th, at 7:00 p.m., Rusty will be giving a lecture at the Carson City Library on "The Most Frightening Experience in the Life of James Crawford, Superintendent of the Carson City Mint." We must get photographs enlarged, display maps prepared and he will even have a rare Winchester 73 rifle to showcase in his Carson City Historical Society lecture. It’s a sneak preview of his biography of James Crawford due out in January 2007.
Ongoing work on the book has Kelsey daily transcribing the golden handwritten pages, as we prepare for the months of work where we bring the rough draft, pictures and bibliography all together and transform them into the completed book. That is an exhilarating experience; to see the lined, yellow pages magically become boxes of beautiful new books with the fresh smell of ink. We long for that moment to arrive.
We also have the fall issue of Curry’s Chronicle that is getting organized. Rusty is editing articles and we are typing changes and preparing the images. We are treading new territory this quarter, as we purchased InDesign software to defray the cost to the club by doing the graphic layout work ourselves. We realize that we are taking on one more project that adds to our already busy schedule, but we feel C4OA is a way to really contribute to the wonderful hobby of coin collecting.
We also have to prepare all the things that are necessary for Rusty’s trip to the Denver ANA. He will be hosting the 2nd Annual Carson City Coin Collectors of America meeting on August 17th at 1:00 p.m. This has taken much preparation as we reserved the meeting room last January. Right now we are going over lists to make sure that when we send Rusty to Denver, he has everything he needs. Heather just prepared his sign in sheets for the members attending this meeting, one of many of the important details for this trip.
I am not even going to start listing the preparations we are making for the upcoming Carson City Coin Show at the end of August, because I will be reporting on that in a few weeks. But as you can see, we have our work cut out for us and I don’t believe we are in any danger of having the lights turned off any time soon. One thing is for sure though, this would not be the best suited schedule for someone hoping for semi-retirement. Our main goal is keeping up with Rusty and his most current brainstorm. This month happens to be the unveiling of our newest website feature "The Weblog." It can be found on the navigation bar on the left hand side of the home page. We plan on keeping you posted with any news flashes, announcements and interesting articles on this page. Give it a look.
Rusty also created a Blog for the C4OA members. If you scroll down to the bottom of our Home Page you will see the Carson City Coin Collectors of America. Click on that and it will take you to a blog for C4OA where we plan to keep members updated with news and reports and who knows what else.
All you friends and visitors feel free to check out our website’s new features. You won't find us sitting in the dark or sitting on our hands. We will just be trying to keep up with Rusty, who is constantly on the move. He has moved so quickly, it seems as if it involved some time travel. One day he was writing about Crawford in the 1880’s, he was closed in his office for the whole afternoon. When he finally came out, we realized he'd come back as an old timer from Carson City. We took a picture of him, so NOW will you believe us!!
Till next month,