Reno Gazette Features Coin Collecting

Southgate Coins and the Reno Coin Club assist hobbyists in their collecting pursuits.

Collectors Spread Out in New Club Space

Millionaire had 400,000 coins hidden behind home's false wall

 Reno Gazette Journal Southeast Reno Section

By Bob Tolle

The Reno Coin Club has a new place to meet each month. No longer will it meet at the Elk's Lodge on Kumle Lane in Reno. Now the group meets at the Air National Guard Club near the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

"Actually our new clubhouse is really nice, it has a bigger room," David Elliott said. "At our meetings we always have coins to see and it's the best place to learn about the (coin) market."

Elliott is one of the nearly 80 members that belong to the coin club and has a passion for collecting coins for fun and as an investment.

IRS Seized Silver Coins

The highlight of the January meeting will be a lecture about LaVere Redfield and a display of some of his notorious coins seized by the United States Internal Revenue Service.

"A lot of the older members of the club knew LaVere Redfield," Elliott said. "He was an eccentric millionaire who was quite the character and always fun."

The story of the "Redfield Hoard" developed after his death in 1974. Hidden behind a false wall in his basement were more than 400,000 silver dollars later sold at auction for $7.3 million.

Elliot represents a coin collector or numismatist that prefers to specialize in the ancient coins of Greece or the Roman Empire.

"I personally like the history mostly about the coins," Elliot said. "I collect ancient Greek and Roman coins, but I also have some coins from Russia."

Coin collecting is one of the most popular hobbies in the United States. Collectors often begin by saving coins they found interesting or while on a trip abroad.

"To the mainstream collector, U.S. coins are the most popular in the world," coin dealer Rusty Goe said. "Generally people get started by filling an empty (coin) album. Some go on to become absorbed in the history behind the coins."

Goe and his wife Marie are the owners of Southgate Coins and Collectibles at 5032 S. Virginia St. in Reno. They specialize in coins manufactured by the Carson City Mint.

Southgate Coins store owners, Rusty and Marie Goe

Rusty and Marie, owners of Southgate Coins

Rusty Goe is also the author of the book The Mint on Carson Street published in 2004, which tells the history of the United States Mint in Carson City that produced coins from 1870-1893.

'Great investment'

Some experienced collectors purchase rare coins as an investment. Prices fluctuate in cycles and can drop. Careful research is required to determine the condition, surviving populations and the long term demand for rare coins.

"Over the long term, hand-picked coins that are scarce have proven to be a great investment," Goe said.

In 2004, Goe sold an 1873 dime, with no arrow markings, that was minted in Carson City, for $1 million.

A display case full of coins, currency and more at Southgate Coins in Reno

Display case at Southgate Coins on Virginia Street