By Cathy Wharton
For Hometown News
For the past 40 years, Silver Coast Coins has been a fixture on the corner of East International Speedway Boulevard and South Peninsula Drive. There's a good reason why this precious metal business has such staying power: Inventory, pricing and integrity.
Owner Lance Wilson knows the business inside and out. Over the years, Mr. Wilson has bought and sold thousands of coins and paper currency, plus gold pieces, silver and jewelry. As an avid numismatist (coin expert), he is qualified and eager to answer questions that people may have concerning the value of old coins. He also has some sage advice for customers seeking to sell their collection: "Don't clean them first."
Indeed, those looking to sell their old coins often make the mistake of trying to clean or polish their collection before having it assessed. This is a big "no-no" according to Mr. Wilson. The coin has to be seen in its current condition to determine its real value. "Original condition is everything," he said. "It doesn't have to be an eye-appealing coin for it to have significant value. Just the way you found it" is what matters. A similar standard applies to bills: It's the condition of the note, not the face value that counts.
Numismatists have all the instruments and know-how they need to keep up with the market. But in today's market, prices change weekly. At Silver Coast Coins, the tool for determining the price of gold and silver, thus an item's value, is a computer customers can view that gives up-to-the-minute "spot prices" on various commodities. Keeping its finger on the pulse, Silver Coast is able to offer fair prices to its customers.
The store contains a number of enclosed glass-top counters and showcases that display an array of vintage coins and currency, as well as an extensive selection of medallions and jewelry suitable for collecting or gift giving.
Under one glass top is a line of greenbacks -- Federal Reserve Bank Notes (circa 1929) and Silver Certificates in various denominations. Also included are several two-dollar bills, issued between 1928 and 1953. Though two-dollar bills are collectible, they are still in circulation.
Another display case contains paper money larger in size than what is used today. Denominations range from $1 to $50; but one in particular, a $10 bill (1922), has as its face the first Treasurer of the United States. Another intriguing greenback is a 1939 $500 bill depicting the face of President William McKinley.
As a full service coin shop, Silver Coast has thousands of coins for sale, some of which are quite rare. They include a half-dollar Walking Liberty coin, 1880s; a 1795 post colonial half-penny; a 1791 Large Eagle penny; an 1864 two-cent piece; and an 1870 three-cent piece. The more commonly found collectible pieces include Indian Head/Buffalo nickels, Liberty dimes and quarters, and Kennedy half-dollars. There also is an ample stock of foreign currency at Silver Coast Coins.
One of the most sought after collector's coins is the Morgan silver dollar from the late 1800s. In the Numismatic Society, however, the "number one" collectible coin is the Nevada City silver dollar, minted in 1879.
Among the increasingly popular items at Silver Coast is gold bullion and silver bars, up to 100 ounces. Many people are buying into these commodities for investment purposes. In fact, bullion comprises the largest portion of Silver Coast's business. Purchases can range from one troy ounce to a kilo (31.2 ounces). In 1986, the U.S. government came out with the American Gold Eagle coin -- pure gold in different sizes: 1/10, 1/4, 1/2 ounce and one full ounce at a $50 face value. Other gold pieces available are the Maple Leaf (Canadian), also in 1/10, 1/4, 1/2 and one-ounce weights; the South African Kruggerand (same weights); and Swiss credit bars, one-ounce weight only.
Silver Coast also buys gold jewelry, from rings and watches to bracelets, charms and necklaces. But not all buyers are equal. "Do your homework first," Mr. Wilson advised. "Get at least two estimates before selling your jewelry. Shop it around." The same caution applies to coin collections. At Silver Coast, the determining value of the collection is decided at the time the customer is there. Each and every item is thoroughly examined before a price is set.
Silver Coast also carries albums and holders to keep coin and currency collections in top condition.
Silver Coast Coins is at 222 E. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach. Hours are 9:30 am. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday and Saturdays by appointment.