A Day at the Coin Shop - At the Toss of a Coin

January 30, 2010

In between working, looking after a young family and keeping my life going in some sort of order I don't actually get the chance to visit an actual bricks and mortar coin shop too often these days. Luckily childcare, the new school year and a flexible work schedule all came together yesterday and I managed to get half a day to indulge myself in my hobby. I headed south of Adelaide onto Unley Road to "At the Toss of a Coin" which is owned and run by Gerry McGinley. Gerry's shop sells a little bit of everything but his two main lines are coins and sporting memorabilia with a focus on South Australian football in particular. The shop is long and narrow, perhaps 4 meters wide and 15 or so meters deep and the way the stock is organised is clearly a reflection of Gerry's personality, it is neat, clean, well labelled and simple to browse through. The shop is clean (Gerry was mopping when I was there yesterday!) and well lit and every time I have been there it has been a pleasant experience.

Gerry himself is very friendly and knowledgeable about Australian pre decimal coinage and world coins (with a great focus on South Africa and other coins of the old British Empire). It is clear though that his real passion is the sporting side of his business and I'd dare to say that his store has more South Australian focussed sports memorabilia than any other shop in the world! Anyway, back to the coins, as I mentioned the coins are all well organised either into the cabinets lining one wall or into folders that Gerry is happy to let customers look through. Coins are stored correctly in neatly labelled 2x2 coin holders with accurate grades, any faults noted, and usually a price clearly displayed. When you've seen some of Gerry's clearly labelled coin holders you'll start seeing them all over Australia, obviously other coin dealers can appreciate how well he grades and cares for his stock as they don't bother re-holdering coins that have passed through his hands at some time in the past! A quick note on Gerry's grading, I feel that he is a very consistent grader and if anything a little conservative and he will clearly note any faults that a coin may possess such as a cleaning or damage. Because of the conservative and consistency of his grading I've found that the right coins purchased from him and then sent onto PCGS for third party grading and encapsulation tend to do very well.

Like so many things in life collecting and purchasing coins is all about relationships with other people, and visiting a coin store and dealing with the owner or staff is no different. It will be well worth your time to be friendly with your local coin dealer, to let him or her know your interests, and of course to purchase from them (try not to use up all their time and never buy anything). Once your dealer knows you are a serious collector and has an idea of your collecting interests and budget they will make your visit to their store an altogether more enjoyable experience. Gerry clearly has a core of very loyal customers who visit 'At the Toss of a Coin', he seems to know almost everyone who enters his shop by name and by collecting interest and if he has anything new of interest for them. And those that he doesn't know personally he quickly and cheerfully determines their area of collecting and points them in the right direction. Certainly he kept me occupied for nearly 4 hours yesterday showing me coins in boxes, folders, and coins he pulled from out the back of the shop. He knows what I am interested in and I was shown a progression of interesting pre-decimal errors, high grade pennies and some lovely threepences and sixpences. He managed to do all of this while occupying all the other visitors to his shop, answer the phone and mop the floor! A true professional.

I know this kind of sounds like a paid advertisement but it isn't, I like Gerry and I like his shop very much, it's consistently the best coin shop experience I've had since I've been collecting. Gerry helps to make this so, he's a fun guy to be around and just knows a lot about coins and grading and is full of funny coin oriented stories. At the Toss of a Coin can be found at Shop 2/219 Unley Road in Malvern and if you're in Adelaide and collect coins you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not popping in for a look around. A couple of warnings though, firstly Gerry and electronic devices don't appear to get along, he doesn't accept credit cards and EFTPOS isn't available so come armed with cash. If you forget theres a NAB ATM just across the road. Secondly Gerry doesn't stock much, if any RAM product, so don't head in there expecting to buy mint sets or proof sets, he just doesn't have it.

Posted by mnemtsas at January 30, 2010 11:22 AM
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Bookmark and Share