Two Kinds of Coin Shops

April 22, 2013

We've been taking a well earned rest from our family duties and travelled to Melbourne for a few days of fun. Fun for us usually means looking at coin shop or two that we don't normally get the chance to see so we hopped on a train and travelled to Nunawading for a suburban coin shop visit.

We'd done our research and checked the list of ANDA dealers and websites of nearby dealers and Southern Cross Coins looked like a great place to visit. We stumbled off the train and up the stairs and there it was in plain view, couldn't have been any easier to find. We wandered in and the owner Adam Lovegrove was very pleased to have a chat and show us his stock of coins. We introduced ourselves and chatted about what we liked so he could point us at the right items in his shop. He gave us his card and was also happy to suggest other dealers in the area we may like to visit. We paid for our goodies and headed right next door to an eclectic collectables shop that was worth the browse as I spied yet another decimal changeover glass to add to my ever growing collection of 1966 decimal changeover collectables.

It was a lovely autumn Melbourne day and we set off on foot to walk to yet another suburban Melbourne coin shop. What a big fancy shop filled with stamps and coins conveniently located within the shopping precinct. I spoke with staff who offered to help and I mentioned we were from interstate and it was suggested that we visit because of their vast offerings. I mentioned my interest in high grade pre-decimal Australian coins and he said we'd come to the right place and nothing on display would fulfil our needs. Ok great then, "show me the good stuff!" Then the question you get and you know it will never end pretty, "what EXACTLY are you after"? The answer to that is that I don't know because I have not yet seen what you have, I am not particularly after a 1910 florin or a 1946 shilling, I like to browse and if I see an outstanding coin then I'm in a position to buy it. This fell on deaf ears and when questioned we settled on viewing some high grade early Australian florins. Now high grade to me are the top gems, the very best of gem uncirculated with booming cartwheel lustre, spectacular feathers and clear fields which he suggested he had for sale. What I was offered was half a dozen unc-if-you're-drunk dipped rubbish coins which I'm sure had pencilled prices on the 2x2's straight out of the catalogue.

Time to try a different tactic, "well I like high grade pretty copper maybe with some colour, you often find 1964 pennies with beautiful rainbow tones". Again after a long boring wait I was offered a choice of 4 quite nice red 1964 pennies but still "meh". I was beginning to sense it was all a bit difficult and I knew that customers and sales were not really a big thing in this shop. While I was standing around like a mannequin in a window I mentioned to another of the sales staff that I'd like to browse a particular box of First Day Covers behind the counter. I was told he couldn't help me, I needed to wait for my own salesperson to help me. I yawned and continued to wait. Maybe I'd try again for something more specific, "have you got any error coins" I said. Hmm, he said and went out the back again and after more counter-leaning and yawning he returned with two pre-decimal crowns. Ok, not what I asked for and not particularly nice coins, I was still yet to see a nice high grade coin so we moved on.

He asked me about the $1/10c mule he had on display, I said no thank you, I already had 4, 3 of which were found for a dollar but that's another story. Did he think I was kidding? He said with a narky tone that I didn't want his then. I thought to myself no, but even if I did the price was certainly eye-wateringly high. It was all downhill from there as he mentioned sarcastically if I have interest in a scalloped 20c. My ears pricked up, here we go something I am VERY interested in. He went on to say, in a vindictive tone, too bad I sold it on Saturday. In complete disbelief at my treatment and his tone I turned my back and left the shop without looking back muttering under my breath "yeah sure you did".

It's hard to believe you could have such extreme experiences in the space of just a few hours and within just a few kilometres. I'll certainly be returning to Southern Cross Coins but I'll tell you now, I'm never ever going to that other particular coin shop again.

Posted by harrisk at April 22, 2013 12:41 PM
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