Russ: Hi I’m Russ Capper and this is The BusinessMakers Show coming to you today from U.S. Coin and Jewelry and I’m very pleased to have as my guests Matt Duncan and Kenny Duncan Jr. Guys welcome to the BusinessMakers.
Matt: Thanks for having us
Russ: You bet. Tell us about U.S. Coin and Jewelry
Matt: U.S. Coin and Jewelry is a family owned establishment that trades precious metals, also currency but more specializes in rare coins. We do that by trading coins on an open market between dealers and we’re able to trade them in the store here with our own customers we’ve had in-house for around 30 years.
Russ: So this is the kind of place somebody could walk in with a cigar box full of coins and you would give them money and they would walk out, is that right?
Matt: Yes but more to a detail where they come in and these are treasures their families have had for 80 to 100 years and they’re trying to figure out what exactly they do have. Sometimes it is a pretty easy come in and we pay them their money and sometimes we have to see it all the way through to makes sure the customer gets taken care of.
Russ: Take us back to the beginning Kenny, tell us about the company. How old is it?
Kenny: The company was started in 1985.
Russ: By the family? By whom?
Kenny: Right, our father established it in 1985.
Russ: So it’s probably right to call this a family-owned business right?
Russ: Now I heard in preparing for this thing that this might be one of the largest privately owned coin exchanges in the United States, is that close? Is that right?
Matt: That’s one thing that people have said but we see it as more of a family establishment that we want to better it every day and we want to learn to not just make money and trade coins but also give our customer as much information as we can to help them become better coin collectors and enthusiast.
Russ: It sounds like a relationship strategy, is that right?
Matt: Exactly. It’s definitely more of a relationship strategy. We’re not just salesmen, we’re actually more friends with our customers and we try to relate to them on coins and any questions they have.
Russ: So for those that have never even been in an exchange before essentially what happens is that people come in here, you look at their coins, you give them a value, you buy it from them and you immediately put them for sale too, right?
Kenny: Well they have to be worked up. You can have one coin that’s the same date that looks to you that it might be in the same condition or it could be one point higher and be a difference of $20,000.00.
Kenny: So you’ve got to first break everything down in order, we’ve got a pretty good process on how we break stuff down, and sort through dates. That goes back to the education part that he was saying in that we try to educate the customer. When they bring something in we show them versus not giving them any education at all. Showing them how we’re finding it, where in the market does their coin sit; how we find that price, how we derive that from the market. And we’re pretty much an open book on how we do that.
Russ: Okay, but to a degree it’s still subjective right?
Kenny: Well the difference in what we do, we actually buy it to inventory it. So we’re not buying it on speculation and we’re not going to buy it at half its value because we don’t have a customer. We are a true exchange. You can bring something and know pretty much within a percent point or two of what we’re going to pay. It’s a pretty standard operation that we run.
Russ: So I’ve also learned since I’ve been in here this is retail exchange that takes place right down here on the ground floor, that’s mostly what we’re talking about. But you guys are in the wholesale business as well, right?
Kenny: Right. We try to corner almost every facet of the rare coin business, whether it’s wholesale or retail, we try our best to – like I said a little bit earlier, we could have one customer who is a retail customer, one customer might have a coin shop down the street and they’ll come bring their stuff to us.
Russ: So other coin shops might do business with you?
Kenny: We do a lot of dealer to dealer business. Again, we try to build the customer for the product that we have, so we have a little bit of everything and in order to have that you have to have an inventory. In order to have an inventory you have to buy the coins right.
Russ: That’s right, real cool. So I would assume like any other business when the economy goes up and down your sales go up and down as well or is it different than that?
Kenny: Not always. In a down market you could have a customer who’s trying to hedge against the bad market and buy gold. You could have just the opposite in the next guy that walks in the door. He could not like the market and but buying gold for another reason. You have a guy who could be coming in to sell a bunch of gold to get into the market. So customers wear a lot of different hats too and we have 8 revenue streams that we focus on here. So with each revenue stream they’re not all privy to market conditions.
Russ: It also seems like though so you’re buying and selling all the time, do you ever find that you’ve gotten out of kilter on that? Suddenly you’ve been selling everything and you’re running low on inventory or has that not happened?
Kenny: No, we’ve always got the inventory. It’s never the question, the inventory is always – we’re always going to have the inventory. It’s trying to find the right customer for the inventory, that’s the daily struggle.
Russ: I understand that. The name of the company is U.S. Coin and Jewelry. There’s some fine, fine jewelry here too, did that start way back in the beginning or was that an add-on later on?
Matt: That’s something that did start in the beginning, maybe on a smaller scale, but over time we’ve definitely taken it and have been able to sell a lot of jewelry. Not just jewelry, stones, Rolex – doing that we’ve actually built customers for just those things.
Kenny: We trade a substantial amount in U.S. for GIA certified stones. We have a lot of private customers, we do a lot of loose stone business that we don’t really put out there. The customers are very unique, don’t want to be known and whatnot, very anonymous type of individuals so it’s not something that we grossly advertise but we do have some really cool stuff.
Russ: You definitely have cool artwork in here too. Can anybody bring any piece of artwork in here and you’ll evaluate it?
Kenny: We’ve bought Picassos, we’ve bought numerous Rodriguez; we’ve bought a lot of cool art.
Russ: Really cool. You guys are young, you’re probably going to be doing this for a while, what would you like it to look like say 20 years from now?
Kenny: We’d definitely lime to see some more locations.
Russ: That’s interesting.
Kenny: But it’s actually something that we talked about 5 or 6 years ago and decided to work on home base and just tried to see what we could do in-house to make this thing more of a monster and we like home base.
Russ: That’s really cool. Well I appreciate it guys, Matthew, Kenny, thanks a lot. And that wraps up my discussion here at U.S. Coin and Jewelry and this is The BusinessMakers Show.
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