The owner of a large buy-and-sell coin operation based in the state capital wants to set the gold standard of professionalism with his new store in Minden.
Allen Rowe, the 42-year-old owner of Northern Nevada Coin, said he's been collecting coins since he was a kid.
"In college, I couldn't afford collecting anymore, so I started selling," he said. "Before I knew it, I was buying and selling my way through college."
What began as a passion turned into a career. In April, Rowe opened his newest store in Minden inside the Boule Building next to Saletti's.
"The main reason to come down her was to provide convenience for our customers," he said. "When gas prices hit $4 or $5 a gallon, driving became more important."
The Minden store is not Rowe's first expansion.
A Sparks native (now a Carson City resident), he started the business in Reno in 1993 by buying out his partner at the time. He moved to Carson City in 1998, and, a decade later, was able to relocate next to the capital's historic mint, now the Nevada State Museum.
"Within that location next to the Carson City Mint, I ended up with what I think is the best spot for a coin shop in the country," he said.
With approximately 25 employees, Rowe said his operation is one of the largest in the country.
"When I started, I was doing the wholesale side of the business - buying up coins from other dealers regionally and placing them nationally," he said. "When I came to Carson City, I added the retail side. Our business is one of the largest coin businesses in the country due to the fact that we do both wholesale and retail. We help supply a number of programs and companies you see on TV."
In August 2011, Northern Nevada Coin opened a store in Reno. This spring, they made the move to Minden, counting "good local ties" among contributing factors.
"We were looking at expanding into numerous markets, and this was the more natural location," Rowe said. "We have six people in Douglas County who work for us."
He said business has met expectations.
"It's increasing as people figure out we're here," he said. "We still have a number of people from Minden and Gardnerville going to Carson City. Some just like the store, others don't know we're here. But so far, the numbers are what we expected."
When Rowe discusses coin valuation, his voice heightens with relish.
"First of all, you're looking to make sure it's not counterfeit, if there are any minor subtleties in variation to the real coin," he said. "Secondly, you're looking at what condition it's in. Being able to look at a coin and assess its originality and its state of preservation makes a big difference."
Age doesn't necessarily make a coin more valuable, Rowe said. Rather, collector demand drives value.
"If you have 1 million coins and 2 million collectors, the value is going to go up," he said. "Ultimately, it's supply and demand."
Northern Nevada Coin is also a dealer of gold and silver. Rowe said high gold prices have made scrapping jewelry into a modern-day gold rush.
Rowe believes gold will remain the world's premier currency in the future, especially if fiat currencies continue to be weighed down by massive debt loads.
"We price gold in dollars, but as long as the government continues to spend and print money, the dollar will slide," he said. "Gold has world-wide value. Travel anywhere with gold, and someone will want to buy it. Travel with dollars, and they may not want to."
• In related news, Todd Kynett, formerly of Incline Village, has opened The Silver & Gold Shop next to Scolari's in Gardnerville.
Kynett cited 28 years of business experience in a press release.
"We're always buying diamonds, jewelry, silverware sets, and coin collections," he said.
Located at 1329 Highway 395, Suite 11, The Silver & Gold Shop is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
For more information, contact (800) 845-6360.