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Coin show prestige high among collectors

F.T. Norton

Vendors at this year’s coin show at the Nevada State Museum couldn’t say enough good things about the event.

“This is the one weekend that I walk away from everything. I have to be here. There’s something about being in this little town and the people here. It’s really special to come to Carson City,” said Susan Trask who, with her husband Frank, made the day-and a-half drive from their home in Lake Arrowhead, Calif., for the two-day show. The Trasks have been attending the show since its incarnation seven years ago.

“Our show has turned out the be the most prestigious coin show on the West Coast,” said a proud Greg Corbin, event organizer for the Nevada State Museum. Corbin said a mixture of the tie-in to the Carson City Mint and the restricted size of the show itself, has made it a must for serious dealers across the U.S.

From as far away as Florida, vendors came to peddle their wares and buy some new coins for their own personal collection.

“I had to borrow $3,500 from my wife, so I could buy some coins,” said Frank Trask, adding mischievously, “and the funny thing is, she isn’t going to get that money back because those coins are going into my collection.”

Corbin said the show has enough room for 40 vendors, but they only had 35 this year because some bought two tables.

“We have done extremely well this year,” he said. He estimated between four and five thousand people wandered through the rows of tables set up outside and inside the museum over the two day event.

“We had a nice balance of vendors versus shoppers this year.”

Richard and Gina Murachanian of Santa Clarita, Calif., had their table set up inside the museum. The Murachanians specialize in Carson City mint coins. He said the mints history makes the coinage created here rarer than any other mint.

“The folklore of the area helps these coins hold their value a lot better,” he said. Murachanian had two complete sets of Carson City dollars. He sold a 1870 Carson City seated dollar for about $1,000 early Saturday.

“I sold it to a Carson City collector. That is a very rare coin, only 11,758 were minted. They are very difficult to find,” he said.

Corbin is not a collector but over the years of organizing the show, he said he can’t help himself from indulging.

“I’ve managed to buy a little something from each show over the years.”

The size and popularity of the show makes it tough to get a table. Corbin said he has a waiting list for those hoping for no-shows at events.

“I did a little survey and, so far, we will have a 100-percent return for next year’s show.”

Vendors also helped price coins people brought in.

Trask said one man told him how he and his father would buy bags of dollar coins from the bank, go through them, pick out the good ones and sell the rest back to the bank so they would only pay $1 for the coins. He bought a coin from that man for $950.

“Pay a dollar for something and sell it for $950, now that’s pretty neat. But it’s pretty rare too, usually you pay a dollar for it and only get back 80 cents.”

Corbin said the museum makes money from selling tables and high gift shop sales.

And he offered a bit of advice for next years shoppers.

“Pull out those jars and boxes of money you have at home, bring them down to be appraised, you might be surprised at what you find.”

The 2002 show will be held the second weekend in September.