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Best secured coin shows of 2014

The Best Secured Coin Shows in 2014 have been announced by Col. Steven Ellsworth (retired) of the Butternut Company, Clifton, Va.

Ellsworth has been doing show security evaluations for 18 years. He is retired from the U.S. Army and is a coin dealer, an occupation that takes him to roughly 36 shows a year. He receives reports on other shows from coin dealers and collectors as well as law enforcement and the news media.

A view of the long line going into the 2014 Chicago ANA show.

A view of the long line going into the 2014 Chicago ANA show.

He notes that in the United States violent crimes are down, but robberies and thefts have increased.

“Over the years, I’ve continued to address and emphasize two very important security actions to help manage the risks of dealing with valuables: 1) Develop and maintain a viable (written) security plan,” he said.

“Whether you are a part-time dealer, collector or work for one of the major numismatic firms, without a written plan that is implemented and closely followed, you’re not being pro-active in managing dangerous and costly risks against you and your business.

“The second critical risk-managed action is to never leave valuables unattended in your vehicle.

“It only takes 15 seconds for a thief to gain entry to your locked vehicle.  Recently, several dealers and collectors were virtually wiped out from this mode of thievery; some terminated their business while others left the hobby,” he said.

The list of best secured shows is shorter this year, he said. All of them Ellsworth either attended or a representative of his company attended.

He noted that more shows and promoters are taking the safety of the exhibitors and attendees more seriously, but most still do not prosecute shoplifters. They only throw a shoplifter out of a show, which creates an incentive to repeat their crimes and for others to follow suit.

Ellsworth recommends that even though it is time consuming and expensive, dealers and bourse chairs must take on the burden to prosecute an offender.

Show chairs also should advise dealers to stay off their cell phones when working and to limit use only for must-answer calls. It is impossible for them to be texting and still be vigilant, he said.

Ellsworth lists the shows in alphabetical order and are “some of the shows that I attended that have security a priority than a by-product of their show in 2014.”

• American Numismatic Association National Money Show, Atlanta, Ga. Security was continually provided by uniformed police and plainclothes private security. There was adequate security in and out of the facility during setup and breakdown. All security officers are tied into a monitored communication net. Registration and name tags were required for all attendees. The ANA staff and board continue to be proactive to reduce crime and improve the safety of members and staff and the entire hobby through their excellent educational programs and awareness. This organization has and deserves to be commended. They did it right at this convention. However, even the best can get caught off guard as when during the World’s Fair of Money in Chicago the U.S. Mint release event created unforeseen security issues.

• Early American Coppers Convention, Colorado Springs, Colo. Security was continual and provided by a private professional security firm comprised of former military (several Army Special Forces backgrounds) and off-duty law enforcement. Security was outstanding prior, during and following the convention. Everything was run like clockwork. When relief security personnel arrived, they were given brief security updates. Unloading and loading was under observation by security personnel. Security personnel continually walked the show floor to discourage shoplifting.  Evening security was enhanced by the use of a guard dog. Security was friendly, but firm. Registration and name tags were required for all attendees.

• Florida United Numismatists Convention, Orlando, Fla. Security is provided by a private security contractor and supplemented by numerous off-duty uniformed Orange County deputies. Security is vigilant in and out of the facility during setup and breakdown. Security is triple layered with uniformed, plainclothes and video surveillance. Parking areas are also patrolled before, during and following the show. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees. As one of the largest shows in the country, they always set a good example. The amount of resources devoted for security at this show is impressive.

• Georgia State Numismatic Association, Dalton, Ga. Security is continually provided by off-duty uniformed Walker County Sheriffs, off-duty GBI agents and private security. Security is provided in and out of the facility during setup and breakdown. Unloading and loading is under watchful security personnel. Security personnel continually walk the show floor to discourage shoplifting.  Registration and name tags are required for all attendees. They like many other shows have an officer in a marked patrol car near the entrance.

• Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists, Monroeville, Pa. Security is provided by a private armed security firm wearing distinctive company clothing. Security is provided in and out of the facility during setup and breakdown. Registration and name tags were required for all attendees. Unloading and loading is under the watchful eyes of security personnel. As with all shows, collectors and dealers leaving a show and the security provided must immediately implement their own individual plan on their remaining travel to avoid theft.

• Texas Numismatic Association, Fort Worth, Texas. Security is provided by Doug Davis of Numismatic Crime Information Center and off-duty Fort Worth Sheriff’s deputies. Security is excellent from setup to breakdown with both uniformed and plainclothes officers keeping constant vigilance of the bourse, parking areas, entrances and exits of the facility. Officers are well equipped with all the necessary weapons and equipment to handle most any incident.  Registration and name tags are required for all attendees.

• Upstate Coin Show, Spartanburg, S.C. Security is provided by South Carolina Constables and retired South Carolina State Troopers. Security is vigilant in and out of the facility during setup and breakdown and is continuous during the show. Officers are equipped with additional weapons and equipment at night.  Registration and name tags are required for all attendees.

• Virginia Beach Coin Show, Virginia Beach, Va. Security is continually provided by uniformed Virginia Beach Police.  Unloading and loading of the convention center is observed by a police presence and provides better than average security for dealers unloading and loading. Several of the officers are instructors at nearby Academe (formally Blackwater) where security is a religion. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees. Perhaps in the future they might consider incorporating random perimeter and parking lot patrols.

• Whitman Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention, Baltimore, Md.   Security is continually provided by private security and uniformed Baltimore City Police. Unloading and loading is in a gated section of the convention center and provides better than average security for dealers unloading and loading. All security officers are tied into a monitored communication net. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees. This show has grown to one the largest in the country and their security has adjusted accordingly.

For more information on security courses offered by the American Numismatic Association contact: Susan McMillan, ANA Education 719-482-9850, and Email: mcmillan@money.org.

Ellsworth is a certified Master NRA Instructor and has been an instructor numerous times in the past 15 years for the ANA during the Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs, Colo.
His background includes the Army’s Special Forces (Green Berets) as a Ranger. In addition he has had assignments as a physical, intelligence and communication security inspector. He has received highly specialized training in anti-terrorist, physical, intelligence and personal protective security.

For more information and tips on security, go to his website at www.Butternut.org. Email Ellsworth at Butternut@Butternut.org. Mail him at P.O. Box 498, Clifton, VA 20124-0498.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express.
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