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Secure shows listed

Three new coin shows and 11 repeats are part of the 15th annual list of the best secured coin shows for 2011. The list is compiled annually by Col. Steven Ellsworth of the Butternut Company of Clifton, Va.

Ellsworth said he attended 46 coin shows during 2011 where he paid particular attention and evaluated the various types of security that are provided to both dealers and the public. In addition, he received numerous reports from across the nation from coin dealers, collectors and crime-incident reports from the media and law enforcement sources.

“This last year we had a murder, several home invasions, numerous road-side robberies and numerous show-event thefts,” he said. “We had several armed robberies and assaults that resulted in several shootings,” he added.

He pointed out that during 2011, there was an escalation in the number of crimes affecting numismatics. Many were due to dealer/collector lapses, or lack of their own security procedures.

“The level of violence and brazenness of criminals continues to escalate,” Ellsworth stated.

Looking forward to 2012, Ellsworth said he expects a high level of crimes with theft and robbery in the forefront because of its availability of targets with cash and coins in large amounts and the relative ease of perpetrating the crime as compared to other criminal endeavors.

As a dealer himself, Ellsworth said, “We are lucrative targets for the criminal, especially since our hobby is advertised in so many local publications, as well as road signs, offering to buy gold and coins.”

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As in previous years, the single greatest risk to a dealer or collector is being followed after a coin show or event, who then leaves their coins in an unintended vehicle.

“I have continually advised against this action for over 20 years; yet, it still leads as the single largest incident for numismatic losses,” Ellsworth said. The loss through theft is mentally traumatic and usually an enormous financial drain on its victims. Some dealers are virtually wiped out and a collector who has his entire collection stolen usually quits the hobby, he explained.

Very few dealers and even fewer collectors spend the time and money needed to actually minimize the risks associated with our hobby and even fewer make the effort to train for it, according to Ellsworth. “It is important to realize that security is an individual’s own responsibility and not that of a show promoter, sponsors, the police, or government,” he said.

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“It is up to every dealer to have a written plan on how he will handle the array of security threats,” he stressed. “Many dealers tell me they are real careful when they are transporting coins. To which I ask, what is your plan if this or that threat occurs? In nearly all cases they have not thought that far ahead and have no idea what they will do,” Ellsworth said.

For the first time, the American Numismatic Association is offering in 2012, an in-depth 5-day security course at its Colorado Springs, Colo., Summer Seminar. The course is titled, “Think Like A Thief: Security for Dealers and Collectors.” The course is orientated toward the professional numismatist. It will teach students how to manage the risks of theft, burglary, robbery, or personal injury to individuals, firms and their families as a coin collector, or operator of a coin business. Topics will include home, office, store and coin show security, as well as an in-depth study of how to travel safely by car, taxi and airplane when transporting collections and coin inventory.

The course will also cover storage security, personal protection, non-lethal, improvised weapons and the use of deadly force and its legal ramifications.

Case studies and active role-playing are emphasized. Students will write a basic security plan for themselves and their families, complete NRA First Steps and Personal Protection in the Home, as well as learn basic firearm safety and familiarization. A written examination for certification is required and meets the proof of training requirement for most states concealed carry weapons permits. The course will be taught by Doug Davis of Numismatic Crime Information Center, Sgt. Scott Morgan, a Pima County deputy sheriff and Col. Ellsworth.

“When faced with the loss of a dealers number one asset, this course may be the very best investment or buy a dealer can make,” Ellsworth said.

The course is limited as to the number of students. For more information contact Susan McMillan, ANA Education, by telephoning (719) 482-9850, or by emailing mcmillian@money.org.

With classes like this Ellsworth said, “the target we present to the criminals may just not be so inviting.”

Most shows chosen for inclusion on Ellsworth’s list he attended. The rest were selected on the basis of detailed reports from multiple attendees.

For this year’s list, taken into account was not only the show’s security itself, but the awareness and concern of the sponsors as it related to security. Ellsworth said his objective is to keep security matters on the front burner to help dealers and collectors manage the risks posed from theft.

In alphabetical order, “The Best of the Best in Coin Show Security for 2011” are these:

• Alabama Numismatic Association, Bessemer, Ala. (Previously named in years past ). Security is continually provided by uniformed Bessemer City Police. Unloading and loading of the convention center is observed and supervised by a police presence and provides better than average security for dealers unloading and loading. Law enforcement personnel continually walk the show floor to discourage shoplifting. During the show, patrol cars are highly visible to all attendees. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees.

• Bay State Coin Show (C4), Boston, Mass. (Previously named in years past) Security is continually provided by a private security firm and several off-duty duty deputy sheriffs. Security is provided in and out of the facility during setup and breakdown. Unloading and loading is under watchful eyes of security personnel. Security personnel continually walk the show floor to discourage shoplifting. A registration fee and name tags were required for all attendees.

• Blue Ridge Numismatic Association, Dalton, Ga. (Previously named in years past) 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 eyes of security personnel. Security personnel continually walk the show floor to discourage shoplifting. A registration fee and name tags were required for all attendees.

• Florida United Numismatists convention, Tampa, Fla., (Previously named in years past) Security is provided by a private security contractor and supplemented by numerous off-duty uniformed Hillsborough County police. Security is vigilant in and out of the facility during setup and breakdown. Security is triple layered with uniformed, plain clothes and video surveillance. Parking areas are also patrolled before, during and following the show. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees.

• Georgia State Numismatic Association, Dalton, Ga.. (Previously named in years past) 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. A registration fee and name tags are required for all attendees.

• Long Beach Coin Expo, Long Beach, Calif. (Previously named in years past) Security is provided by off-duty Long Beach Police with identifiable “Security” jackets. Ample security is provided in and out of the facility during setup and breakdown with numerous plainclothes officers continually working the floor from the moment the show opens until it closes. All security officers are tied into a monitored communication net. In addition, the convention facility allows for overhead catwalk patrols to deter shoplifting. A registration fee and name tags are required for all attendees.

• Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists, Monroeville, Pa. Security is provided by a private security firm wearing distinctive company clothing of armed personnel. 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 watchful eyes of security personnel.

• North Carolina Numismatic Association, Hickory, N.C. Security is provided by Hickory City Police. Security is excellent during setup and officers escort you to your vehicle during breakdown. Uniformed officers keep constant vigilance of the bourse during the show to deter shoplifting. On a previous year, a “snatch-grab-run” was foiled with arrest made. 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.

• 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 South Carolina Coin Show, Spartanburg S.C. (Previously named in years past) 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 assault weapons and equipment at night. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees.

• Virginia Beach Coin Show, Virginia Beach, Va. (Previously named in years past) 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. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees.

• Wasatch Winter Coin Club, Salt Lake City, Utah. (Previously named in years past) Security is provided by off-duty uniformed Salt Lake County Sheriff’s SWAT team deputies. Law enforcement personnel continually walk the show floor to discourage shoplifting. In addition they monitor the entrances and provide surveillance of the unloading and loading of dealers vehicles. Being SWAT team members, needless to say that additional fire-power is available if needed during closing hours.

• Weyers Cave, Va. (Previously named in years past) Security is provided by off-duty plainclothes Augusta County sheriff’s deputies and court security personnel. Even though it is a small show with just 40 tables, two officers are present during the show and during setup and breakdown. Law enforcement personnel continually monitor the entrances, loading and parking areas.

• Whitman Baltimore Coin & Currency Convention, Baltimore, Md. (Previously named in years past ) 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. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees.

Steven Ellsworth is a retired Army colonel with over 32 years of service. His many assignments include serving in the Army’s elite Special Forces (Green Berets) and 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. He currently is a full-time coin dealer and a collector and serves on a number of numismatic boards and is an instructor for the American Numismatic Association during the Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs.
Ellsworth has written numerous articles on coin collector security over the last 20 years. After receiving constant inquires from collectors and dealers as to what type of security they could expect when attending various shows throughout the country and overseas, Ellsworth began to recognize those shows that did an outstanding job providing security. This is the 15th year a list has been named. For more information and tips on security, go to his website at www.Butternut.org, or contact him by email at BUTTERNUT@Butternut.org. His address is P.O. BOX 498, Clifton, VA 20124-0498. Telephone is (703) 802-0252.

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