Col. Steven Ellsworth, retired, of the Butternut Company has announced the annual selection of “The Best Secured Coin Shows for year 2015.”
Ellsworth attended over 40 coin shows and conventions in 2015, closely observing and evaluating the various types of security measures provided to both dealers and the public. In addition, he receives numerous reports from across the nation from coin dealers, collectors and crime-incident reports from the media and law enforcement sources. This is the 19th year a report with show-listings has been named.
“For the past 20 years I’ve had the privilege of helping new as well as experienced dealers by writing articles regarding security,” Ellsworth said. “I am also a principal instructor on how to build a solid, successful business and teach sound security protection-measures during the American Numismatic Association’s (ANA) Summer Seminars in Colorado Springs. By all accounts, these educational sessions have been rewarding for the students as well as from the physic income I garner from the students and the other attendees.”
He described some of his instructional techniques in which he requires students to create a basic balance sheet for the fictitious ABC Coin Company. When students list the assets of a typical coin business, by far the single most valuable asset of the company is the inventory of coins, noting that most students do not own a stationary store-front.
If all or most of a company’s inventory is lost, the survival of the coin business will be questionable, Ellsworth said. If this basic financial reality is correct, then why would a dealer or serious collector not implement as many security strategies and measures possible to minimize such risks?
The answer is usually the same: “This is the way we have always done it and have not had a problem yet.” With that logic, why not cancel your home liability, fire and flood insurance since you have not had a claim since you owned your home?
In today’s social and economic environment, whatever you can do to improve your own, as well as your family’s security is never enough.
The United States economy is still recovering at a slow pace and will likely do so for 2016, Ellsworth said. Although violent crimes continue to decrease, robberies and thefts continue to increase. The 2016 economy will likely be a repeat for criminal endeavors. The coin business is still a very lucrative target for criminals, especially since our hobby’s gathering sites are so well advertised.
Over the years, Ellsworth has continued to address and emphasize two important items to help manage the risks associated with valuables:
First, develop a written security plan. The casual disregard for the need to draft a written security plan by the majority of dealers and collectors is still a major security lapse facing our industry, Ellsworth said.
“It does not matter if you’re a part-time dealer, collector or employed by one of the major numismatic firms, without a written plan, you are not being pro-active in managing risks against you and/or your business. Without a written plan, your security plan is just an idea,” Ellsworth said.
“Remember, your plan is relevant and remains dynamic when it’s updated, and actively engaged to keep pace annually with your business trends, travel schedule, or hobby pursuits,” he said. “Plan to review and update your business’s security plan in January.
Second, never leave valuables unattended in a vehicle. This rule seems so basic, said Ellsworth, who has been emphasizing this simple, basic security measure for more than 19 years.
“Still, nearly every other week, I hear that a dealer or collector has had their collection and inventory stolen when it was left in a unoccupied vehicle,” Ellsworth said. “Occasionally, most of us have had to leave a vehicle unattended while transporting valuables, but we have been lucky – simply lucky! It only takes 15 seconds for a thief to gain entry into your locked vehicle. As predicted, several dealers or collectors were virtually wiped out from theft and terminated their businesses, while some collectors relinquish the hobby altogether.”
Why is this security concept so difficult to grasp and so seldom followed by so many victims of theft?
The American Numismatic Association has been proactive for a number of years by offering security courses during their Colorado Springs, Summer Seminar Sessions. They have also co-sponsored seminars with Doug Davis of Numismatic Crime Information Center for federal, state, county and local law enforcement officers on how better to investigate numismatic crimes.
Ellsworth said the Summer Seminar course “Think Like a Thief” is an excellent solution to help prevent you from being a targeted and to keep you and your family and co-workers from being a victim. This highly effective program is offered every other year.
“This indepth, intensive four-day security course focuses on managing your risks in your home, office, store, shows and while traveling,” Ellsworth said. “This is a course well worth your time and consideration regardless the size of your business.”
For more information on the security courses contact: Susan McMillan, ANA Education Project Manager, (719)-482-9850, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“All shows listed were actually attended by our company or its representative. It is evident that some show managers or promoters are taking the safety of their exhibitors and attendees more seriously, however, many still do not prosecute shoplifters,” Ellsworth said. “Simply throwing a shoplifter out of a show creates an incentive to repeat their crimes and serves as an example for other criminals to follow.”
Even though it’s time consuming and somewhat costly, dealers and bourse chairs must accept the responsibility to prosecute an offender, he said.
“On a final note, when performing security personnel briefings, advise employees to refrain from casual viewing or surfing the internet from I-pads or cell phones when working,” Ellsworth said, “and limit their use to only ‘must answer’ calls. It is impossible for them to be texting and still be vigilant when it comes to security.”
Here in alphabetical order are some of the shows attended in 2015 that placed security as a top priority rather than a byproduct of the show, he said. The objective in formulating an annual list is to help ensure security measures remain on the forefront to aid dealers and collectors in safely managing the risks posed from theft or criminal acts, which can result in loss, bodily harm or even death, Ellsworth said.
• American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money Show, Chicago, Ill. Security was continually provided by uniformed Rosemont Police and plain clothes private security. Security was greatly improved from previous year’s U.S. Mint debacle. There was excellent 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 its members and staff and the entire hobby through their excellent educational programs and awareness. This organization has and deserves to be commended.
• Annandale Coin Show, Annandale, Va. Security is continual provided by off-duty uniformed Northern Virginia Community College officers. Security is provided in and out of the facility during setup and breakdown. Unloading and loading is observed by security personnel. Uniformed officers continually walk the show floor to discourage shoplifting. Registration and nametags are required for all attendees. They, like many other shows, have an officer in a marked patrol car near the entrance. With additional campus police on call for immediate response should an incident occur, the risks are minimal.
• Blue Ridge Numismatic Association, Dalton, Ga. Security is provided by off-duty uniformed Walker County sheriff deputies, 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 nametags are required for all attendees. They, like many other shows, have an officer in a marked patrol car near the entrance.
• Early American Copper Convention, Dallas, Texas. Security was continual and provided by a private, professional security firm comprised of former and current law enforcement professionals. Security was outstanding prior, during and following the convention. Everything was seamless and run like clockwork under the careful watchful eye of Doug Davis and his team. Unloading and loading was observed by security personnel. Security personnel continually walked the show floor to discourage shoplifting. Registration and nametags were required for all attendees.
• Florida United Numismatist 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, plain clothes and video surveillance. Parking areas are also patrolled before, during and following the show. Registration and nametags 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.
• Pacific Northwest Numismatic Association, Portland, Ore.. Security is provided by a private armed security firm made up of retired deputy sheriffs and state police. Security is provided in and out of the facility during setup and breakdown. Registration and nametags were required for all attendees. Dealers are allowed to load and unload at the front doors of the facility. Again, with all shows, collectors and dealers leaving a show need to immediately implement their own individual plan on their remaining travel to avoid theft.
• Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN), 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 set up and breakdown. Registration and nametags were required for all attendees. Dealers are allowed to back up to the loading docks for unloading and loading. 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.
• Tennessee State Numismatic Association, East Ridge, Tenn. Security is provided by East Ridge Tennessee Police. The show’s organizers put security high up on their plans for running a safe and secure show. Security is excellent from setup to breakdown with uniformed officers keeping a careful watch of activity on 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 and extra patrols are made during and after show hours. A patrol car is parked in a strategic location and dealers are escorted to their vehicles. Registration and nametags are required for all attendees.
• Texas Numismatic Association, Arlington, Texas. Security is provided by Doug Davis of Numismatic Crime Information Center and off duty Arlington police. Security is excellent from setup to breakdown with both uniform and plain clothes 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 nametags 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 set up and breakdown and is continuous during the show. Officers are equipped with additional weapons and equipment at night. Registration and nametags 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 nametags are required for all attendees. Perhaps in the future they might consider incorporating random perimeter and parking lot patrols.
• Whitman Baltimore Coin & 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 un-loading and loading. All security officers are tied into a monitored communication net. Registration and nametags are required for all attendees. This show has grown to one the largest in the country and their security has adjusted accordingly.
Col. Steven Ellsworth is a retired Army Colonel with over 32 years of service. His many assignments include serving in 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. He currently is a full-time coin dealer and a collector and has served on several numismatic boards. He is a certified Master NRA Instructor and has been an instructor for the American Numismatic Association during the Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs numerous times over the past two decades. He currently serves on the Board of Governors of the ANA.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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