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Coin show hurt by Minnesota law

Coin dealers and collectors are upset about the way the new Minnesota coin dealer registration law has hurt their local coin show.

Andrew Swammi, coin dealer and coordinator of the Roseville Coin Show held July 12 in Roseville, Minn., said they had fewer dealers this year.

“We normally sell 17 tables. We sold 14 this show,” he said.

Customers noticed, he said.

“We were hearing a lot of ‘Where’s this particular dealer?’” Swammi said. He had to tell them that their absence was due to the new law.

Attendance at the show was normal, though many attendees were confused about the law and its requirements, he said.

The law requires dealers in the state and any dealers who sell to state residents to get a bullion dealer license if they annually sell more than $5,000 in coins containing at least 1 percent precious metals.

It also requires dealers to provide customers with detailed receipts when selling coins that contain precious metals.

“It hadn’t really hit people yet. They didn’t really know about the law,” he said.

Lee Orr, a dealer at the show and owner of Great Lakes Coins & Collectibles, Burnsville, Minn., noted that customers hadn’t dealt with the law’s effect until then.

“So far to this point, July 1, the law had no impact on the customer,” he said.

Until then, it was on the dealers to get licensed, he said.

“There were 11 dealers at the show: four were officially licensed, three in the process, and the other four were not licensed. License or no license, collectors were going to buy coins though,” he said.

Greg Allen, another dealer at the show and owner of Greg Allen Coins, said he knew of three dealers who didn’t show up.

“One was a 30-year veteran of the business who has decided to stop selling at shows,” he said.

He also heard a lot from customers about the law’s requirement that dealers provide receipts for sales. Many asked him why he had to do so much paperwork.

“For each coin I sold containing precious metals, I had to write a receipt detailing the coin, the metal composition, the weight of precious metals in grams and the sale price,” Allen said.

The collector who knows what he is doing finds this ridiculous, he said.

“Many said, ‘I don’t need that protection,’” he said.

The receipt requirement slowed down sales, he said.

“Customers are upset about having to wait for the dealer to figure out the precious metals amount in grams,” Allen said. “You’ve got people waiting and you’re writing a receipt for a customer who doesn’t even want it,” he said.

Swammi said he had one customer in particular who did not like the receipt.

“I handed the buyer his receipt and he asked, ‘What the h--- is this?’” Swammi said.

When he explained the law required such a receipt, the collector crumpled it up and threw it away, he said.

“I know what I’m buying,” the customer told him.