Skip to main content

e-Letters: Oct. 12, 2022

From the September 9 Numismatic News E-Newsletter

What should coin show organizers do to make events more secure for dealers and attendees?

The ones I have been to have great security, but a determined thief is going to steal something no matter how secure the shows are

William Johnston
San Antonio, Texas

From my view, security should be the top priority at shows. While it’s nice to reward exhibitors and have show characters walking around the show, I would think that the money spent should be on security.

Carl Waltz
Lancaster, Pa.

I believe that, to make things more secure, more armed guards and more security cameras need to be used. Also, all dealers should go to a short but informative meeting to explain the current situation that thieves are targeting the coin hobby so that they can keep an eye on their goods more than before. Also, a personal escort for each dealer by an armed guard when bringing their goods in to set up for display.

Dave Burdis
Charleroi, Pa.

I would strongly suggest guards at each entrance. Check ID of each person at each sale, ask buyer if they want secure storage at a depository of the items they bought or if they want to store them at home but deliver by armored cars or truck.

Jeff Penuel
Yakima, Wash.

I would strongly suggest guards at each door. Check ID of customers coming and going. also, strongly suggest armored cars for delivery if bought at the site for delivery to customers home if they prefer home delivery but suggest placing it at a security storage vault or depository.

Jeffrey Penuel
Address withheld

I am a retired U.S. Navy (SCPO) security specialist and avid coin collector. I am unsure how [coin show] security works, so I can only make suggestions.

Prior to the day of the show, only security, essential persons and sellers allowed into arena. Each person should be photographed and their name, address and phone should be in a file held by ANA. They should be issued a pass they can wear with their photo, name and company on it. It should be mandatory they wear it throughout the time in the arena and during the show.

Once the show opens, each person should go through a metal detector, bags should be searched and a camera should be set up so each person’s picture is taken and held in a database until the end of the show. (Sign must be posted.)

All items should be kept under lock and key, only one item out to be examined at a time. Each table should be set up with a mini or micro camera to collect images of persons at the table. All images held for 10 to 15 days then deleted. There may be four types of security: uniformed unarmed security, security personnel in plain street clothes, armed security that can be called at a moment’s notice (a lot of places use local off-duty police officers for armed security, saves a lot of issues if weapons need to be drawn) and camera attendants that are in a designated area that monitor the mini and/or micro cameras during show times. (Could use off-duty casino monitors as they have experience and know how to look for details).

Once the show is closed for the evening, you can use inside security officers both armed and unarmed to protect the valuables and, if budget allows, portable laser alarms to signal if the beam is broken.

Stephen Haarstick
Address withheld

Went to a major coin show in Tampa about a year and a half ago. They were handing out orange bags to hold pamphlets. Know how funny that was to see out on the streets, all anyone has to see is someone spending big bucks and follow them home. Don’t talk to others about what you have. If they say anything to the wrong person, you are in trouble.

Once your magazine was delivered to the wrong address and the guy delivered it to me and was trying to look past me to see if he could see anything. Scary.

All business with coins and magazines is at the P.O. Box.

Name and address withheld

As a former inner-city police officer, I take security very serious. Being from South Florida, I refuse to go north of the Mason-Dixon line for a coin show. As I have done in the past, I’m done attending shows in the north. It's too dangerous and it now costs too much to attend. I go west and just returned from a show in Texas. I’ll go west, not north. Atlanta is my furthest north that I’ll go. No more Baltimore, Philadelphia, Dayton or Traverse City. I’ll look out to see if any items on your list show up. I’m sure the best are working full-time on this.

Address withheld

Sometimes dealers are their own worst enemy, having become lax about protecting their own stuff. I see it all the time, and they won’t change their ways. Walking away from their table, leaving showcases unlocked or even propped open. Talking in the parking lot etc., instead of leaving.

There are a lot of people and eyes in those rooms and a dealer, set-up, cannot afford to be distracted.

Dennie L.
Address withheld

It is with great sadness to learn that a case of collectibles was removed from the ANA show site. There are several approaches that can be taken to minimize future thefts. When dealers or set-up staff enter the venue, they should not be permitted to leave by the same entrance. When the show was held in other sites, the entrance and exit were the same. I am assuming the same is true in the current location. There should be a separate exit where each person is checked and any items removed at that time should be verified that they belong to the person removing them from the site.

On closing or tear-down day, special passes should be issued and a photograph taken of each individual entering and leaving with material. No early birds or special collectors should be allowed into the venue. No exceptions. If a dealer arrives late for either session (set-up/tear-down), they should be required to wait for the dealers that follow the schedule to finish their chores.

When collectors or vest pocket dealers enter the show during normal business hours, they should be required to provide an inventory of items being brought in. When leaving, they should provide their inventory and a receipt from a vendor of all items purchased. The receipts should be different each day and be well guarded.

Another point I would like to bring up is most shows are periodic at the same venue. When the venue is changed to a new location, all of the previous information and floor plans will not be valid. This causes a thief to have no previous info to use to plan another situation similar to this one.

I know some of these suggestions are harsh, but if the objective is a successful show then some pain must be endured.

W.J. Atkinson
Address withheld

Have sufficient help to get everyone back to their car. Also, increased security every day before the show opens. Anyone leaving the show must go through a metal detector and show receipts for anything detected. Problems, yeah, but only for the thieves.

Gary Winters
Address withheld

Hire off-duty cops and sheriffs. They will be in uniform.

Ted Campbell
Medford, Ore.

More security. Escorts into the building and out of the building. Police on standby.

Conner Hopfer
Address withheld

A few items that need improvement:

No late entries.

One-way traffic 30 minutes before closing.

No phone use by security guards while on duty except pertaining to security issues.

Guards in the loading and unloading areas.

No signs, etc., that block views across bourse floor.

No back-up tables less than full size. No 18-foot tables.

Photo IDs for all dealers.

Room cleared of all non-dealers at closing time.

I would advise this for all larger shows. May not be financially feasible for smaller shows.

Chick McCormick

Keep the entrance and exits down to a minimum with security present. Register for entrance, including driver’s license. Security walking around on the floor. Larger shows, have cameras video-taping.

Fred Farkle
Address withheld

Cameras! High-resolution cameras. Place them out in the open for all to see, and advertise that they are in use.

1. This will deter most thieves (but not all).

2. Video evidence is a sure thing when it comes to prosecution.

I am now retired, but I used them in my shop for years and they paid for themselves many times over.

Walter Steven Cable
Knoxville, Tenn.

You asked, and here’s a few answers.

1. More and more cameras. Inside and out, all the way to parking lots.

2. Set up a security gate at each vendor, and allow only one visitor at a time, which must have three forms of valid ID.

That’s a lot, but people will cooperate and understand.

Address withheld

Hire off-duty officers to help regular security guards at the events. Also, only one way in and out except for emergency exits. All dealers only let buyers look at special coins one at a time. I’ve seen many shows where dealers try to greet too many people at a time .

Cara Myers
Address withheld

Majority of coin thefts are due to dealer negligence. I can name a slew of thefts in millions of dollars resulting from dealers leaving coins in their car unattended. Yes, millions of dollars! I have seen instances at coin shows where a thief stole a whole showcase of coins during the show. Now, how can someone walk out with your whole coin showcase? Dealers have to be more vigilant. That’s the prime solution.

Ed Aleo
Bay State Coin Show

Use facial recognition for entry.

Art Leifer
Address withheld

Having security fly drones with security cameras on them would deter/ catch most to all overnight theft.

Jeff Mendenhall
Tampa, Fla.

Show organizers need to provide security for both dealers and the public – up to a point. But just as the public need to be responsible for their wallets and purchases, so do dealers have to accept responsibility for securing their displays.

In this day and age, a display case of watches, or coins or notes can be electronically secured so as to scream loudly (or even silently on your phone) if tampered with. That is the dealer’s responsibility. They may even find their insurance premiums are a bit less if they have their goods fully secured.

When attending shows, I always watch my six, as I do in and around coin shops and auctions. Never lost an item in these environments yet.

Kerry Rodgers
New Zealand

Your report on the stolen coins and watches from the ANA show is disturbing. But you left out some very important information: How was the material stolen in the first place, especially during a set-up phase? I would presume during this critical period, the show must have needed credentials for all persons on site. So was it an inside job ... or a serious security breach by allowing some yo-yo on the floor with no credentials or fake ones.

What else can you add?

Randall Brooksbank
Tullahoma, Tenn.

Editor’s Note: All available details about the theft at the ANA show were included in the story that ran in the Sept. 27 issue of Numismatic News.

Show more presence of being armed.

Dennis Adair
Address withheld

Shows need to hire more police officers. We attended the Summer FUN show in Orlando, Fla., this year and saw only one police officer and a security guard.

Ramon G. Iglesias
Miami, Fla.

ANA held their convention near ... Chicago, and somebody got ripped off? Gee, what a shock. Chicago is and always has been a criminal’s paradise and corrupt to the core from top to bottom. Or didn’t the ANA know that?

Tacoma, Wash.

While each show has a lot of security in place, obviously it’s not enough, as evidenced not only by the theft at the recent ANA show, but also a major theft that occurred at the Winter Long Beach Show.

Fortunately, we know how the theft at the ANA show occurred. I won’t go into detail, as I’m sure that’s covered elsewhere in NN. With that information, show organizers and their security teams must learn from this error in security, to minimize it from happening again. Knowing how it occurred, professional security teams can come up with solutions. Every show security team must learn from these errors, and not ignore how a theft occurred simply because it did not happen to them.

More concerning is the theft at the Winter Long Beach Show, where a case of fine jewelry and coins locked overnight on the bourse had the glass smashed and contents removed. I’m flabbergasted, as I’m under the impression each show, especially the large shows like this, have live security personnel in the bourse area throughout the entire overnight period. How could something like this have happened? Were they all asleep? Were they the ones involved? Despite my layperson attempts at trying to find out more information, it appears that nothing has been made public about how this theft occurred. At a minimum, the security teams at each of the major shows must be in contact with the authorities involved at Long Beach to learn how that theft occurred, so they can then use that information to adjust their procedures to minimize these large thefts from occurring again.

Steve Feiertag
Royal Palm Beach, Fla.

Editor’s Note: All details made available in the ANA’s official report on the theft were included in the story that ran in the Sept. 27 issue of Numismatic News.

Chicago has one of the highest crime rates in America. Dealers should each chip in an extra $10-$15 to go to hiring three armed private security guards. Dealers should enter in small groups together. One entrance/exit only.

Maybe Chicago should be eliminated from the circuit until the mayor provides police.

Sorry to hear about it.

Steve Starlust
Sevierville, Tenn.

Regarding security at shows, the guards are usually very professional. Sometimes they are staring down at their smartphones, which if I was a crook would give me some time to do something bad.

Address withheld

Move to a different city. Somewhere safe in Florida (but not Miami).

Andrew Norris
Address withheld

Install cameras and have security check all parcels and collections with IDs at exits.

Lonnie Thurston
Address withheld