The Best Secured Coin Shows of 2017 have been picked by Col. Steven Ellsworth (retired).
The Brentwood, Tenn., coin dealer personally attended over 36 coin shows and conventions in 2017, 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.
Ellsworth said, “All shows listed below were actually attended by our company or our representative. It is evident that some show managers or promoters are taking the safety of their exhibitors and attendees more seriously; however, many still are not prosecuting shoplifters. Simply throwing a shoplifter out of a show creates an incentive to repeat their crimes as well as serving 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. On a final note; when performing security personnel briefings, remind security personnel to refrain from casual viewing or surfing the Internet from ipads or cell phones when working; 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. Security is one of the top three expenses of running a show so insist on receiving what you have paid for. Go over what is expected before any agreement you make.”
Below, in alphabetical order, are some of the shows attended in 2017 that placed security as a top priority, rather than a by-product of the show. 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, said Ellsworth.
American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money Show, Denver, Colo.
Security was continually provided by plainclothes private security and uniformed Denver police. Security has continually improved each year. 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 and awareness programs. This organization has and deserves to be commended for their efforts to keep the security of exhibitors and attendees safe.
Blue Ridge 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 show entrance.
Colorado Springs Coin, Currency and Collectibles Show, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Security is provided by a private security contractor with extensive military and civilian experience. Security is excellent in and out of the facility during setup and breakdown. Parking areas are also patrolled before, during and following the show. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees. The show is well attended by ANA summer Seminar Students who are required to display their credentials. The bourse chairman makes security a critical part of his event plan.
Central Ohio Coin Club, Dublin, Ohio
Security is provided by off-duty Dublin police officers. Security in the past assisted in making arrests, then booking and jailing show thieves. Registration and name tags 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.
North Carolina Numismatic Association, Concord, N.C.
Security is continually provided by off-duty uniformed county deputy sheriffs. 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 also display a marked patrol car near the entrance.
Pacific Northwest Numismatic Association, Tukwila, Wash.
Security is provided by Tukwila Police. Security is constant from setup and breakdown, in and out of the facility. It is continuous during the show. Officers do an excellent job of keeping watch of the parking and loading areas during setup and breakdown. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees. Security personal are highly visible during all aspects of the event.
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 set up and breakdown. Registration and name tags 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 name tags 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 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.
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 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 into one the largest in the country, and their security has adjusted accordingly.
“For the past 20 years, I’ve had the privilege of helping new as well as experienced dealers by writing articles regarding security. 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 Summer Seminars in Colorado Springs, Colo.,” said Ellsworth.
He went on to describe 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 store. If all, or most, of a company’s inventory is lost, the survival of the coin business will be questionable. If this basic financial reality is correct, then why 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.
This year, there have been over 115 coin and currency crimes reported during 2017. Violent crimes have decreased, but there has been an increase in robberies and thefts that in all likelihood will continue through 2018. The coin business creates very lucrative targets for criminals, especially since many of our hobby’s gathering sites are well-advertised.
“Over the years, I continued to address and emphasize two very 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. 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.
“If it is not a written plan, your security plan is just an idea,” Ellsworth said.
“Remember, your plan is relevant and remains dynamic when it’s updated, actively engaged (used) to keep pace annually with your business trends, travel schedule, or hobby pursuits. Plan to review and update your business’s security plan in January,” he said.
Second: Never leave valuables unattended in your vehicle. This rule is so basic, yet still ignored. Every other week, Ellsworth says he gets a report of a dealer or collector who has had their collection and inventory stolen when it was left in an unoccupied vehicle.
Occasionally, most of us have had to leave a vehicle unattended while transporting valuables. Ellsworth says those who have should consider themselves lucky, simply lucky.
It only takes 15 seconds for a thief to gain entry into a locked vehicle. As predicted, several dealers or collectors recently were virtually wiped out from theft and terminated their businesses and some collectors relinquished the hobby altogether.
Why are these two simple security measures so difficult to grasp and yet seem so seldom followed? Ellsworth says to ask the many victims of theft. Most will usually respond with, “I can’t believe this happened to me.”
Ellsworth warns, “Don’t make a mistake that lessens your safety, security and life.”
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 the Numismatic Crime Information Center, who is doing a great job with federal, state, county and local law enforcement officers on how better to investigate numismatic crimes.
This year’s Summer Seminar in June will offer the firm’s first two-evening security course, Ellsworth announced.
They are “Safety First: Security for Dealers and Collectors” in addition to “The Business of Being a Coin Dealer.”
He said if you are planning to attend, please sign up early, as space is limited. If you have not made plans to attend, do so. These two courses are well worth your time and consideration regardless the size of your business.
For more information, contact Amber Bradish, ANA Education Project Manager, 719-482-9865, or via email at: email@example.com.
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.
Ellsworth is a certified Master NRA Instructor. He currently serves on the Board of Governors of the ANA.
For more information and tips on security, go to his website at www.Butternut.org or contact him via email at: BUTTERNUT@Butternut.org. He can be reached via mail at P.O. Box 2869, Brentwood, TN 37024.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.
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