The Michigan State Numismatic Society

After 40 years in the coin business, Gary Adkins had a very special announcement to all:

"I have had the pleasure of handling some of the finest coins available, and have placed many, many millions of dollars worth of quality numismatic coins with numerous fine collectors. Many new friendships have been forged through these decades, friendships that will endure for a lifetime...I am turning over the keys to my Numismatic Services business to someone who has been both a friend and client of mine…" In June, Gary sold his business, Numismatic Services, Inc. He will be moving on to develop new interests and market innovations.

I was surprised to hear that Gary was born in the Detroit area. Gary told me that he started collecting coins when he was nine years old. He mentioned that his father was the one who brought him into coin collecting. His father became interested in coin collecting thanks to the method of attaching the change to cigarette packs. One day, one of his co-workers purchased a pack of cigarettes, and found in the change a 1955 double die Lincoln, which at the time was worth about $50-$75. This event made Gary think that if a coin can be worth that much, perhaps he should begin collecting coins. He started looking through his change, and saving what he thought might be valuable some day. He had the opportunity to sift through a great deal of coinage, because his parents owned a small store. He found many interesting coins. One of his better finds was a 1918/17 quarter. Young Gary made the typical mistakes of buying "problem" coins, buffalo nickels with reprocessed dates, and corroded Indian pennies. He was a quick learner and had some good mentors, and became proficient at an early age.

Gary credits President John F. Kennedy for inspiring him to open a coin business. In 1964, his father had the idea that the Kennedy half-dollars were going to be very popular. Proof sets were going to be popular and everyone was going to want one. So the family pooled its money together and purchased about 100 proof sets. Silver proof sets sold for $2.10 a set back then. They brought them to the local coin dealer, and asked how much he would pay for them. He offered $20 per set for the 30 sets they had, which would have given them a tidy profit. Apparently, these sets were the first in the neighborhood, and the demand was great. However, his father declined to sell.

They left the shop, and received the rest of the proof sets within two weeks. This time, they went to the coin shop with all 100 sets. The coin dealer said that if they walked away this time, they should not come back, because he would not buy them. He then offered $28 for each set, yielding $2,800 for a purchase that cost them $210! This $2,800 became their seed money for buying coins. Gary’s father knew a man who worked at the GM Tech. Center. He would take in a roll of Kennedy half-dollars and the man would gold plate them. They would put those into snap lock holders and would sell them at coin shows for $5 each. This was the beginning of their coin business. From there they would go to shows and other venues.

Gary worked for the Ford Motor Company in the Engineering Department for eleven years, and owned Village Coin Shop during the same period, along with Dick Jackson. He purchased the coin shop in 1979, the year before the gold and silver boom. They had a very successful year in 1980, buying and selling silver and gold. They were in the Secretary of State building, so a number of people knew their location from many years back. Subsequently, he sold his half of the business to Dick Jackson, who still owns the shop. In 1983, he moved to Minnesota to work with a larger enterprise, which provided coins for telemarketing and direct mail sale companies. While Gary enjoys living in Minnesota, he misses his Michigan roots. He has been attending the Michigan State Convention since 1970.

Over the years, Gary has been very involved in numismatics, and has earned numerous awards. He is on the Board of Directors of the Professional Numismatist Guild, and is on the Board of Directors for the Industry Council for Tangible Assets. As a member of PNG, he helped create the "Collector’s Bill of Rights." This "Bill of Rights" is among the accomplishments that he is most proud of. It outlines what the collector/consumer can expect from the dealer he is doing business with, and is a ten-point list of a type of guarantee to the customer that he is going to receive good service, pay a reasonable price for what he purchases, etc. In Gary’s words, "It has to be a win-win situation for clients. You have to create good value for clients. You have to be there on the buying end and on the selling end…"

Gary’s children, Jason, Michael, and Kimberly, are collectors, as well. They have attended numerous shows with their father.

Now that he has sold his business, Numismatic Services, people are asking Gary what he is doing now that he is retired. However, Gary says that he is NOT retired. He reminds them that he is still very much involved in the coin business. Currently, he is developing new opportunities and creative ideas on a larger scale.

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Gary Adkins

How I Started Collecting Coins by  Dany Rothfeld