Protecting your coin collection from thieves - AmericaNowNews.com

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Protecting your coin collection from thieves

Due to the recent recession, lots of people are investing in gold and silver coins.

According to CoinWeek.com, the number of people who bought a U.S. coin valued at more than $1,000 tripled from 1998 to 2008.

The price of gold today is twice the amount it was back in the 1980s, and a silver coin dated before 1964 can fetch upwards of $30 an ounce. 

This has made coin collections a popular target for thieves.

Crooks aren't just targeting professional coin dealers. They've also been known to hit anyone who has rare and valuable coins stored at home. If you have a coin collection, or are thinking of starting one – listen up.

Robert and Shirley Marchand, and her son Douglas Dooley, died as a result of a home invasion robbery near Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The motive? A gold coin collection valued at over a half million dollars.

"We think it was planned," said Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley. "The indication is that this was not a spontaneous crime."

All three victims' throats were slit. Both men died at the scene. Days later, Shirley Marchand died from her injuries.  

The stolen safe was recovered, with only a single coin found inside.

Doug Davis is the founder and president of the Numismatic Crime Information Center in Arlington, Texas.

For 25 years, he has investigated a number of horrific crimes involving the theft of coins, even the murder of one of his close friends.

"We found him tied to a table, bound and shot five times execution-style," Davis told America Now Reporter Jeff Rivenbark. 

It's a crime on the rise. Rare coin thefts have occurred in Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas—just to name a few.

Davis says any coin collector can be a target.

"You're in a business and hobby that involves a lot of value and money," Davis said.

Criminals often steal rare coins and precious metals because it's easy for them to dump these items and extremely hard for police to trace where the valuables came from.

Each week, hundreds of people bring their rare coin collections to Jake Blackman at Piedmont Rare Coins in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He says coin collectors should be more discreet about what they own.

"That is typically the biggest mistake people make by telling everybody that they collect coins," Blackman pointed out.

Coin collecting magazines or coins ordered online and shipped to your home address are also major red flags for crooks.

"The best thing to do is to get a post office box if you are having coins shipped to you," Blackman said.

Coins worth more than a couple hundred dollars should be certified by an organization like National Guaranty Corporation or Professional Coin Grading Service if you want them insured.

Once you send them off and they have been evaluated, they'll come back 'slabbed' in a plastic case with a certification number, bar code, and hologram seal.

Most insurance companies need documentation like this to increase coverage on your homeowners insurance policy to protect your coin collection.

One of the worst places to store valuable coins is in a fireproof safe. 

"If a thief sees a firebox, that's the first thing they are going to grab," and Blackman added, "Most of those small fireboxes are not very secure." 

A crook only needs a dolly to roll an average-size gun safe out of a home.

For a small number of coins, Blackman says you would be better off hiding them in a hard-to-reach place in your home like the attic.

"Find someplace that is safe and secure that cannot be easily targeted by someone trying to get into your house," Blackman said.

Both experts America Now interviewed for this story agreed that a safe deposit box is the best place to store rare coins.

"If something does happen in your house--if someone breaks into your house--they're not going to get those valuables because they're off-site," Blackman noted.

Depending on the size, most safe deposit boxes cost less than $100 a year which is a small price to pay for the peace of mind in knowing your coins are secure.

"Once you become a collector or dealer of numismatics, you become a target," Davis warned. "You have to do everything you can to protect yourself, your family and your employees working for you."

If you are ever robbed, the best thing that can help investigators find your coins is if you have an inventory containing a detailed description of each coin.

You can also sign up to receive up-to-date crime alerts from the Numismatic Crime Information Center.


Additional Information:

The following information is from the Numismatic Crime Information Center: 

PROTECT YOURSELF. PROTECT YOUR COLLECTION.

  • Keep a detailed inventory of your collection
  • Keep insurance coverage up to date and adequate
  • Create and implement a security plan

IF YOU DO EXPERIENCE A LOSS:

  • Do not alter the crime scene
  • Call the police and file a report
  • Call your insurance company and file a report
  • Contact ANA LossAlert.

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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