Local dealer Jerry Schmidt was featured in this November 1, 2015 article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch. -Editor
Coins connect us to the past, Jerry Schmidt said. They are, literally, pieces of history.
“It’s amazing to think that you can hold a coin in your hand and realize that Jesus Christ might have held this widow’s mite in his
hand,” Schmidt said.
The mite, a small bronze coin in circulation in Jerusalem more than 2,000 years ago, is just one example of the many historic coins
Schmidt has handled in his decades as a coin collector and dealer.
Schmidt, 84, was saluted with a retirement cake Sunday during the Richmond Coin Club’s annual fall coin and currency show at the Clarion
Hotel on North Boulevard. Schmidt said the show — which drew about 40 dealers and 700 prospective customers — may be his last show as a
dealer, though he left open the possibility that he may return as he liquidates his inventory of thousands of coins.
Schmidt’s involvement with coins has been a lifelong fascination — starting when he had a paper route as a boy and studied the pennies
he got when he collected payment from his customers.
A Thomas Jefferson High School graduate, Schmidt went into the Air Force in 1950 and became an intelligence officer. “I was a Chinese
linguist,” he said. “The Air Force sent me to Yale to learn the language.”
He spent time in Korea, China, Japan, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Though he never got a college degree, he studied at the
University of Omaha, Virginia Commonwealth University, American University and the University of Alexandria in Egypt.
During his travels with the Air Force, Schmidt was on the lookout for coins. In 1962, he said, he came upon a Japanese collector who had
a hoard of more than 2,000 13th-century Asian coins.
“I bought them all from him,” Schmidt said. “I paid him $700. That was a lot of money back then for me on my Air Force pay.” He said the
moment he bought that trove of coins was when he became a dealer.
Schmidt retired from the Air Force in 1970 after 20 years, came home to Richmond and opened the Imperial Coin Shop. The business took
its name from its location in the Imperial Building on the corner of North Fifth Street and East Franklin Street. “I just adopted the
name,” he said, “and, besides, I had a lot of Imperial Chinese coins.”
In 1993, having outgrown his downtown shop, he bought land and built a store at 8801 Patterson Ave. He maintained his shop there until
2007 and, since then, has done much of his work as a dealer at coin shows. He has been a fixture at the Richmond club’s two annual events
and until recently traveled frequently to shows across the U.S. and around the world.
To read the complete article, see:
Local coin connoisseur still circulating but
nearing retirement (www.richmond.com/news/article_66553233-b1ea-578e-94a4-047d7236cad7.html)
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