Greg Bennick's latest interview for the Newman Numismatic Portal is with dealer Julian Leidman. Here's the fourth part, where Julian talks about coin dealing and grading.
Greg Bennick: So, let's shift gears a little bit and talk about Bonanza, and what it's been
like owning a coin store over the years. I know you mentioned that the auctions themselves have
changed quite a bit over the years, from the dynamic of having people in the room screaming and
yelling. What's owning a coin store been like over the years, with the rise of the internet and - I
don't want to lead the question too much, but tell me what owning Bonanza has been like over the
last half-century or so.
Julian Leidman: Well, I started dealing coins full-time in 1965. And at the time, Al and his father
had started Bonanza, and they moved Bonanza to downtown Silver Springs. And then Al graduated
Maryland, and I flunked out at the same time. And so, I would hang around his coin store all the
time. Eventually, he let me put a desk in the back room, and telephone and stuff like that. But he
didn't retire until 1991, and I then said, well, I can't retire, so I said, let me take over Bonanza.
And we made an agreement, and I moved it around the corner to where it was. It was on a main
street in Silver Springs, Georgia Avenue, and I moved it around the corner on Wayne Avenue.
Right now, it's half a block away from where it was. But Bonanza started back in the 60s, and it's
still going into the 20s. So, it's been very enjoyable.
You know, I was not an early proponent of standardized encapsulated grading, because I thought
there was more to a coin than just a number. And so, I didn't have very much of that. People would
come in the store, they would buy coins. Al was really involved with coins his whole professional
life. He's incidentally living in Delaware now, and we're very, very close friends. He would do a
lot. At the time, back in the 60s, there were vest pocket dealers coming in, there was a lot of
wheeling and dealing all over the place. There were bid boards in places. Bonanza never had a bid
board, but he would do a lot of wholesale business and stuff like that. And I tried, but as the
standardized grading came more into effect, there were less and less dealers, because there wasn't
as much opinion involved anymore in the rarity and the condition.
Of course, I would disagree with grades I saw, and I never really got involved with it until Miles
Standish visited me once from PCGS. And he said, ‘Listen, you gotta start doing this.' And this is
in the late 90s. So, we took a bunch of coins and got them encapsulated. That's where I started with
it. And right now, all of my listings on the internet are all either encapsulated or inexpensive, and
don't need to be encapsulated. Things have definitely changed. Bonanza today, I mean, I have the
store, and people come in and they occasionally buy coins. I used to have many more showcases
than I have now. And as people were bringing stuff in, and I was buying it, I was never selling as
much. And so, I had to rearrange things, and put new racks up there so I can store coins. And of
course, encapsulated coins take even more room than a coin in a tube.
So, now I have just a few showcases, where I used to have eight or 10. And people come in, and
they ask, and I say I don't have a lot on display, but let me find you what you need. And I do that
sometimes, but less and less people are coming into the store to buy coins, and more and more
people are coming into the store to sell coins. And normally, I would work every day, Monday
through Friday like everybody else, and I'd come in Saturday afternoons, and I'd come in Sunday
afternoons. Now, I was supposed to talk to you today from my store, but I was at a show last
weekend, I just slept late this morning, so I didn't go into the store today. But it's the first in a long
time where if I'm healthy, I go into the store.
About the Interviewer
Greg Bennick (www.gregbennick.com) is a keynote speaker and long time coin collector with a focus on major mint error coins. Have ideas for other interviewees? Contact him anytime on the web or via instagram @minterrors.
To watch the complete video, see:
Julian Leidman Interview
To read the complete transcript, see:
Julian Leidman Interview (Transcript)
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
JULIAN LEIDMAN INTERVIEW, PART ONE
JULIAN LEIDMAN INTERVIEW, PART TWO
JULIAN LEIDMAN INTERVIEW, PART THREE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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