The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 47, November 19, 2023, Article 18


E-Sylum Feature Writer and American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on Coin-A-Rama City in Los Angeles. Thanks! -Editor

  Coin-A-Rama City

Coin-A-Rama City was an incubator for numismatics in the Los Angeles area. It opened on Saturday, March 2, 1963, in Hawthorne, California, with more than 3000 square feet of space. On opening day, they claimed more than 2000 visitors.

The location hosted three to eight permanent dealers in separate booths. George Ray was listed as owner and operator. Others included at various times were Anlyn Coins, Dick Barlow d/b/a National Coin Broker, Ronnie Downing (1943-1997), Eddie Doyle, (Volney) Allen Harriman (1933-1985), Dan Long, James Miladin (1908-1969) and Pauline Miladin (1923-2014), Orvil L. Payne (1920-2001), Bill Rayburn, Leroy Schmidt and Bill Simpson.

Their schedule changed over the years. At one time Tuesday evenings had coin auctions. At other times there was a free coin show on Tuesdays.

On Wednesday evening they were open for Swap-a-Rama where anyone could rent a table for $2.00. Initially entrance fee was 50 cents.

  Cin-A-Rama Bid Board slips

Coin-A-Rama City claimed to have the world's largest bid board. Dealers and collectors could post coins with each sale ending on Friday evening. The venue got a small percent of the sales price.

This message was posted on the Collectors Universe U. S. Coin Forum:

In the mid and late 60s that's where I'd be each weekend with my dad when the bid board closed. It was HUGE, and I can remember it being so crowded you could hardly moveā€¦and so hazy from cigarette smoke that I couldn't wait to get out.

They hosted three day shows on weekends so the location had activity seven days a week including evenings. Table cost for three days was $7.50.

  Coin-A-Rama Silver Bar

A one-ounce silver bar was produced for the tenth anniversary of Coin-A-Rama City. These were issued by the Mother Lode Mint. I suspect this does not represent an accurate image of the coin shop. Likewise, it was not intended to show a typical customer.

In the early 1960's, there was a dealer emphasis on trading BU rolls of coins. This was an investor market but overlapped into the collector market as collectors set aside new coins as they were issued.

  National Coin Brokers Bulletin 1963-06-14

One of the original dealers was Orvil L. Payne. He saw a need for a dealer price guide and began publication out of a back room at Coin-A-Rama City. The first four-page issue was called The National Coin Brokers Bulletin with a publication date of Friday, June 14. 1963. That issue stated, The National Coin Brokers Bulletin is an up-to-the-minute statistical analysis of the BU roll market business as transacted on the United States Coin Exchange Teletype Service.

For the second issue, the name was changed to Coin Dealer Newsletter. It was published by Clearmark Company in Gardena, California. Early issues showed Orvil L. Payne as editor, Eileen Lawson as associate editor and James D. Miladin as market analyst.

In August of 1969, there was an announcement that the newsletter had been acquired by Prosper-Way, Inc. They quickly changed their name to World Mint, Inc. Allen Harriman was then the editor. He bought half interest in 1969 and full interest in 1973.

Ronnie D. Downing bought the newsletter in 1984 and ran it until his death in 1997. In 1985, Dennis R. Baker was editor with Allen Harriman consulting editor. Later Edward Judd was consulting editor. In 1997 management was then taken over by his son, Shane Downing (1968-2015) until his death in 2015.

Whatever happened to George Ray? His name last appears in Coin World in 1970. In November of 1986, they advertised the grand opening of the new Coin-A-Rama City at the same location.

  Coin-A-Rama location 13304 Inglewood.Hawthorne.CA

A recent photo shows the building probably unchanged since it was the location for Coin-A-Rama City. The entry door would be second from the right. Today this is the location for a barber shop.

I don't know what happened to Coin-A-Rama City. Their regular advertising stopped in the summer of 1987. Perhaps some of our readers have memories of visiting there.

The National Coin Brokers Bulletin image is courtesy CDN Publishing.

1987 seems like yesterday for an old-timer like me, but it's been a long time. Can anyone tell us more about Coin-A-Rama City? -Editor

To read the complete Greysheet company history, see:
Company History (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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