Doug Davis with the Numismatic Crime Information Center offers
these tips for staying safe when attending a coin show.
- Always remember that in today's society there is no specific
criminal profile for a numismatic thief.
- Be alert to your surroundings at all times.
- Be suspicious of persons asking questions about where you are
from, how you traveled to the show or the value of your
- If setting up alone become acquainted with fellow dealers on
each side of your table. Let your fellow dealer know when you have
to leave for any reason. If necessary cover your cases until your
- Setting up and showing coins at the same time increases the
opportunity for theft. Reduce your chances of becoming a victim by
limiting the number of persons wanting to look at coins at this
- When you have finished setting up use your phone to photograph
your table and each show case with inventory. (This documents your
attendance, inventory and provides valuable information to
investigating officers if needed.
- Deal with only one customer at a time if alone. Thieves migrate
to dealers who are extremely busy and can be easily distracted.
This is especially important if you have a corner table.
- Show only a few coins at a time. Control your inventory.
- While showing coins do not turn your back on customers. Do not
- If showing multiple coins always watch the persons hands
- Watch head and eye movements carefully. In many cases a thief
is always looking around to see who is in close proximity or the
- Be cautious when a subject keeps asking questions that require
you to look away or behind you while he/she is looking at coins.
This is often a distraction tactic.
- Do not let individuals place objects on your table. Ask them to
lay personal possessions such as price guides, lists, coats etc.,
on chair or floor.
- Do not let individuals take out personal coins to compare to
coins from your inventory. This often a coin switch tactic.
- If showing a double row box of raw coins watch hand movements
for palming of coins. Do not let the person pull numerous coins out
of box and then continue to look. This creates a diversion
for potential palming.
- Thieves may work in pairs and will use distraction tactics such
as asking questions which provides an opportunity for the other
person looking at coins to steal. Remember thieves can be male or
- If paid in cash put away immediately.
- Keep cash in money bag not stacked inside case and locked. (Do
- Keep cases locked at all times.
- Secure valuables on back up table such as briefcases or over
flow inventory. Cover table if you need to leave.
- Alert security of any suspicious persons or behavior on the
- Use phone camera to take pictures of any suspicious person or
- Due to the increase in counterfeit coins/slabs evaluate
carefully when buying from the public.
- When leaving the show do not carry large sums of money or
- Leave in pairs or with a group.
- Once outside be alert to suspicious individuals and do not walk
in dark or isolated areas.
- Do not text or talk on phone while walking to your destination.
Phones rob you of your awareness so whatever you are doing to stay
- A person whose demeanor exhibits awareness of his/her
surroundings is less likely to become a crime victim.