ANAStaff's Blog

11 Feb 2014

How to stay safe when you're at a coin show

ANA - National Money Show | ANAStaff

Written by: Jake Sherlock

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 inventory.
  • 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 return.
  • 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 vulnerable time.
  • 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 become distracted.
  • If showing multiple coins always watch the persons hands closely.
  • Watch head and eye movements carefully. In many cases a thief is always looking around to see who is in close proximity or the dealer's movements.
  • 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 female.
  • If paid in cash put away immediately.
  • Keep cash in money bag not stacked inside case and locked. (Do not advertise)
  • 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 bourse floor.
  • Use phone camera to take pictures of any suspicious person or activity.
  • 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 valuable inventory.
  • 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 alert!!!
  • A person whose demeanor exhibits awareness of his/her surroundings is less likely to become a crime victim.


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