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Days at the Bullion Counter at Deak-Perera, 1980, Part Two
November 12, 2007

Working the Bullion counter at Deak-Perera was interesting.

Our store manager was George Parola and he was assisted by an older fellow named Jack. After the numismatic division was closed, George transfered to the Foreign Exchange office which was located in the concourse of the World Trade Center, still later he moved companies and is now with a Foreign Exchange office in the Rockefeller Center complex where he is still. Jack was a veteran of the 1950s and 1960s Nassau Street Coin and stamp shops, he later went to the Stamford, Conn. office.

We had our shipping clerk, Tom, who packed the registered boxes of daily Kuggerrand and Maple Leaf sales. The post office was located on the basement level, so he did not even have to brave the weather.

Eric was another young fellow, who had studied Zoology, but seemed destined to never work in the field. Sometime in the late 1980s he was working as a floor manager at Macy's flagship 34th Street store.

There were one or two others, and some were a bit odd at best.

Then there was the public.

Being by the passport office was a great location for foreign exchange, and the street store got lots of traffic, but sometimes folks would stop into the numismatic division by error. On one of the days, it was Tiny Tim.

It was interesting to learn the rules pertaining to cash transactions, tax implications on taking possession or having stuff mailed, and remembering not to set off the alarm by removing the last bill in the cash till.

Working with the public was exciting. On one ocassion I was buying 11 ounce pieces, thus getting near to the 10,000 cash reporting limit, from a well dressed husband and wife who said they were farmers in the upper Midwest. A day later he came in again with his wife for another transaction. Finally, on a third visit, this time alone, he confessed that his wife should not know about this third sale. But he felt it was time to cash out of gold and move into something else.

Mostly we had Maple leafs, and Kuggerrands (there was not an embargo on them as yet) On a lesser scale, British Sovereigns, French 20 Francs and German 20 Mark coins, then Austrian and several others.

On several occasions we had UN diplomats visit. They got to exchange gold to cash without limit. We just needed to photocopy their diplomatic identification. This lady and her escort asked to make use of our private room, and then she started to pile out 1, 2-1/2 and 5 pahlevi coins. Those were nice to see, and when all was said and done the Shah's daughter left with a large bit of cash.

Life and times in the big city.

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About the Author
George Cuhaj has been with the Krause Publications numismatic team since 1994. He is editor of the various editions of the Standard Catalog of World Coins and the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money. Prior to joining KP, Cuhaj was employed by the American Numismatic Society and Stack's Rare Coins, both of New York City. He is a Fellow in both the Royal Numismatic Society and the American Numismatic Society. He also is a life member and past board member of the International Bank Note Society. Cuhaj was elected an Allied Professional Member of the National Sculpture Society and has had his medallic work exhibited internationally.

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