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Expert Ranks 2009 Coin Show Security
world money fair berlinBy Numismatic News
January 08, 2010
world money fair berlin



An alphabetical list of the 16 best secured coin shows in 2009 has been announced by security authority Col. Steven Ellsworth of the Butternut Co., Clifton, Va.

Ellsworth said he personally had attended 47 coin shows during 2009. While at shows he said he pays particular attention and evaluates the kinds and types of security that are provided for both dealers and the public. In addition, he receives many reports from across the nation from coin dealers, collectors and crime incident reports from the media.

“This last year we have had about the same number of robberies and thefts as the previous year; however this year we had one murder of a collector and several armed robberies that resulted in several shootings,” Ellsworth said.

“I am sorry to say that while the number of incidents involving coins is about the same as last year, the level of violence and the brazen boldness of criminals have escalated. Looking forward to 2010 and with the strains on the economy, we will most likely see increases in crimes of theft and robbery directed towards our hobby,” he continued.

As in previous years the single greatest risk to a dealer or collector is following a coin show or event and then leaving coins in an untended vehicle.

“I have continually advised against this action for over 18 years, yet it still seems to be the single largest incident for numismatic losses,” Ellsworth explained.

“The loss through theft is mentally traumatic and usually an enormous financial drain on its victims. Some Dealers are virtually wiped out; and a collector who has his entire collection stolen usually quits the hobby” advised Ellsworth.

Most of the dealers simply ignore the risks and pretend they will not be a victim. They sometimes pay only minimal attention to security by asking someone who also has no security training to “watch my coins.”

Ellsworth emphasized that it is important to realize that security is an individual’s own responsibility. It is up to every dealer to have a plan on how he or she will handle a security threat.

“Many dealers tell me they are real careful when they are transporting coins. I ask: what is your plan if this or that threat occurs?” Ellsworth recalled.

“In nearly all cases they have not thought that far ahead and have not any idea what they will do. They will be like a deer in the headlights if they are confronted with a theft. Professionals need to continually train for the worst, and hope for the best,” Ellsworth said.

“There are only a few dealers I know who have taken the time or spent the money for serious security training. This to me verifies the problem in that there are really only a handful of dealers who have made the decision that they will refuse to be a victim,” Ellsworth’s explained.

When asked what security measures he would like to see improved at shows, Ellsworth said, “the security presence during dealer set-up and breakdown, not only on the bourse floor, but at the loading areas, to include the front and back outside entrances is still a major problem at coin shows,” he said.

“Show promoters still waste security personnel at the front door checking badges of dealers when they are most needed at the very important parking and loading areas of the show. It still seems like most show administrators forget that dealers are extremely vulnerable during set-up and breakdown moving into and out of the facility and while loading their vehicles. It would be highly advisable to have a dedicated set of eyes watching your back and observing the area for threats,” Ellsworth pointed out.

Ellsworth noted that most of the shows listed below he attended, though some that are listed he was unable to attend, but instead was given excellent detailed reports from multiple attendees. Ellsworth said of the show he has seen or has verified reports on, “I would rate these as the ‘The Best of the Best in Coin Show Security for 2009.’

“This year’s list I not only took into account the show security itself, but in addition the awareness and concern of the sponsors as it pertains to security” said Ellsworth.

“Our objective is always to keep a constant level of vigilance in security matters to help dealers and collectors manage the risks posed from theft.” he added.



1. American Numismatic Association National Money Show, Portland, Ore. (Named the last three years) Security was continually provided by uniformed Portland Police and plainclothes private security. Security was provided in and out of the facility during set-up and breakdown and dealers had access to convention unloading and loading with security vigilant during the process. Registration and name tags were required for all attendees.



2. Bay State Coin Show (C4), Boston, Mass. (Previously named in years past) Security is continually provided by a private security firm and several off-duty duty deputy sheriffs. Security is provided in and out of the facility during set-up and breakdown. Unloading and loading is under watchful eyes of security personnel. A registration fee and name tags were required for all attendees.



3. Blue Ridge Numismatic Association, Dalton, Ga. (Named for the last 12 years) Security is continually provided by off-duty uniformed Walker County sheriffs, off-duty Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents and private security. Security is provided in and out of the facility during set-up and breakdown. Unloading and loading is under watchful eyes of security personnel. A registration fee and name tags were required for all attendees.



4. Charlotte Coin Club, Charlotte, N.C. (Named the last five years) Security is provided by off-duty uniformed Charlotte/Mecklenburg police. Security is excellent in and out of the facility during set-up and breakdown as dealers are allowed to unload inside the convention facility. During breakdown, non-table holders are required to leave the show by security personnel, giving dealers a full two hours of uninterrupted breakdown. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees.


5. Coin Fest, Stamford, Conn. Security is provided by a private security firm that specializes in personal protection of clients. Security personnel are wearing distinctive company clothing with both armed and unarmed personnel. Security is provided in and out of the facility during set-up and breakdown. A registration fee and name tags were required for all attendees. Unloading and loading is under watchful eyes of security personnel. As with all shows, collectors and dealers leaving the watchful eyes of show security must immediately implement their own individual plan on their remaining travel to avoid theft.



6. Florida United Numismatists Convention, Orlando, Fla. (Named the last four years) Security is provided by a private security contractor and supplemented by numerous off-duty uniformed Orange County police. Security is vigilant in and out of the facility during set- up and breakdown. Security is triple layered with uniformed, plainclothes and video surveillance. Parking areas are also patrolled before, during and following the show. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees.



7. Garden State Numismatic Association, Somerset, N.J. Off-duty plainclothes Pennsauken police provide continual security. Security is vigilant in and out of the facility during set-up and breakdown. Security personnel continually walk and survey the show during show hours. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees. Additional security is provided during set-up and breakdown of the show with police on foot in around the loading areas.



8. Georgia State Numismatic Association, Dalton, Ga. (Named the last four years) Security is continually provided by off-duty uniformed Walker County sheriffs, off duty GBI agents and private security. Security is provided in and out of the facility during set-up and breakdown. Unloading and loading is under watchful security personnel. A registration fee and name tags are required for all attendees.



9. Houston Money Show, Houston, Texas (Named the last three years) Security is provided by off-duty Houston police. Loading and unloading is in a secure area with security personnel present. The shows promoter is particularly aware of the show’s security and continually strives to improve the safety and security of all dealers and attendees. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees.



10. Long Beach Coin Expo. Long Beach, CA. (Named the last 3 years) Security is provided by off-duty Long Beach Police with identifiable “Security” jackets. Ample security is provided in and out of the facility during set-up and breakdown with numerous plainclothes officers continually working the floor from the moment the show opens until it closes. All security officers have are tied into a monitored communication net. In addition, the convention facility allows for overhead “cat-walk” patrols to deter shoplifting. A registration fee and name tags are required for all attendees.



11. North Carolina State Numismatic Association, Hickory, N.C. (Named the last three years) Off-duty uniformed Hickory police provide continual security. Security is vigilant in and out of the facility during set-up and breakdown. Security personnel continually walk and survey the show during show hours. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees. Additional security is provided during set-up and breakdown of the show with police on foot in and around the loading areas.



12. South Carolina Numismatic Association Convention, Greenville S.C. (Named the last three years) Security is provided by South Carolina constables and off-duty South Carolina state troopers. Security is vigilant in and out of the facility during set-up and breakdown and is continuous during the show. Officers are equipped with additional assault weapons and equipment at night. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees.



13. Trevose, Pa. (Named the last three years) Even though this is a little one-day, 35-table show, security is provided by two off-duties plainclothes Philadelphia police officers. This show continues to have some of the best security for a small show in the country. Two officers are continually walking the area during the show and have kept the sticky fingers to a minimum. During set-up and breakdown security is excellent and is present in the loading and parking areas.



14. Wasatch Winter Coin Club, Salt Lake City, Utah (Named the last three years) Security is provided by off-duty uniformed Salt Lake County sheriff’s SWAT team deputies. Law enforcement personnel continually walk the show floor to discourage shoplifting. In addition they monitor the entrances and provide surveillance of the unloading and loading of dealers vehicles. Being SWAT team members, needless to say that additional fire-power is available if needed during closing hours.



15. Weyers Cave, Va. (Named the last three years) Security is provided by off-duty plainclothes Augusta County sheriff’s deputies and court security personnel. Even though it is a small show with just 40 tables, two officers are present during the show and during set-up and breakdown. Law enforcement personnel continually monitor the entrances, loading and parking areas.



16. Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expos in Baltimore. (Named the last three years) Security is continually provided by private security and uniformed Baltimore City Police. Unloading and loading is in a gated section of the convention center and provides better-than-average security for dealers unloading and loading. Registration and name tags are required for all attendees.



Col. Steven Ellsworth is a retired Army colonel with over 32 years of service. His many assignments include serving in the Army’s elite Special Forces (Green Berets) and in addition he has had assignments as a Physical, Intelligence and Communication Security Inspector. He has received highly specialized training in anti-terrorist, physical, intelligence and personal protective security. He has worked during the last three years with Blackwater in developing security training for coin dealers. He currently is a full-time coin dealer and a collector and serves on a number of numismatic boards.

He has written numerous articles on coin collector security over the last 10 years. After receiving constant inquires from collectors and dealers as to what type of security they could expect when attending various shows throughout the country and overseas, he began to recognize those shows that did an outstanding job providing security. This is the 13th year a list has been named. For more information on security, go to his Web site at www.Butternut.org., or e-mail Butternut@Butternut.org. The mailing address is P.O. Box 498, Clifton, VA 20124-0498.



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