One of the most exciting things a coin collector can do is to visit a local or national coin show. From educational seminars to visiting a variety of coin dealers, every coin collector can find something to do at a coin show. Of course, the most exciting thing to do is to buy coins for your collection. However, if you are a victim of a crime and your coins or money are stolen from you, it can be one of the worst experiences in your coin collecting journey.
The following tips will help you stay safe when you visit a coin show. Remember, most coin shows provide armed security guards that deter the bad guys from committing crimes. However, some clever thieves can pray on easy targets and get away with your coins and money. The objective is to take precautions so you don't become the easy target.
Before you leave for the coin show, take a little time to prepare. If you've never been to a particular venue, then use a mapping program or GPS to ensure you take the most direct route to the coin show. Use an unmarked briefcase or satchel to carry your belongings. Make sure your items can be secured inside of it with a zipper or buckled compartment. If you will be taking coins with you to sell or trade, make sure they are organized and stored securely inside your briefcase or satchel.
Most dealers at coin shows require cash or check for purchases. Try to minimize the number of bills that you are carrying with you by going to the bank beforehand and getting larger bills if you're going to be making expensive purchases. You do not want to flash a large wad of cash at the coin show while making a purchase. Additionally, minimize the books and catalogs that you carry with you. This can weigh down your briefcase and make it difficult for you to carry and control.
If you are traveling to a national coin show by air, do not place your valuables in a checked bag. Make sure your cash and coins fit inside your carry-on bag. You can request a private security screening at the airport security checkpoint so fellow passengers do not see your valuable coins and cash if they happen to be removed from your carry-on bag.
Finally, make sure your cell phone is fully charged in case you need it in an emergency. Also, do not post on social media sites and forums that you will be attending a coin show. Although we would like to think only our friends and family will know about this, it is possible for strangers to know that you will be attending a particular coin show.
Be Cautious During the Show
When you arrive at the coin show, park as close to the entrance as you can. If this means paying for parking to be closer to the door, it will be money well spent for the additional security. Be aware of your surroundings when you park and make a note of where you parked your car. This will allow you to quickly find your car instead of wandering around the parking lot when you're leaving the show.
Make sure your briefcase or satchel is always secured and in your control when you are at the show. This means making sure compartments are always zippered or buckled when you are not accessing materials inside of them. If you need to take a call on your cell phone, make sure you secure your belongings before you get distracted by your phone call.
Thieves can be extremely clever and tricky in order to take advantage of you. Avoid distractions while you are looking at coins or completing your transaction. Be aware of the people around you. If you notice the same person is always next to you, contact the Bourse Chairman or show security immediately.
When you are looking at coins or negotiating with a dealer, make sure your belongings are secured next to you. Do not place your briefcase or satchel behind your chair or leave it on the floor. Keep it on your lap or between your legs while you are sitting at a coin dealer's table. However, make sure your briefcase is closed so the coin dealer does not suspect that you are the thief by trying to slip a coin into your briefcase.
If you need to use the restroom or get something to eat, make sure your belongings are always within your control. Do not place your briefcase on the floor of the restroom where someone can reach underneath and take it from you. When eating, make sure your satchel is on the floor between your legs with the strap around your arm or leg. This will prevent a snatch-and-run theft.
Keep Vigilant While Leaving the Show and Traveling Home
You are most vulnerable when arriving and leaving a coin show. When it comes time to leave the coin show, take off any name badges or other identifying items that would indicate that you attend a coin show. Make sure your briefcase is closed and your coins and cash are accounted for. If you purchased a bulky item, ask the Bourse Chairman for assistance in getting the item safely to your car.
When returning to your car, leave with someone you know or wait until a group of people are leaving the show, so there will be multiple people in the parking lot at the time. While walking to your car, keep your eyes and ears open for any suspicious activity. When you arrive at your car, unlock your doors, place your items in your car and then lock your doors before you start your car. This will minimize the time that a thief would have in order to commit a crime.
Although we can prepare before the coin show and take safety precautions while at the show, it may be inevitable that you could be a target of a crime. Your first and foremost priority is your own safety! Coins and money can be replaced. Don't put your life or health in jeopardy by trying to stop the crime. Give the thief whatever it is they want so they will get away from you and leave you alone. Call out for help or press the panic button on your car alarm to let surrounding people know you need help.