By Jesse Robitaille
A Hamilton coin dealer who wishes to remain anonymous fell victim to an extensive theft on the evening of Sept. 29 after returning home from a coin show.
The dealer told Canadian Coin News he parked his car outside his residence in Hamilton at about 8 p.m. before going inside to get a moving cart. When he returned only minutes later, he saw cash on the ground around his vehicle. Upon further inspection, he noticed his inventory was missing.
“There was a lot of stuff there, but I’m still assessing what’s missing; I don’t know everything yet. I’m still reeling from the shock,” he said, adding he’ll continue to attend coin shows as a dealer. “I’ll just have to be more careful, but I was very careful this time.”
The stolen items include, but are not limited to:
- a 1921-dated 50-cent coin in Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) Very Good-10;
- a 1921 five-cent coin in PCGS Very Fine-20;
- three 1948 silver dollars in About Uncirculated/Uncirculated condition;
- one 1945 silver dollar in About Uncirculated/Uncirculated condition;
- a tray of certified Canadian decimal coins;
- a 1914 Bank of Hamilton $50 note with a serial number reading “013280” and a red “C” overprint in PCGS Fine-15 (this note is one of only six known with two in institutional collections);
- about 20 Canadian chartered banknotes;
- early U.S. quarters;
- early U.S. bust half dollars;
- both a 1795 and a 1798 U.S. dollar;
- a 1798 U.S. $5 gold coin;
- many assorted gold chains;
- two trays of rings;
- three Rolex watches and about eight pocket watches; and
- about 40 ounces of gold coins and bars.
HALF A CENTURY
He has been in business since 1972 – a total of 47 years – and deals mainly in gold and silver coins and bullion; paper money; jewelry; gemstones; and fine watches.
The recent theft isn’t the first incident to hit the dealer’s business.
“It happened in 2002 after another coin show and then again in 1998,” he said, adding it’s “probably the same people” involved in the recent theft.
Shortly after the 2002 theft, some stolen banknotes turned up in the U.S., but no other items have been found.
“I had a good run of things for a while – 16 years untouched – but then they catch you. This is well planned, and they wait for opportunities. They know where you live, and we’re just sitting ducks for them,” he said, adding the suspects “are pros.”
“They’re well equipped, they’re bold and they’re fearless. They have success under their belts, they’re connected and they know what they’re doing.”