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From Stacking Bullion to Rare Coins, Cards, Comics and Beyond with Long Island Silver himself.
Starting: This is the Coin It Podcast sponsored by “coincosmo.com”. Have fun like a collector. Think like an investor. Whether you're just a hobbyist or looking for an alternative investment with rare coins, paper money, NFTs, or art, your host Charles Jonath is covering it all. Now, your host, Charles Jonath.
Charles Jonath: So, we got Long Island silver, if I'm not mistaken, right?
Theo Foscolo: That's it. What's going on, man?
Charles Jonath: I like that dude. I like Long Island silver. It reminds me of Long John silver.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, right, Long John silvers, they still have those, I wonder. [crosstalk 00:00:41]
Charles Jonath: I think they do and in Illinois at least they do.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, I can see that.
Charles Jonath: They have, their fish was decent.
Theo Foscolo: Was it? I think I've ever been there.
Charles Jonath: Well, anything fried, I think it's okay.
Theo Foscolo: Anything fried is okay. Thanks for having me on your show man.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, it's a pleasure to have you on. I've been following you for quite a bit and looking at all your silver transactions and stuff like that, and rare coins, you're like, you do a bit of everything which is cool. You're doing Bullion obviously, but then also you're into ancients, foreign, US type stuff, I've seen on there. Some really cool coins. How did you get into all this stuff?
Theo Foscolo: Man, I don't even know where to start. So, I always kind of like collected, my grandfather had coins when I was a kid, but nothing crazy, the typical old grandpa stuff like, [00:01:34] with incomplete Mercury dimes, Wheat cents, Buffalo Nickels, stuff like that. When I was in my early 20s, I started buying silver just as a way not to spend my money, and I really got into I, and then I sold all my stuff when it spiked up to a $30 an ounce range by 10, 12 years ago. And then I fell out of it for a while, and about five years ago I'm on Instagram, and everybody was just getting on Instagram really, and I found this guy, Bentley Bullion, and I don't know if he's still around. He's not really active anymore but he's a private collector, and one of his posts just popped up in my feed. And I was like, "Oh what's this? I thought Instagram was models and full pictures."
Charles Jonath: Right, exactly.
Theo Foscolo: Because you don't know, right?
Theo Foscolo: Yes.
Charles Jonath: It's just, Instagram has these whole little, these…
Charles Jonath: Microcosms there.
Theo Foscolo: … yes exactly. Microcosms of communities. It's really neat. And then I just followed him and I went down the rabbit hole. I'm like, "Oh my God this stuff's so cool. I miss buying silver," and it got me back into collecting again.
Charles Jonath: Wow, that's great.
Theo Foscolo: And I honestly started selling it totally by accident. It was just on accident. I got into the community, the silver community, it was a lot smaller five years ago than it is now.
Charles Jonath: Well, online you mean?
Theo Foscolo: Online. Yeah, online silver community through Instagram, and I started becoming friends with people, and people were doing raffles and lives. I started doing the live auctions about little over four years ago. This is when Instagram was a really, really, really small group of people, and it just took off. I never realized that where I live, well, I knew it, but I didn't really know it until I started actively going out looking for Bullion and building relationships, is that New York is just like a hotbed for coin dealers.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, for years.
Theo Foscolo: Always has been, and it always will be. The West Coast is really big, California's like that too, sort of New York. You know what it is? It's just it's spread out. I talk about New York's a massive State, but when I say New York, I mean Long Island and the five boroughs and West Chester, right?
Charles Jonath: Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: I don't think Oneonta or Albany. I'm thinking within that little tight compact area.
Charles Jonath: I think it's even bigger because you have the Tri-State. You got, even Connecticut people come to the city to do some business every now and then and then North Jersey people.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, it's not just New York, it's Jersey, it's Connecticut, it's Pennsylvania. And New York in particular and Long Island in particular, there's a lot of really big players on Long Island within the coin business. And just, man, I accidentally just got into it. And then I started really getting into it. I hated the job I was at, and I just decided to light my life on fire about two months before. What was it? February. February before COVID, because then everything shut down. I remember St Patrick's Day, everything was closed. None of the bars were open on St Patrick's Day, right?
Charles Jonath: Right.
Theo Foscolo: And I quit my job, that February I went to the Long Beach Expo, I set up out there with MK Bars and yeah, I just quit my job and I started selling coins ffull-time. And that's it.
Charles Jonath: That's amazing.
Theo Foscolo: I've been a coin dealer ever since.
Charles Jonath: So, how are you liking it? What's going on? Like how was that whole process for you? It's a big transition.
Theo Foscolo: It is a big transition I've always really done sales. I came from the liquor industry so…
Charles Jonath: Oh, really okay.
Theo Foscolo: … Yeah, that was like my background for a long time. Probably like eight years before I really got into coins, I did a brand development, design, packaging, distribution, production, everything, and I went up working for a distributor for the last three years of my career in liquor.
Charles Jonath: Wow.
Theo Foscolo: So, sales is sales, it's sales. You know what I mean? It's just widgets man. So the transition of just selling one thing to another, that was easy, but I don't know anybody can sell. It's really about relationships in the industry.
Charles Jonath: Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: Really about relationships. I met some really great people along the way who kind of, not really kind of but really mentored me, and I've just been fortunate man, it's great, I love it.
Charles Jonath: That's awesome dude. That's great. So, it seems like you're doing a bit of everything. You're not just really Bullion, you got into more coins, how has that been for you, the numismatics versus the Bullion, and what do you like better?
Theo Foscolo: I don't like any of it more than the other. I think it's really, when you first get into coins especially if you're… I know a lot of people that are on social media they're really their first interaction of coins and Bullion through the internet. We talk about how spoiled we are living in big little metro areas where there's a huge density of coin dealers. But there's a lot of people that live in other states that they're three, four hours from their nearest coin shop, or there's no coin shows around there. So, you get your first taste online. And Bullion's really easy because it's simple. There's not a lot to explain about Bullion. It's the inflation hedge, blah, blah, blah, blah. It holds the value of your money [crosstalk 00:07:31]
Charles Jonath: It's a different currency.
Theo Foscolo: It's a different currency and that's easy for people to get. And then eventually, they're like, how many more Pac-Man coins or Silver Eagles am I going to buy? Well, what's up with that Alexander Tetradrachm? That's pretty cool. What's up with Morgan Dollars or whatever. And they get into something else and they eventually start collecting coins at some point. What I've seen from people and myself, it's just that natural progression. And you need the two. I don't like one more than the other. I think if you're talking like a balanced stack, if you're looking at your portfolio for your Bullion, your hedge portfolio, I think you want to have a pretty balanced stack of numismatics and of Bullion.
Charles Jonath: I agree.
Theo Foscolo: So, I think people that are not buying, they're like, "Oh, well, it's just a Morgan. It only melts at $23. Why is it 23,000 or that ancient coin or like you're missing a boat on potentially a lot of money down the line and a really great store of wealth. Silver can drop to $2 an ounce tomorrow at $23,000 Morgan, which only melts at about $23. Right now, that's not a $2 coin still. So, once people figure out that numismatics are a hedge for a hedge, they embrace a little.
Charles Jonath: They're less volatile. The market is less volatile. There's more consistency. The upside gains you're not going to really see unless you get lucky on buying a coin or you're able to be really advanced and pick a coin that's undergraded and potentially upgraded. If you remove that totally out of the equation, then you're not going to see the upside gains. But you're not going to see the downside crashes like you would in Bullion. Multiple times in my life I've seen Bullion crash 50%, multiple times.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah. Exactly. And the numismatic market over the last 20 years is pretty strong. And there's down market. It's like anything. It's like any industry. It's easy when people say, "Oh, the market goes down," and it's like, "Oh, it's the worst thing to put your money, blah, blah, blah," but when the market's hot, everybody loves it.
Charles Jonath: Well, it's like anything.
Theo Foscolo: It's like anything. And right now, numismatics like every other market, whether it would be books, sports cards, Pokémon cards, Rolex watches, it's outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 30 years, right?
Charles Jonath: Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: Every market's super-hot right now. Where it goes, I don't know.
Charles Jonath: I think over the last 10 years or whatever, Newmark Frank I think, even though they're involved in real estate they do publish these things on luxury assets, where they do reports. And they did a statistical analysis and I believe if I'm not mistaken, I think rare coins is second in gains in the last 10 years, only second to rare whiskey believe it or not.
Theo Foscolo: I believe it. I know all about the high end, that rare whiskey high-end booze market. It's big.
Charles Jonath: Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: People just want a place to put their money. That's not money.
Charles Jonath: It's wise to do. That's the thing. I always tell people, if you, let's say you own some property and then you have either a 401(k) or your own savings and stocks and bonds, whatever, at that point, if money still keeps coming in, it comes to the question of what are you going to do? You have to, going forward the way the future's going to be, you're going to have to have alternative investments. It's just the standard will not function the same for you depending upon a given person's needs. If you're still accumulating wealth and you're in that phase, you're going to need to look to certain alternative investments. You're not going to be able to just stick in the same vein.
If you're retired and you need dividend income or something like that, it's completely different. But going forward, you're going to need these things. It's just if you're younger and you're investing and you're really trying to save money in the smart way, that's going to help you to some sort of financial freedom. You're going to have to have some type of alternative investment.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, you have to. It's just, God, it's like the secrets of the rich that the rich don't tell the regular people. Look at art, okay. Just look at artwork, the high-end art world, there's a reason why rich people buy art. It's not because they want to hang it on their walls. There's financial and there's tax reasons and the way to move things around and assets, people buy art for a reason, people buy high-end assets for a reason.
Charles Jonath: Correct.
Theo Foscolo: I get made fun of because God it's so funny, coin people think anybody but coin people are dumb. Comic people think anybody but comic people are dumb. Same thing with card people, they all think you're putting your money into the wrong thing. But you should be putting your money into all of it.
Charles Jonath: Well, the thing is that, it's everyone's comfort zone is different.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah.
Charles Jonath: Like with me, I know numismatics very well. So, the majority of my assets, let's say, are numismatics because that's what I know. I'm very comfortable with it and it's done well for me over the years. So, it's not like when you know the market really well, you understand in particular the coins themselves really well. It just gets to that point where it's just more comfortable for me to do that. I do have some Bullion but I'm not… For me my own opinions on Bullion, I think it serves its purpose definitely, but I think I just don't the fact that there's so much going on right now in Bullion as far as… The issue becomes there's probably around 200 times the amount of derivatives as there is in the notion, which means there's many more derivatives to, that have control on the price of silver and gold as opposed to having the physical asset.
So, you can effectively change the price of silver and gold without ever having to transfer physical assets. So, right now given where the inflation is it's surprising to me that gold is still under $2,000 an ounce and silver is where somewhere in the mid-20s.
Theo Foscolo: 25, whatever, it just sits in this uninteresting number.
Charles Jonath: So, it's just bizarre to me. It's bizarre.
Theo Foscolo: None of it makes sense. It's just so clearly manipulated. Every market is manipulated. You talk about, oh Bitcoin, Bitcoin, it just the said, well that's probably the most manipulated market in the world. Look at price swings that you see. It's just market manipulation. Look at the price swings you see with gold and silver, that's what it is. It's just a manipulated market, and with all that's going on in the world, how is gold not $3,500 an ounce?
Charles Jonath: Right.
Theo Foscolo: How's silver not $50 an ounce? At least.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, people that hold physical are somewhat making up for it in the sense of they are charging high premiums. But then the question then becomes a client… Let's say you're from me who's like a dealer, or whatever, a client, and now also yourself, let's say a client comes to us and is like, "Well, I want to buy silver." But let's say now the premiums are $8 over the spot price, are you going to recommend that they get into it? That's the question.
Theo Foscolo: We talk about it all the time.
Charles Jonath: Historically yes, right. I mean but to pay $8 premium on a silver round. Not that long ago pre-pandemic we were selling silver rounds in the store for a buck over.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah. Dude, I remember. I was right at Long Beach Expo set up selling silver for like $180 for 10-ounce bars. It was ridiculous. And now look at it, it's Crazy. Even, and that's where it's like this big disconnect, because you see these huge premiums and customers think like it's just coin dealers trying to rob customers and be greedy. But it's not. So, a lot of people don't realize the cost of this stuff is insane. I was just talking about this at the shop. I'm at my house right now, I was at the shop early today, and it was like, the bid on Silver Eagles to buy them from a big wholesale dealer, one of the biggest in the countries. You who know they are if I said their name. You want to buy Silver Eagles, it's 13 and a quarter over. You as a customer can't buy from this company, and as a dealer, if you want to buy them for a customer, it's 13 and a quarter over is their sale price, that's Silver Eagles. That's insane.
Charles Jonath: That's insane.
Theo Foscolo: I literally said, I'm like, "Why would you buy a Silver Eagle?" It's the dumbest thing you could buy. Why would you buy a Silver Eagle?
Charles Jonath: Right.
Theo Foscolo: So now as a customer, you have to spend, and we're not getting them for 13 and quarter and charging 20 over, we're getting them for 13 and quarter charging a dollar over. It's a big outlay of money to make a couple of bucks an ounce to provide a service, it's terrible.
Charles Jonath: Well, you're buying future values. Okay, when you're paying that premium, you're going to assume that you already paid $13+ into the market.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah.
Charles Jonath: So, that's the thing. I love Bullion, and it definitely serves its purpose but it's getting confusing. I don't know really what to do. I just think that's why I sort of let… On our end we have two sides of the business, we have one the coin shop which does everything like, general collectibles, your grandpa's coin collection basically, and then Bullion obviously. Bullion does the majority of the business. But I shifted completely my focus on numismatics, because that's where my clients went and that's what I believed in and that I went down that direction. But I remember the last time I was really in involved in doing the Bullion transactions was just right after the pandemic, silver, I don't know if you remember this, but prices crashed really quickly.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, I remember.
Charles Jonath: And that day, I've mentioned this before to somebody I think but I'll say it again. It was like a telethon. Literally our phone was ringing off the hook. And people were calling us trying to buy silver, trying to buy silver, and I was calling up wholesalers who we had and they were hanging up the phone on me.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah.
Charles Jonath: No one was selling. They just said, "No, we're not selling right now." So, how is that going to work when a major wholesaler is like, "I'm sorry. There's nothing we can do. We're not selling anything until things make sense to us." Not that I blame them, they're sitting on tens of millions of dollars in inventory.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, and if they can't get it from their wholesalers. they're the guys buying it from the mints. And if you can't get it from the mint, where you going to get it from?
Charles Jonath: Exactly.
Theo Foscolo: People are running out to sell their Bullion. Yeah, it was a crazy time during COVID. It was it a bizarre. I remember going to meet this one-coin dealer and some old-school coin dealer who just does well, buys a lot of collections but he's like a coin show dealer. And he'd be like, "You want to meet me at the Dunkin Donuts parking lot. I would go and at the back of his coin shop, because he was just like, I got to buy a collection but I got no cash. I got to move stuff. He had no way to move stuff. It was just weird.
Charles Jonath: It's like the apocalypse, literally.
Theo Foscolo: It was. It was like an apocalypse. It was, man. I'm telling you; it was totally crazy. Well, I'm telling you, but yeah, it was bizarre. And now the market's like weird. It's a weird market like people are still buying Bullion but they're not, I don't know. It's weird. It's odd.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, it's recovered but not to the same, I think premiums are still a little bit high, but I don't think are they high. That's the thing, they're probably not. The price of silver is really higher, but the hard part is, if the spot price doesn't adjust to the market where it should be.
Theo Foscolo: That's the thing like spot price…
Charles Jonath: It's deceiving to customers.
Theo Foscolo: It is deceiving. It's like it's deceiving to new customers, because real customers know it doesn't matter. The real buyers, they just want to accumulate the metal. Whether it's silver it's gold, they don't want the cash.
Charles Jonath: Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: That's like the real buyers of Bullion know that. They're not nitpicking over, "Well, silver's $25. Why is it $30?" "Yeah, that's the street price man." I can't buy Bullion to be competitive as a dealer. Someone can't come into the shop and I offer like $3 behind spot. I can, but you can't. You know what I mean? You have to pay strong.
Charles Jonath: It's not right either.
Theo Foscolo: Well, it's not right, and it it's just not realistic. I don't know, if I have to buy it from a wholesaler and I'm I got to pay $1 over or a $1.50 over, right. Like, "Oh yeah, I get to rip this guy off," no I'm paying them real numbers, and you have to. So, it's like there's just a disconnect between the dealers and the customers. The customers don't understand. And they don't have to understand because that's not their problem to figure out how we're getting the metal.
Charles Jonath: Right.
Theo Foscolo: But that is the reality of it and spot price and street price, are two completely different things.
Charles Jonath: Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: I think you have to… No one's basing everybody wants to base metal price off of the number that the Kitco app tells them. They're not really thinking about the global aspect, what's going on in our country and our economy.
Charles Jonath: Physical, yeah.
Theo Foscolo: And that's the physical aspect of it. People aren't getting it. Well, they get it, but it's just, I don't know. What are you going to do? End of the day, silver's $30 an ounce. Me personally, as a dealer, I'm not going to sell you solar for less than $30 an ounce. Maybe I will. Maybe 28, 29, but it's just, that's the value, that's the price of silver.
Charles Jonath: Right.
Theo Foscolo: It is.
Charles Jonath: It's just is what it is and everyone has to readjust to the market. I think it's good. You got to have some silver and gold. It definitely has its purposes. As another currency, it's internationally exchangeable, you can take it around the world and get any currency you want, paper currency.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, exactly, and that's the… People's ideas of what a good hold of value is changing too over the past couple of years since COVID. I think that was a big, it was the driving force of a lot of the collectible markets to explode, and had other people look at different ways and storing their money. I think having a little bit of everything's good.
Charles Jonath: Well, the crypto-
Theo Foscolo: It's like you want to talk about something being exchangeable going anywhere in the world, put a Rolex on your wrist. You can put 15,000 right on your wrist and go right through customs and go to another country.
Charles Jonath: I always say it's the same thing with a coin, you could fit a slab in your pocket and that coin could be worth over a million dollars.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah. And silver's heavy. Gold's less heavy, but silver's really heavy. It's actually like, we had a robbery not at our shop but at the coin show, there's a local coin show twice a month in Long Island. It was yesterday and someone got gold stolen from them, because no one wanted to grab this box of silver, With gold, you can walk out with a quarter-million dollars in cash.
Charles Jonath: It happens all the time, man.
Theo Foscolo: You can't carry a quarter-million dollars in silver. I don't care how strong you think you are, you can't do it.
Charles Jonath: You really have to be careful at these shows.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, you do. And this wasn't, this there was zero violence. It was just the guy was being watched and they waited for the slip up at the end and a little slide of hand distraction, and the guy just pick up the box and walked out of the showroom.
Charles Jonath: Yeah. These are dangers of being a dealer, especially doing these smaller local shows, although it could happen at big shows but they tend to target smaller shows. And even coin shops. In California, there was a dealer in Fremont who was leaving out the back and he was walking to his car they just shot him in the back ahead and took his briefcase. I don't even think there was anything in there.
Theo Foscolo: It sounds old.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, it's just crazy, you have to really be careful.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, you have to. It's just one of those things, I guess. We just talk about it today, because this guy's a friend of ours who got the money stolen from him, and it's… When you go to a coin show, it's a room full of easy marks. Most of the guys are in their late 70s, half senile, I don't know. I don't know how it doesn't happen more often honestly, but it's terrible.
Charles Jonath: He didn't have carry insurance or anything like that, no, right?
Theo Foscolo: He's a major refiner. I'm sure he's got it figured out but yeah, that was it. It wasn't even, he just went to the bathroom, had one of the dealers watch the table and the guy had the girl with him distract the guy and du du du, and then he just went over and picked up a box and walked out, and that was it.
Charles Jonath: That's crazy. That's sad.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, it is sad. It's terrible. And of course, they have video footage of it, of the inside and post-COVID, you can still wear a mask. It's not weird to wear a mask indoors. It's still your choice, you can do that if you want.
Charles Jonath: No yeah.
Theo Foscolo: That's just the new normal, I guess.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, it is.
Theo Foscolo: Go on a mask and go steal a quarter-million dollars in golden platinum Bullion and walk out, and just run away.
Charles Jonath: No one finds it suspicious anymore.
Theo Foscolo: No one finds it suspicious anymore. Can you imagine going into your bank two, three years ago?
Charles Jonath: With a mask.
Theo Foscolo: … and a face shield, are you kidding me?
Charles Jonath: It's crazy.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, I know it is crazy. But yeah, you got to be careful as a coin dealer, you definitely do. We keep it low-key.
Charles Jonath: That's for sure. So, where is your shop? You're in Sayville, right?
Theo Foscolo: Yeah so, I'm in Sayville. So, in my journeys of making my way as a coin dealer, I met this guy Chris, who's actually a really great guy. I hit him up. He's a Long Island coin on Instagram.
Charles Jonath: Long Island okay.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, you should totally talk to him and do an interview with him, and he has the shop. I met him about 4 years ago to buy some silver. I went spending almost three hours in there with the guy and we became really good friends. He opened the door that was a room with other doors in it for me. He really showed me the ropes and brought me two like my first coin show, brought me around with him, and I made a lot of really great relationships within the coin business because of him. And he's just like, "Why don't you come in?" Two years ago, he's like, "Why don't you just come in and split the shop up and take over part of the shop and just operate your business out of it?" So, that's what I've been doing.
Charles Jonath: That's great.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah. So, we just have this shared shop which is nice and then we go to coin shows together and do all that good stuff. We stay busy.
Charles Jonath: Very cool, man. Very cool.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah.
Charles Jonath: So, I've seen your, it seems like you're getting into ancients, is that right or no?
Theo Foscolo: I like everything, man. I like everything. Anything that's cool. If you go to a big coin show or even a crappy coin show, there's so much cool stuff there. How do you not find ancient coins interesting and anything else?
Charles Jonath: Right The history is just amazing.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, it's cool. Yeah, they're cool. I love ancients. Ancients are great. And then you got to look at the markets too. It's so easy just talk about Bullion and boring American numismatics, but let's talk about the ancient market over the past few years, how much that's exploded. Even though the coin market itself is hot but there's these little sectors with the coin market that are really hot, and ancients are hot, world coins all-
Charles Jonath: It's getting there.
Theo Foscolo: It's getting there.
Charles Jonath: Ancients took all, you know what happened? It was really actually a popular market in the 70s, I believe. Then they found so many Roman coins. They started making a lot of discoveries and they dumped a lot of Roman inventory on the market. It really drove down prices and I think it scared a lot of people off of ancients, except for the hardcore ancient people for a long period of time. But now that things have flushed out, they're not doing as many excavations anymore, and you're starting to see like little microcosms flush out like where the real rare stuff is in the ancients and what's not.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, and now people at this point they know the basic stuff and then the really special coins. They're just like standouts in the market. And then you have grading services NGC and Annex, they're both great ancients too. I think that a lot of… I have a customer, a really good customer, and he likes ancients but his question is always like, 'Oh but are they real?" But he likes them raw. He doesn't want them in holders. He's like, "I hate getting them in the holders but are they real? That they're not."
Charles Jonath: Interesting.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, it's interesting but people are just… He's not a customer who's buying a $150 ancient, he'd want maybe a big coin. He's a big buyer. So he wants to know what he's getting is authentic and valid, right?
Charles Jonath: He's got to get over that psychology of having it in a holder.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah. No it's a valid concern but I say to him like, "You know what, NGC doesn't get it right, a lot of the times either. So, I'm sure there's plenty of fake non-genuine ancients in NGC holders. I'm sure there are.
Charles Jonath: Well, here's the thing, believe it or not, these grading agencies are very good about if they do make a mistake. I've seen them make good on it, which is crazy.
Theo Foscolo: They would.
Charles Jonath: And NGC for ancients is, buy none.
Theo Foscolo: That's it.
Charles Jonath: They have a really good staff there that does ancients. And the degree to which they classify them based on the restoration techniques. all that's noted now on the new holders. So, if there's heavy brush marks, they'll state that there's brush marks.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, but you know what though, that's like, I hate that they do that. Me personally, I hate that they… These are like… Because none of these coins, all ancient coins are cleaned, right?
Charles Jonath: Right, yeah. Well, they're restored in some sort of fashion.
Theo Foscolo: Well, yeah, they come out of the ground, they're covered in rock. They look like junk. They're all restored. So, I don't know the marks like, I don't know, that bothers me they do that, but they do a good job, NGC. It's the only option. PCGS doesn't do it.
Charles Jonath: Well, the crazy thing is like the gold stuff that comes out of the ground it's amazing how gold is an amazing metal, man.
Theo Foscolo: The gold is beautiful out of the ground.
Charles Jonath: Right. Yeah, the bronze stuff, and of course, yeah.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, the gold, the gold looks awesome. I love gold ancients. I like ancients. I like everything. I went to the fun show, I spend more on cards than I did coins when I was there.
Charles Jonath: Did you really? That's blowing up now. It's a huge thing.
Theo Foscolo: You know what man? The coin market is so high right now. It's very expensive to buy coins, right?
Charles Jonath: Yes.
Theo Foscolo: The coin market's hot, everybody knows it, and the dealers all know it's hot, and it's expensive to buy coins, so you got to look for other, I don't know, other places where you can make money. I bought a Jordan rookie. I bought a Jordan rookie card from the PSA holder at the fun show. I did. I tell you I spent more on cards that I did coins there.
Charles Jonath: That's crazy. So how did you get into that? Did you just start reading about cards?
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, I like a lot of different things man. I'm like a Renaissance man. I like it all.
Charles Jonath: You sit there and study this stuff, right?
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, I just think things are interesting. I've always loved comics. I've always loved cards. Growing up I collected more cards and comics than I did coins. There's no coin shop. I grew up in Eastern Long Island and there's no such thing as a coin shop where I lived. There was card places and comic places, that's where I grew up. And yeah, why leave money on the table, right?
Charles Jonath: Yeah, I get it. A lot of guys I remember from when I was a kid used to do both. They'd buy coins but then they did a lot of baseball cards and football cards and stuff like that. When I was a kid it big. You'd go in there and buy the tops and then they put the piece of gum in them, cabbage patch kid’s cards. I'm dating myself now but.
Theo Foscolo: No, but it's funny, all that stuff though is, especially the baseball cards, they're just valueless now, the stuff from the 80s. Major League Baseball, stuff from the 80s and 90s is-
Charles Jonath: So common, yeah.
Theo Foscolo: So common. It's so chunked, and the same thing with the comics too.
Charles Jonath: Well, they made tons of it. That's what happened.
Theo Foscolo: Tons of it. Everybody thought they're going to be worth tons of money, everybody over bought them, I can't even tell you how many sealed boxes of stuff like that I've seen in just mint condition like '90s error Superman comics, tons of it out there. But that market's crazy. I even had Heritage auction catalog for comics from 2001, and if you saw the prices of these books based off of what they're going for now, if you can even find those books in those high of grades anymore, you would have take gotten a time machine and you would have bought every book you could have. It's insane
All those markets, they just keep going up and up and up. And I just think over the next few years especially, I don't think you going to see a huge collapse in these alternative asset markets. Because it is not a comic, it's not a coin it's an asset, it's an alternative asset. And this day and age people are just very quick to look at for other routes a place to put money. I think anything. I think anything, but the dollar is a good choice honestly.
Charles Jonath: It seems to be that way, right.
Theo Foscolo: I think so.
Charles Jonath: You know what I wanted to ask you, how about in the early, the classic value cards like Mickey Mantle and all that stuff? Is that stuff really crazy now or?
Theo Foscolo: It's just like what they… Is it crazy like well is $30 an ounce premium silver crazy it's what the market is. The market on any of that stuff is on anything is what people are willing to pay for it. I think people are again looking for different stores of value. They're going to pay top dollar for the highest grade of a mantle rookie, they're going to pay the top dollar for that and that card's not going to come back out in auction for probably a really long time.
Charles Jonath: Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: I think a lot of the more modern cards like the Luka Doncic cards and the Zions, those things are all going to tank because there was a lot of that hype market going on and really exploding these modern cards. But the big cards like the mantle rookies and the Jordan rookies and the really key cards, I think they're always going to be high. I don't think the prices are ever going to crash on those things.
Charles Jonath: That's a great point. So, I think that's really sort of be. If you're going to dabble in that area, you want to buy things that have been collected that have market proof. You know what I mean? Especially if you're going to put a lot of money into it.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, it's a lot of money. Even like a low-grade one's a ton of money, but I think there's a good money to make in the low-grade cards. Because I don't think… I think a lot of these higher-grade prime examples are going to get gobbled up and they're going to get just put away. Like I have a friend who's really into comics as a collector and he just sold a Batman number one. Probably a couple of months ago he sold a Batman Number One like a 1.5 really low grade. Really super valuable book, and the guy who bought it is just a guy who collects Batman number ones. That book is never going to see the light of day again.
Charles Jonath: Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: You know what I mean?
Charles Jonath: They’re selling it.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, they're selling, and then the people that are buying these books, they're like a guy who's just buying Batman Number Ones. He's the collector. He wants to own the that market. That book is not going to see the light of day for a very long time.
Charles Jonath: So that's interesting you said that because that's what we're seeing in coins. It seems to be a collector-driven market, and not a lot of people yet coming in outside.
Theo Foscolo: No, because it's hard man. It's just hard. It's hard and it's not, like if you look at Instagram pages for instance of coin community versus card community, I have I don't know 12,000 followers on Instagram, these card people have like 100,000 followers.
Charles Jonath: Right. It's just more popular.
Theo Foscolo: It's more popular. You go to like an ANA which is just a big room of people that are like half dead, and then you go to like a big card show in Dallas or the one is you in Atlantic City and it's sexy. There's girls walking around, there’re athletes doing autographs. ANA’s got a guy who's a Ben Franklin impersonator walking around. It's just not mainstream attractive and sexy. It has no sex appeal to it and that's the problem with coins. How do you change that? Well, I don't know. I don't think you can. But it's just the markets are two completely different things. I don't see either of them going away anytime soon.
Charles Jonath: It's sad but true. I think that's the big part of it. It's the general overall appeal. But I think a lot of people just don't know about coins. They're just not educated about. It's surprising because I've had this conversation before, but going back to, I think, tone coins now are bringing in a new audience that otherwise… People that I know that don't care for coins or know nothing or have no interest in coins. They're like, "Coins, what are you talking about?" But then you show them a beautifully toned coin, like a real nice barber proof or something like that, they're like, "Wow." And then no coins could look like that. So, it tends to draw them in and then they ask more questions and stuff like that.
Theo Foscolo: People, they're just not exposed to it and it's like anything. If people are exposed to so much you can like choose to do what you want to do with your money. They had to make that choice. But once people are exposed, my best friend. I went and stayed with him in California a few years ago and I went and saw MK Bars in LA and I came back and I had all this stuff. He's like, ‘What were you doing with your internet friend in Northridge?’ I'm like, ‘What?’ I'm like, "Let me show you." He thought I was going to get kidnapped by some guy on the internet, right?
Charles Jonath: Oh shit.
Theo Foscolo: And I opened up my case and it was all this silver and he's like, "This is the coolest thing I've ever seen."
Charles Jonath: Nice.
Theo Foscolo: He's like, "Kai, I want this." I'm like, "Well, you can't have this." He's like, "I'm going to a coin show in Anaheim tomorrow." He's like, "Let me give you 500 bucks and just buy me stuff." I'm like, "Yeah sure." And since then, he's like a regular customer. And he's gotten into numismatics eventually, and I never sold him on it. He would just see stuff posted like, "Oh, what's that about? That thing's cool. Oh, I like this." And eventually, you just get a lot of Bullion. What am I going to do with all this Bullion? I need a bigger safety. It's freaking heavy. What do I do with that?
Charles Jonath: Well, it goes back to what you were saying, man. So people start deviating, if you get into Bullion what's the next, then now you see like, "Well, I'm going to buy solar bars. Well, there's these old-school vintage solar bars that are cool." Now you opened up a whole new can of worms.
Theo Foscolo: A whole new can of worms. There are different rabbit holes for every rabbit hole in the coin community. It's crazy. And you can go hobo nickels like whatever. You can just go collect anything. It's insane. People need to be exposed to it. And I think Instagram does a good job with it. But it's more than just collecting something. You got to really want to do it. It's like anything. You got to really get into it. And it's difficult. It's hard to get into. It is. It's not easy. Cards are easy. Comics are easy. Coins aren't.
Charles Jonath: It takes time. I haven't… I had this since I was a kid.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah.
Charles Jonath: It takes time. You can't know it all. That's the thing. Even someone that's been around it a long time, I don't know, the world of coins, there's so much stuff. I have no idea, just a whole other area.
Theo Foscolo: And it's a whole another massive market of the coin industry.
Charles Jonath: Massive market, yeah.
Theo Foscolo: Huge.
Charles Jonath: The world of coins is huge. Have you ever been to the World coin and Ancient coin show? It's right in your backyard, it's in New York City. I think it was just that…
Theo Foscolo: I love that show. I haven't been there since COVID, but yeah that was one of my favorite shows of the year. I used to love going to that show man.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, it's crazy. That's like the biggest thing for Ancients and World coins here I think in the States, if I'm not mistaken.
Theo Foscolo: I think it is like the biggest Ancient World coin show in the country.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, I think so. That ANA world, the ANA International in the Money Show or whatever.
Theo Foscolo: Oh yeah, but that's in is which… Well, they do that in the States, that's international.
Charles Jonath: It's a different State. I think they choose a different one. It's the international one, and they do big show.
Theo Foscolo: They haven't had that in a couple of years, so I don't think no. Maybe I'm wrong.
Charles Jonath: Last year, I don't know if they did or they didn't. This year it's going to be in Rosemont in Illinois. It's going to be in August.
Theo Foscolo: Oh, just the ANA show, not in particular like…
Charles Jonath: Well, ANA does two shows. They do the big one and then they do the smaller one that's like the money show.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, the big ones in Rosemount.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, this year it's going to be in Rosemont.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, got you.
Charles Jonath: It switches up. One year was like in Anaheim California. Another year in Philadelphia. They changed the cities, I think.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, it's like there's not a ton of shows. It's been weird too with COVID getting all the dealers back into the country also. Even I remember fun show this year was weird, right?
Charles Jonath: I didn't go this year.
Theo Foscolo: Not weird, it was still like a massive show. It's like a huge coin show but there was a lot of people not there. Their world section was just very small compared to two years ago. And I didn't go to the national show in Manhattan either this year, but I heard it was weird and it was expensive for dealers. The tables and everything, you have to like stay at the hotel that the shows in. It's like this whole thing that costs a fortunate.
Charles Jonath: Getting crazier now. Like with ticket prices, the air tickets, because of gas.
Theo Foscolo: It's insane, man. It's insane. The travel for all that stuff is like, even just doing it domestically it, I don't know how many shows you do but we do a lot of shows man, it's just expensive. It's crazy. We drove to the Baltimore show two weeks ago, just gas alone was crazy
Charles Jonath: How was that show by the way?
Theo Foscolo: It was great. Yeah, it was a great show.
Charles Jonath: It usually is a good one, the [crosstalk 00:43:55].
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, like all those shows are so funny though the big national shows, it's really like a bunch of coin dealers are all friends with each other and they're all buying and selling coins to one another. And then they're all gone by Saturday. They all leave Friday and Saturday half the dealers are gone, and you get a little retail, it's weird.
Charles Jonath: It's crazy how that works.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, but the show's great man. I picked up some great coins. Yeah, the coin market's just hot right now, dude. It's hot. People are definitely buying coins right now.
Charles Jonath: I don't think there's any turning back for a while.
Theo Foscolo: No, it's not. I just don't see, we tapper all the markets, everybody's like the Rolex market, "Oh, it's going to crash." No, it's not. It's not. I have an explorer too on my wrist. Not to like, "Whoa, look at my watch but it's worth now a price that I would never in a million years pay the amount of money it's worth now from when I bought it four years ago.
Charles Jonath: Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: And I don't think the watch is going to go back to that pre-pandemic level. It it's just not. It's just all goes back to globally. Look at inflation, what's your dollar worth?
Charles Jonath: Yeah, that's what it is.
Theo Foscolo: That's what it is.
Charles Jonath: Inflation's a big thing and then the pandemic obviously kicked that into hyperdrive. But I can't say particularly for these other markets, but coming from the coin market that I know better a lot better obviously, juts I'm looking at the dynamics the fundamentals of the market. And I don't see the fundamentals there leading to a bubble. There are no fundamentals that are justifying a bubble right now. If that changes, then obviously I'd come out and say that but I'd be planning differently, and more in the selling mode, but now I'm just more in the buying mode. Buying's getting more difficult because with our market specifically, there's just not a lot of great inventory. You know what I mean?
It's going to be crazy. Now with these apps where you build registry sets and then track your coins on an app essentially. And then they update the price guides, and I think it's going to get to a point where it almost becomes like the market, once new auctions come in, they're going to send you notifications, "Yeah, your registry has gone up by $3,000," or whatever. And then the flight to quality is just going to get, the quality coins just keep going up and going up, and then all the generic stuff is just going to, the premiums on it will go get squished basically.
Theo Foscolo: Premiums are going to get squished and then the quality coins will get bought up. And then they'll be traded between dealers and dealers and they'll eventually just end up in these collectibles.
Charles Jonath: Well, yeah, these high-net-worth individuals that are trying to build big collections and compete with each other. And then they're not going to sell. They want to have the number one collection. If you're going to collect barber half dollars, you know what I mean? You want to have the best set.
Theo Foscolo: You want to have the best set, yeah. Which I always tell people buy the best coin you can in the grade. Whatever coin you want to buy, buy the best grade you can because eventually, you're not going to be able to find them. It's going to get gobbled up and collected.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, that's what happens. That's what's going on in our market right now.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, the whole market is, I know it's like a really interesting time we live in I think aside from coins, it's crazy. It is totally crazy. And I don't really… Yeah, I see the generic market taking a hit probably at some point and that's across the board. That's any form of collectibles, but just the primo stuff is going to stay premium, man.
Charles Jonath: Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: Every year some another coin goes up or a comic or a card and everybody goes, "Oh could you believe what that went for?" It's like, "Yeah, you have to believe what it went for." That's ridiculous. That's too high. It's like, "Well, why are you collecting then? Don't you want to see your market?" They were like, whatever your niche is, don't you want to see it continue to go for record numbers?
Charles Jonath: Right.
Theo Foscolo: Wouldn't you want to get out of something that you're seeing the top examples of that go for less and less money every year? Why would you want to put money into that industry?
Charles Jonath: Well, dude, I tell people that come to the shows. I said there and there's a big problem in our industry of what people call rare. So, everyone says, "Well, this is a rare coin."
Theo Foscolo: Rare coins aren't rare. That's what I tell people.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, but here's the thing. I tell them I said like, "You're at a show now. There's," especially a show like Long Beach where there's like 800 dealers, I said, "If you go around and everyone has coins like that in their case," it's not rare, right. But if you have a coin like this that go find it in another dealer's case count how many dealers have this coin and you tell me.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, exactly.
Charles Jonath: So, just getting a simple education about this stuff can really make a big difference. When you're coming into this market, you want to be a smart buyer. I always recommend you work with someone who's an expert on it. And then you do all the research. You have to do the homework. You can't just walk into this blindly and expect you're going to buy anything and it's going to work. It doesn’t work that way.
Theo Foscolo: No, it doesn't work that way, and unfortunately, I think when a lot of collectors get started, people just like having stuff. It's the same reason why people buy like gram gold but won't save the money and buy an ounce of gold. You want to buying a bunch of grams and you're averaging out of 3,500 an ounce of gold.
Charles Jonath: Paying high premiums.
Theo Foscolo: Right, with the premiums, right? So, you just want to have like all this stuff in your hands, but it cost you too much money. Because nobody wants to just wait and then pay the 2,100 or whatever for gold. I'd rather just buy the gram. Little gram, stack at gram by gram. Well, I guess. You want to average out really high and then not get anywhere close to what you paid when it comes time to sell, then go for it. But yeah, people just like stuff. Nobody, and I tell this to people all the time. I said, "Why don't you save your money and buy the better coin?"
Charles Jonath: Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: "Well, I want this now." I'm like, "I know you want this now, but you're better off buying the better coin or buying a higher-grade card or the higher-grade comic."
Charles Jonath: It’s worth it.
Theo Foscolo: Because that stuff's always easy to sell. That's what everybody, they get scared and they don't want to get stuck on, and nobody wants to get stuck in their money especially if you're looking for a liquid asset, right. But the good stuff's always easy to sell. Someone's always going to buy the good stuff and pay strong on it.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, it's true.
Theo Foscolo: They're always going to.
Charles Jonath: Yeah. Especially these days, I feel like there's no issue in selling coins.
Theo Foscolo: No, there's not. And if people are coming in and you're not offering top dollar for what's coming in over the counter, you're just a dirtbag, I guess.
Charles Jonath: Well, just people are not going to sell. The people that are going to have…
Theo Foscolo: Customers are smarter now. Sellers off the street are smarter because they can Google everything. And most of the time they Google the wrong information and genuinely think like a coin that's worth 2 cents is worth like 10,000. We get that over the counter a lot.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, that happen.
Theo Foscolo: I can tell you right now, none of them are bringing us in 10,000 pennies, right?
Charles Jonath: There's a guy on Etsy that's doing that. So, there's someone on Etsy, you know that website Etsy?
Theo Foscolo: Yeah.
Charles Jonath: Where literally they're taking change. They're taking wheat pennies, like a 1948 wheat penny, which is double the face value, let's say, it's worth two cents.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah.
Charles Jonath: And then he puts on Etsy for like $10,000.
Theo Foscolo: Really? Are people buying it?
Charles Jonath: So, when you start googling rare coins and stuff like that, guess what comes up? Etsy is a big site, boom, these things come up and then people are like, "Oh my God, I have that coin in grandpa's old box."
Theo Foscolo: And then as the big guy in the coin shop, you look like the crook.
Charles Jonath: Sometimes, some people you just have to explain to them but a lot of times, yeah, they're like, "Listen, we have a very rare penny." Like, "Okay, what which one is it?" "Yeah, it's in 1948." I'm like, "Come on." And I have to explain to them, and they're like, "No, we Googled it." And they're right. They did.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, they Googled.
Charles Jonath: That's the thing. There are these misleading things.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, there are the misleading things. But for the most part, people have an idea now. And yeah, it's just you got…
Charles Jonath: Well, sometimes when you when they walk in and you could sell them a role of wheat pennies from the 40s for $3.
Theo Foscolo: People like that stuff.
Charles Jonath: Then they get it. You know what I mean? They're like, "Oh, okay."
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, then they get it. People don't get it though. It's fine. They'll get it eventually. But I like the market. I don't think the market's going anywhere. I think it's staying around for a while man. It's been around longer than me and you, I don't think it's going to…
Charles Jonath: That's for sure, yeah. It'll be here after us too.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, definitely. And it's always good for… I'm always happy when like my friends start putting money into Bullion. I always tell them I said, "You don't have to buy this from me." I'm like, "There's a thousand places you can buy Bullion from, I just want you to be buying it."
Charles Jonath: Right.
Theo Foscolo: Don't think about the price, just buy it and forget about it. That's it. And eventually, you're averaged out where you're like, "You know what? Yeah, they're right. The price never really mattered to begin with."
Charles Jonath: Well, one cool thing is, why I feel so confident in saying this stuff is because I'm third-generation. I grew up in a coin shop, and then I still have clients that my grandfather was servicing and I see them now. So, I've seen the end result.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah.
Charles Jonath: It's like having time window into the future, I've seen the end result, I've seen what happened of saving in Bullion and numismatics over the last 30+ years, right?
Theo Foscolo: Numismatics, God, you find the right Bullions 30 years ago, what they're worth now, it’s insane.
Charles Jonath: But back then they were expensive. That's the thing. Go back in the red books they were paying, to them it was expensive still, numismatics. Great coins have always been expensive.
Theo Foscolo: The good stuff always costs money. That's the reality of it. And then eventually the bad stuff at some point maybe it's worth nothing or it creeps up and then the market shifts. You don't know.
Charles Jonath: Right.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, you just don't know. You just hope they don't keep opening up bank vaults with American gold coins from Europe or Morgan's or something like that because that's never good for the market now is it. But we'll see.
Charles Jonath: Well, there was always the worry about that with the 20s and stuff like that. But I don't even deal in the generic gold stuff. I am not into that. But that's a huge market which people collect crazy. I feel like a lot of the dealers deal in that stuff regularly, they're so active in dealing in that stuff.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, they do. I don't like it. I don't like the generic gold like that. It doesn't do anything.
Charles Jonath: It's just not what I recommend. It's a whole other thing. I'm not saying it's bad or it's good. I really don't know the dynamics of the…
Theo Foscolo: It's just a lot of money for nothing. You might as well just buy Bullion.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, that's how I feel. If you're teetering on the line of Bullion, now the premiums are getting higher again on the old US gold. And they're partly right when they say, "Look, they're not going to be making any more of them," which is great. But I do feel that you have to look at the fundamentals of markets. A couple of years ago when the premiums were virtually nothing on $20 gold pieces, I thought it was a great time to buy $20 gold pieces. Because if you could buy them for Bullion and they're old gold like that it's great, buy them. But as the premiums go up, I don't know if it becomes worth it anymore.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, I think I agree with you on that. It's definitely less attractive when the premiums go up on those. You buy them from old buy them but I they don't do anything for me personally.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, that's another thing, the subjectivity in coin collecting too. Everyone's got the real preferences, right?
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, that's it. Every dealer is, you can go in different dealers’ cases and you know what you're into. Most dealers is just into what they're into and they're not. So, you just got to pick and choose who you want to deal with for what you want to buy, I guess, right?
Charles Jonath: Right. No. So, are you selling all online these days? Do you have a website or?
Theo Foscolo: No, I do Instagram, eBay, a lot of eBay still.
Charles Jonath: eBay.
Theo Foscolo: People love to trash eBay but it's still a great resource to sell coins or really anything. And then the shop and then the coin shows, that's it.
Charles Jonath: That's awesome, man. So, what's on the few for you. What do you want to do more of more shows, more eBay, more Instagram?
Theo Foscolo: Probably less Instagram. Actually, I don't know. I've been questioning that. I've been asking myself this a lot lately over the past few months, I'm not sure actually to be determined.
Charles Jonath: Really?
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, to be determined. I've been thinking about it a lot lately and expanding and yeah, to be determined. I got a lot of things of processing right now. But yeah, staying in the coin industry in the collectibles market, that's for sure.
Charles Jonath: Oh yeah.
Theo Foscolo: I love it. I can't really see myself doing anything else.
Charles Jonath: Yeah. You're in love with it now. That's it.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, I'm in love with fishing. Having a job sucks. Nobody wants to have a job.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, I guess it depends on the person, but you got to anytime you do you can make a living out of something that you're passionate about, I think it's great.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah.
Charles Jonath: That's a wonderful opportunity someone can have in their life.
Theo Foscolo: I've always had an interest obsession with cool stuff. And I just love it. I love being around interesting things. I love being around interesting people. I love the people I've met in the coin business. They always are saying, "If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room." And since I've been in coins, I'm never the smartest person in the room anymore and I like that. I like that. I've met a lot of really interesting people in coins and yeah, man. I love the industry. I truly do. It's really great. Great people, just everything about it, I do love the coin industry. So I'm in it but I don't know what the next step is. I have no idea. I don't know.
Charles Jonath: Just keep doing what you're doing man. You're doing great. You're right on the money with everything. Your prices are good, you're really good. You're doing really well out there.
Theo Foscolo: I'm trying man. I'm trying. It's a grind though. It's like anything. It's a grind. It's a lot of work. It's a lot of work. I'm going to New Hampshire this weekend for a big show in Manchester, New Hampshire. It's like yeah, it's a lot.
Charles Jonath: It always is. It's the thing. Being in business for yourself, you're working a lot. That's the way it goes. That's the tradeoff. There's no, when I'm done with work, I go home. There's no like, "Oh, it's Friday." You could be working Saturday.
Theo Foscolo: I was just talking stuff it's Friday, you're talking about stay in the shop about Fridays, and people are excited for Fridays. I'm never excited for Friday. I'm like no one gives me a check anymore on Friday.
Charles Jonath: Right, exactly.
Theo Foscolo: And now it's just like the weekend. Like, "Oh God, what do I do?" It's Monday.
Charles Jonath: Right. That's the thing. That's having a businessman. When you're in business for yourself it's constant. There's no turning it off.
Theo Foscolo: No, you can't.
Charles Jonath: When you go on vacation you really got to plan ahead of time. I have to really plan that stuff out and make sure everything's covered for and this task is going to get done. It's a big thing.
Theo Foscolo: It is a big thing. Even when I go on vacation, I always have cash on me, because I always look for coins.
Charles Jonath: Do you really?
Theo Foscolo: I swear to God. I don't travel, it's like within the United States, because there's coin shops everywhere.
Charles Jonath: It's so true, yeah.
Theo Foscolo: Well, all over the place.
Charles Jonath: Great ones too. Sometimes really cool stuff you can find. And that's one thing, you guys are lucky on the East Coast, because you have the I-95 and they take you through multiple cities, you can find random coin shops. In the Southern United States, you’d be surprised what you could find.
Theo Foscolo: It's what gave me epiphany to leave my job and do coins full time. I was at my cousin's wedding a few years ago, three years ago, and my daughter was the flower girl. So, she was getting ready with my mom, doing the whole hair and everything, and I'm like, "Well, what am I going to do? I can't be in here. I got to go." So I just got in the car and I within the matter of an hour and a half between going to three different places I found a legit coin shop in Aurora, New York. It's like the Hudson Valley of Buffalo in the middle of nowhere, I went to some outdoor flea market, they said, "Go to this jeweler," I met this jewelry. He says, "No, go to this jewelry store down over there, make a left, da da da." And I found this coin shop/jewelry store in the middle of way the hell upstate New York, and I was like, "Oh my god, there's treasure everywhere." It's all over the place.
Charles Jonath: That’s the way it is.
Theo Foscolo: I spent like a few thousand dollars with this guy, and it was a lot at the time, because metal prices are so cheap. I bought a ton of stuff from this guy and I'm like, "Yo, there really is just coins all over the place. You just have to find them."
Charles Jonath: I could do this.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, I could do this. Yeah. And it's funny then COVID happens and then I didn't go out like treasure hunting nearly as much as I planned to do. Because it was just so weird, the way things were, you couldn't really go anywhere I guess. But yeah, the stuff's out there, man. The stuff is definitely out there and you just got to find it. It's there. It's there. Now, I got to go on a road trip. I haven't been on a road trip in forever.
Charles Jonath: Really? You're going for work or?
Theo Foscolo: Maybe. I don't know. We'll see.
Charles Jonath: You never know, right? You're going to stop into some coin shops, I'm sure.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, but it's why I always have cash on me. You have to. Anytime I go anywhere, you can always buy coins. You got to. Because you never know what you're going to find. There's always cool stuff. It's funny _00:03:10_
Charles Jonath: That's cool, man.
Theo Foscolo: … but then when I go to California, and I used to go there more than I do now. But I used to say, "Oh man, I love coin shows, and out in California, this stuff is so much better. It's like regionally when you start buying medals in different parts of the country, you see there's just different things that pop up regionally.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, it's so true yeah.
Theo Foscolo: Totally different coins. We'll go to the New Hampshire show, and it's like there's going to be a ton of commands, there's going to be a ton of like colonial stuff, and all that kind of stuff like that, and then you go out to California and it's like killer vintage bullying and cow gold, and it's like a totally different thing.
Charles Jonath: Totally different thing.
Theo Foscolo: Totally different thing.
Charles Jonath: That's the local variety, right. Like the local ass heirs and stuff that were out there.
Theo Foscolo: And those, again, all the guys out there probably roll their eyes like, "Oh I'm so tired of seeing the same coins over and over again."
Charles Jonath: It's true. That happens all the time and they're like, "Oh man the East Coast is where it's happening."
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, well it is. For numismatics, it's definitely happening on the East Coast and it's definitely happening on the West Coast.
Charles Jonath: And the Southern East too, like Georgia, Florida.
Theo Foscolo: Florida's massive for it, Texas was massive. Yeah, definitely like heavy hitters, East Coast and the West Coast but not much in the middle. Illinois is big, there's a big market for that in Illinois but it's just the sheer size. East West Coast and Texas, that's…
Charles Jonath: I feel like that's it.
Theo Foscolo: That's it. That's it really for anything, isn't it?
Charles Joanth: Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: It's got anything it's really… But yeah, it's an interesting market and I definitely look forward to seeing what happens with it, I don't know, fingers crossed. Got to make a living, right.an
Charles Jonath: That's it, man. Even I struggle with the same thing. It's like I hate traveling for work and doing shows when they're far, but then I have to, it's just part of the game, you have to do it. So yeah, it'll be good.
Theo Foscolo: If you're not traveling having a coin, you're just like, "Oh, no, you have a coin shop, that means you're so great, people come in all the time." "No, not really." It's not how that works. If you're not out there hustling to find the coins, you're just not going to find them. It's not going to come in over the counter.
Charles Jonath: Well, not great coins, not anymore.
Theo Foscolo: Not anymore.
Charles Jonath: When I was a kid, that was the case. We used to see stuff in the store in the early 90s and stuff like that that you don't see it anymore in the shop. They don't come in over the counter anymore.
Theo Foscolo: You don't. And that's going to… I hate to be so morbid right, but a lot of these great coins that were owned were owned by people who are old and have probably died. And the kids just don't care about the collection. All these people are gone now. The coins are sold. And then and that's it. So yeah, where are the coins coming from? Where are these collections coming from? Eventually, this going to stop coming.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, well, they go to people that are really knowledgeable collectors.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, or it goes to really knowledgeable collectors and it stays for a long time, and it just ends up at an auction eventually. But yeah, where is the industry, what happens to all the stuff?
Charles Jonath: No, like in the shop you could do a lot of 90%, you could do penny rolls, you could do Bullion. It's so rare that someone's going to come in with something really rare, right.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, it almost never happens. What you just described is really like what…
Charles Jonath: Maybe once a year.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, it's what it is. It's like lots of partially filled coin albums, and pennies. and some cool oddball stuff here and there, and then like the occasional really good coin.
Charles Jonath: Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: But that just never just stumbles in over the counter. No one comes and like, "Oh, I found this in my dad's, my grandpa's drawer, and it's like a million-dollar coin." It doesn't happen.
Charles Jonath: That's right.
Theo Foscolo: It doesn't happen.
Charles Jonath: Yeah. It's very rare. It doesn't come around like that. It just doesn’t work that way. But although it does happen, but few and far between, let's just say that. Are you going to be at the fun show?
Theo Foscolo: Summer fun?
Charles Jonath: Yeah, summer fun.
Theo Foscolo: I don't know. I'd like to. Maybe. I'm probably going to get pressured into doing it.
Charles Jonath: I'll be there. I got a table.
Theo Foscolo: Oh, you do or you with...
Charles Jonath: Vegas coin dealer.
Theo Foscolo: As a coin dealer.
Charles Jonath: Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: Oh nice. Awesome. Yeah, I'd like to go. I'll probably get pressured into doing it. It's just so hot in Florida in June.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, humid.
Theo Foscolo: So hot. Oh, it's so hot and just the walk, I was dying to walk from the hotel to the invention center in January. I'm like, "Oh my God. Florida in June is so hot."
Charles Jonath: Well, in New York it gets similar. It's like you get out of the shower and immediately you start sweating.
Theo Foscolo: Oh yeah, see, hot is hot. It's hot, but it's hot in Florida. It's hot. You're in Vegas so you're used to it. I'm like Florida's like camping.
Charles Jonath: Well, it's dry here. That's the thing. When it's dry it's not as bad. It keeps you from sweating a lot. But when it's humid, you're just like drenched.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, I know, it's no good. I'll probably end up doing it. I know I have a wedding in Florida in June. Yeah, I got it. I haven't even thought about it man, honestly. Coming soon though but Christ, it's going to be here before you know it.
Charles Jonath: That's what happens man. Yeah.
Theo Foscolo: And we just did Baltimore and now it's, this week I'm going to New Hampshire, and then in two weeks it's Central State, but I'm not going to go to Central State.
Charles Jonath: Yeah. So, it's too crazy.
Theo Foscolo: No, it's too crazy.
Charles Jonath: It's like a show fest now after the pandemic, everyone wants to do shows back-to-back to back.
Theo Foscolo: Well, it's not even that, it's just now they're back on the regular schedule right. All these shows already existed pre-pandemic.
Charles Jonath: Oh, interesting. You're kind of right. So maybe it's the readjustment of not doing anything for like two years basically.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, we didn't do shows for a long-time man. We actually threw probably the first coin show maybe in the country if not definitely on the East Coast at the shop two years ago. We did it in the parking lot. We did an outdoor coin show and it was awesome.
Charles Jonath: Really?
Theo Foscolo: It was amazing. We were like, "Let's do a coin show out," because of COVID restrictions. You couldn't do anything indoors. All that shit.
Charles Jonath: How did that work? Did you guys have security all that? Or you did pack up at night?
Theo Foscolo: No, so the parking lot, it was the building that Chris owned, and it was in the parking lot. The parking lot just so happened to be completely fenced in. So, there was no… You have to jump a 7-foot fence, a 9-foot fence or whatever to get out of the parking lot if you want to steal a coin, right?
Charles Jonath: Interesting.
Theo Foscolo: And we put two cars blocking in the main entrance. So, you had to walk between the two cars and there was a checking point, and yeah, that was it. We had a judge there, I think we had an off-duty copper hanging out, and there was no issues. It was the best coin show ever. Everybody was so happy. Coin dealers, it was the first show they've done, they did in eight months, right. It was the first show collectors have been to in over a year.
Charles Jonath: That's a smart idea, man.
Theo Foscolo: It was awesome man. It was like, when did we do it? I think it was April or something like that, and it was just the most beautiful weather out. It was a gorgeous day, it was so nice out, and it was perfect. We did like three of them, and it was great, man. Outdoor coin shows, they were awesome.
Charles Jonath: That's cool.
Theo Foscolo: And then things picked up again. We were going to keep doing them and then as restrictions got less and less, the coin shows that popped up. Just in between New York and Jersey; you can go to three coin shows a month.
Charles Jonath: That's the thing, yeah.
Theo Foscolo: So, it was like, "All right, we can't do it," and the big out-of-State shows, and yeah, so we haven't done outdoor coin shows.
Charles Jonath: I don't blame you. That's very cool at the time. That would have been… I'm sure that was great for dealers. They were really happy.
Theo Foscolo: Oh, it was awesome. Dealers are so funny. They were like, they loved it, and then by the third one they were complaining. That's what it was, by the third one they were complaining.
Charles Jonath: It's people in general.
Theo Foscolo: But it was cool though yeah, we bought a bunch of pop-up tents, the big eight pop-up tents. And just line them up, and it was like an outdoor bizarre flea market of coin dealers. It was really cool; it was a lot of fun. It was a good time.
Charles Jonath: It was great man. Dude, this was a pleasure. I'm really glad we got to sit down and do this.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, definitely man.
Charles Jonath: I hope to see you in the future and then like I said, I'll be at Fun, and I don't know if I'll see you there or whatever, but at ANA too I'll be at, I think that's in August.
Theo Foscolo: I'd like to go to ANA probably like 50/50 if I'm going to Fun show, but I'd like to go to ANA.
Charles Jonath: It's not bad it's like a two-hour flight from you.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah. No, it's not so bad. Rosemont, it's like not a nice part. It's like there's nothing to do there.
Charles Jonath: Yeah, it's very corporate.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, it's that these shows are in just such boring locations, right. But yeah, I know I'm sure we'll definitely meet each other. Do you do that show in Vegas still?
Charles Jonath: All the time. Yeah, members-only show yeah, I do it all the time.
Theo Foscolo: I was actually going to come out.
Charles Jonath: It's a great little show by the way. Great.
Theo Foscolo: I know I've heard nothing but awesome things about it and I was going to come out to the last one that they had, and I was going to book like a last-minute flight, and things about getting expensive, the flights were so. I was like, "Oh, go you can always get a cheap jet blue flight out of JFK." Nope. It was so expensive.
Charles Jonath: Not anymore.
Theo Foscolo: It was insane. It was like $700 or something. I'm like, "No, I'm not doing, that's crazy."
Charles Jonath: Oh my God. Forget it.
Theo Foscolo: It was too much. But yeah, no we'll definitely meet man. It was great talking to you and I can't wait to see…
Charles Jonath: Likewise.
Theo Foscolo: I can't wait to see the video and yeah man, keep it awesome.
Charles Jonath: Take it easy, man. So, how can we find you on Instagram?
Theo Foscolo: At the little Amper Stamp, Long Island Silver.
Charles Jonath: Long Island Silver. Perfect. Any website, any anything like that, any?
Theo Foscolo: Nope. Find me on Instagram. That's it. You can call me, email me directly, or you come down to the shop in Sayville, 146 Railroad Avenue in Beautiful Sayville, Long Island. We'd love to have you.
Charles Jonath: Alright, great. Thanks, man. Have a good one. It was great talking to you.
Theo Foscolo: Yeah, same man. I appreciate it. Thank you.
Charles Jonath: Bye.