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mrbrklyn's Blog

16 Feb 2022

Kenneth Keith & the Ben E. Keith Company

Collecting Tips | mrbrklyn

https://www.money.org/uploads/pdfs/Ben%20E.%20Keith%20Profile%20March%202018.pdf


The problem with crime around numismatics, both violent and less so, touches every collector and involves every part of the numismatic industry. Security at shows can be looked at as bordering paranoia if it wasn't for the track record of coin thefts at shows. Being a coin dealer is a flatly dangerous career choice. As a dealer or a collector you have a mark on your back. It is no fun collecting if you have to hide everything and if you're a dealer, showing and sharing coins is an essential part of the trade. But despite the record of thefts and murders, the industry really doesn't seem to learn how to protect itself. Stolen coins end up back on the market almost as fast as they are stolen and even grading and slabs do nothing to slow this down. The entire industry is complicit.
One of the most amazing stories involved Kenneth Keith and the ANA. In 1977 he all but donated a huge stock endowment to the ANA. There were two Keith brothers, Kenneth and James. They lived on a ranch in Texas, off the beaten road of civilization. James loved Arms, so they knew how to hand weapons. But that didn't help. Kenneth specialized in Mexican Silver, which had been accessed as being museum quality. In 1971, Kenneth donated most of it to the ANA. He donated more in 1972 to the tune of $50K. They ended up being robbed on their ranch, James being shot dead. The coins were already gone to the ANA but that didn't matter. The full details is in the link above.

The ANA itself has been robbed and has been on the lookup for years for missing coins, and not cheap ones. The 1804 Dollar was stolen once. there is no end to it. We need better overall security and better effort to flush out stolen coins and get them returned. We need more pressure of local police departments to prioritize these crimes. Collectors and dealers are at risk, sometimes paying with their lives.


Comments

Mal_ANA_YN

Level 5

Crime is because of the lack of punishment.

CheerioCoins

Level 5

This is a very sad story. I really hope I never get robbed of my coins.

mrbrklyn

Level 4

or shot because of them See the blog piece on Stevie Halfon https://www.money.org/collector/mrbrklyn/blog/remembering-stevie-halfon-loved-by-all

Randall55

Level 2

Great topic. Most collectibles and coins are impossible to trace. Even coins when graded are simply cracked-out and sold as raw or resubmitted. Digital imaging is basically useless without the manpower and a system in place to track and trace. Grading and certification for the purpose of security is nonexistent and is an illusion. Which leads to the question of, "How truly safe are collectors who publicly display and have competition sets listed on the internet, when no site is failsafe?"

mrbrklyn

Level 4

Today it is possible to identify raw coins. The imaging they do can make in mundane. That is a blog that is coming and I am putting together an group to set up and develope a free software AI to identify raw coins. But the software is already out there and it is just a matter of building the database.

Kepi

Level 6

Good blog. Crime runs rampid during these times. People who are involved with numismatics have to be very careful indeed.

Longstrider

Level 6

Tragic. I knew about this attack. Terrible. Why does it seem no one that can make changes cares??

mrbrklyn

Level 4

There is incentive to keep the market as it is. There are many people selling coins under the table or hiding money who don't want names exposed, for one thing, which makes all efforts to collect stolen coins or to keep them from the market near impossible. That is for starters.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

"Its not safe out there among the english! " (From the movie Witness)

Mike

Level 7

I tell people e carefully who your talking to. Just someone you met don't say anything. Don't brag I have this and that. That's exactly what happened to my friend. He was bragging to a group of so called friends. Three weeks later they were gone. Never recovered one cent. Read the crimes on community the bottom you will not believe what they steal!

Golfer

Level 5

Dealers at shows talk about it a lot. Very aware of the surroundings and security on site. Being a coin dealer and traveling must be interesting in what precautions they take. Great topic and a sad topic also.

mrbrklyn

Level 4

Dealers need to be public and that exposes them. They are taking their lives in their hands.

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