Stevenson Rare Coins: Interview with a Numismatist

A Museum, a shop, and friendly conversation

Stevenson rare coin coin collection

Stevenson Rare Coins is more than just a shop, it is a museum where some of the rarest currencies in the world dot across the glass cases.

“I believe that collecting snapshots of history and some of the rare snapshots of history where I’d be able to share with everyone else the real history the coins tell of the United States of America and foreign countries as well. It tells a lot of history, all the way from ancient times to present times,” said Les Stevenson, Owner and Founder of Stevenson Rare Coins.

Les found his calling in Numismatics (currency collecting) at an early age after receiving an Indian Head Penny from his father. Les thought he had the only one ever made, but his dad was quick to tell him that “they made millions of those things.” Les was unfazed and decided he wanted to collect “each and every one from every year of the Indian Head pennies.”

Thus, a passion for collecting rare currency was born.

Today, Les’ enthusiasm is on open display–inside his shop, and with his customers. It is because of Les’ friendly demeanor and his visible excitement over the trade of numismatics that he has such a strong client base. “We’ve actually some of us [repeat customers] have become very good friends as well, where I get to share with them things that come in here and I get to show them some of the coolest stuff on the planet that has walked through the door.” Whether you are a veteran or just starting off, Les encourages perspective collectors to stop by so he can share that same enthusiasm he has with this exciting hobby. 

Because of the nature of his trade, integrity is vital. Les wants his customers to know that “we are actually a qualified dealer that actually can verify whether or not it’s an authentic coin or a counterfeit.” One such story of this happened when a family brought in an 1859 ten-dollar gold coin to sell. Les knew this particular coin had a shot at being a “finest known,” a rare categorization that would make the coin extremely valuable. Les knew this distinction would have a huge impact on the price of the coin and encouraged the customers to send the coin to Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, where it would be evaluated for its true value. Once the coin came back and was certified as “finest known,” the coin’s value was estimated to be around $150,000. “That coin just stopped me in my tracks because I knew that it was something very, very special, [a] once in a lifetime opportunity to own the finest known there is, and I do own. I will be the good Steward of it and pass it down.”

stevenson rare coin examining a rare coin

Stevenson Rare Coins is not just a storefront with a “rare snapshot of history,” it is a central base to the community at large of numismatics, where collectors can engage in friendly conversation and learn from one of the best, most trusted dealers in Western North Carolina.

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