Where We Work: Tryon Gold & Coin

Published 9:23 am Monday, August 1, 2011

person featured: George McDowell
business: Tryon Gold & Coin
address: 152 N. Trade Street, Tryon, N.C.
phone number: 828-859-5980
Operating hours:
M-F 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sat 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Email: george@tryongold.com
Website: www.tryongold.com
nature of business: We buy and sell coins: American, foreign, gold, silver, copper and tokens. We also buy gold jewelry, sterling silver, etc.
principal owners: Richard McDowell and Jason Greene
Employees: George and Linda McDowell
year founded: We originated in Spartanburg several years back and decided to expand to Tryon in 2010.
One thing you wish everyone knew about your business: The one thing about our business that most do not understand is the majority of our business is done outside our store at coin shows. We attended 40 weekend shows last year and plan more this year. High-end coins often command a much better price in large cities like Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte and Baltimore. But semi-keys, minor collections and small gold pieces are often more easily sold at smaller shows. Our job is to find the best price for our customers and we do that by traveling to where the best buyers are found. It takes more than just knowing and understanding coins to be successful. Knowing the market – how it works, where it works – is crucial to our business. It’s an exciting business, but one with a very difficult learning curve – one we have mastered. We also work with clients to complete their collections. With your want list, we search the markets to find your coin, at your price.
why coins? In 1953, my uncle, Arthur Horne, sent me to the store to buy him a pack of cigarettes. He gave me 30 cents and told me to keep the two cents change. Then he asked me if I checked the change to see if I had a collectible coin. He said, “All good coin collectors always check.” When I looked I discovered a 1909-S VDB, the rarest of all Lincoln cents. I was so excited. Twenty years later Uncle Arthur told me he had purchased the rare Lincoln cent and had given it to the store owner, telling him to give it to me in change. That got me started collecting. I will forever be grateful to my uncle for his wonderful gift: not so much the coin, but the love of the search.
my first job: Working the farm. I hated it. That’s why I worked so hard in school, so I would never, for any reason, have to pick cotton or peaches ever again. I don’t even like coins with peaches or cotton on them.
The key to our business: Give quality at a fair price, but keep a sharp eye on the bottom line. Also, never fall so much in love with a coin that you refuse to sell it. The fun of collecting is not in having, but in finding rare coins. There is always something better out there waiting.

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