Dale Abel, left, and Richard Gaetano show coins that were encapsulated and graded by a grading service.
By Dave Zuchowski
If you're looking to appraise or sell some old coins -- or hoping to add pieces to your own collection -- then drop by the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Bethel Park this weekend.
Some two dozen dealers from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania will offer for sale U.S. coins from the past hundred years at the 52nd Anniversary Show of the South Hills Coin Club.
"If you're looking to have your coins appraised or sold, you won't have to drive all over town to various coin shops," said show chairman, Dale Abel of Bethel Park.
Admission to the show is free, and door prizes donated by the dealers will be drawn on the hour. In addition to coins, some dealers also will sell coin supplies, folders and price guide books.
"Some of our dealers will have coins valued at as much as $2,000," Mr. Abel said. He has been an avid coin collector and club member for years. "Many try to have them graded by a professional service. Once graded on a scale that runs from good to very good, fine, very fine, extra fine, almost uncirculated and mint, they're placed in a plastic holder and marked with the grade and date of the coin."
The South Hills Coin Club was formed in 1959 by Volney Patton and Leonard Carr while the two sat on the porch of Mr. Patton's house in Bethel Park. The first year, the club met at the Bethel Park American Legion, then moved a year later to Bethel Presbyterian Church on Bethel Church Road, where it has remained.
"When the club first formed, coins were in their heyday, and clubs organized all over the greater Pittsburgh area," said Richard Gaetano, 75, club historian and charter member. "Back then, there were a lot more young people involved in coin collecting. Today, they're more interested in playing video games."
Mr. Gaetano said he also goes to a lot of coin shows every year and just returned from the Florida United Numismatists in Orlando, a show that he calls "the biggest in the U.S."
Another club member, Tom Uram of Eighty-Four, took home first prize at the Florida show for his collection of American 2-cent pieces, which were made in the U.S. from 1864 to 1873.
The South Hills Coin Club meets at 8 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month and a speaker, door prizes, a raffle and occasional coin auction are featured. Annual membership dues are $15, which include a monthly newsletter.
The club is affiliated with the American Numismatic Association, which holds an annual show, usually in the summer, at cities across the U.S.
Club president Phil Christ, 52, of Brookline has been collecting coins since the age of 13.
"Coins weren't very expensive when I started," he said. "But things have changed drastically ...due to the rise in the price of silver."
One of the goals he has set for the club is to get younger people involved.
This weekend's coin show will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 164 Fort Couch Road. Details: 412-854-4022.