Rare Coin Company of America was founded in 1962 by Ben Dreiske and David Shapiro. Ben had been a dealer in coins and stamps since at least the early 1930's under the name Ben's Stamp and Coin Company. He was a fixture of Chicago numismatics throughout the middle 20th Century, opening his first downtown Chicago store at Adams and Wabash in 1936.
In 1949, Ben opened a store at 31 N. Clark Street, the address that eventually became synonymous with RARCOA. Ben's new partner, David Shapiro, son of noted American gold collector Jake Bell (Jacob F. Shapiro), added considerable financial power to the newly incorporated RARCOA war chest.
From the beginning of their partnership, Dreiske and Shapiro shared one overriding and very ambitious goal - for RARCOA to carry at least one of every American coin in stock. While their goal was obviously never fulfilled, RARCOA was well known for regularly stocking two or three examples of major rarities at any time.
Ed Milas joined RARCOA as a partner to David Shapiro in 1972, after Ben had retired to Florida the year earlier. In 1974, Ed purchased David's share of the company. While he had operated his own rare coin firm prior to joining RARCOA, it was now Ed Milas's turn to add to RARCOA's milestoned history.
In 1974 Jeff Bernberg joined the firm and almost 40 years later is still a full-time participant & familiar face at major shows.
In 1976 RARCOA co-founded the Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF) with Krause Publications. CICF was the first midwestern coin show dedicated to non-US coins, and successfully drew collectors and dealers from around the US and across the Atlantic.
Wayde Milas joined the firm in 1994. In 2009 he purchased RARCOA from Ed and the tradition continues as the company remains in strong hands.
In 1988 we moved to the West-Chicago Suburbs to accomodate the changing character of our business, and to provide a more private atmosphere for our clients. We offer three private offices for confidential transactions with our customers.
In 1978 RARCOA sold the legendary N. M. Kaufman Collection, which signaled the beginning of the 1978 - 1980 bull market in rare coins. Included in this milestone sale were:
23 different Proof Coronet Double Eagles prior to 1900,
24 different Proof Eagles including a rare 1877, and
23 Proof Half Eagles prior to 1900.
The star of the sale was the ultra-rare 1825/4 Capped Head Half Eagle, one of only two known, which sold for $140,000. Other notable highlights included:
a Kellogg & Co. 1855 $50 Proof at $115,000,
Superb Gem 1831 Capped Head $5 at $35,000,
1907 Rolled Edge Indian $10 at $46,000,
and Proof Only 1883 and 1884 Coronet Double Eagles at $65,000 and $75,000 respectively.
*Keep in mind that we're talking 1978 dolllars here! In 2013 dollars, that's an incredible $267,760.35
Beginning in 1979, RARCOA collaborated with Stacks's, Paramount, and Superior to present a series of high-powered annual auctions which became known as the "Apostrophe Auctions". These sales - Auction '79 through Auction '90 - were purposely limited to 2,000 lots, 500 from each principal. In all, these 12 sales included 24,000 lots with a total value of over $135 million, an average sale price of over $5,000 per lot!
Many of the greatest rarities in American numismatics were sold by RARCOA in these sales, including the Dexter 1804 Dollar, the 1894-S Barber Dime, and a plethora of proof gold coins. Auction '79 included the first Brasher Doubloon sold at public auction since the Ten Eyck sale in 1922.
Today RARCOA is one of the top marketmakers in Pre-1934 US gold coins, and one of the largest importers and distributors of gold coins from around the world. We maintain cash markets in US and World gold coins for over 400 dealers, banks, and brokers in the US, Asia, and Europe.
We also travel regularly throughout the US and Europe in search of hoards, caches, collections, dealer inventories, and bank holdings of interest. With our active inventory of over 10,000 gold coins, gold coin buyers are assured of fair spreads and fast delivery when they trade with RARCOA.
Furthermore, we're not named the Rare Coin Company of America by accident. For over 40 years, RARCOA has been and continues to be known as a leading buyer of rare and important numismatic coins of the United States. Additionally, we are regular buyers of high quality rarities from Ancient Greece and Rome, Europe, Asia, Mexico and Spanish America.