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 a celebratory 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:
- 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,
- 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