Tuesday, May 24, 2022 -
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Coin of the realm: childhood passion to business

Matt Trookman, numismatist, first became interested in coins at the age of five, when he stopped a passerby to ask about the jingling noise coming from his pocket. He and his family were dining at Faneuil Hall in Boston. Responding to the little boy’s interest, the man sat down with Trookman and talked to him about coins. He left the gift of a coin in the youngster’s hand along with a desire to find out more. 

Matt Trookman at the American Numismatic Assn. in Colorado Springs.

Trookman now runs his own numismatic business in Colorado Springs.

Trookman was born in Colorado Springs and has lived most of his life here. His parents are supporters of Temple Shalom. Trookman attended religious school and had his Bar Mitzvah at the Colorado Springs synagogue. 

One of the things shaping his life, he says, was his travel to Israel at age 14 with a BBYO trip. The group visited European sites of concentration camps and spent four weeks in Israel. Trookman calls it “the trip of a lifetime.”

Trookman began collecting coins at the age of 11 at the Hallenbeck Coin Gallery in Colorado Springs. Tom Hallenbeck helped spark his interest by explaining aspects of the money trade. Trookman began visiting the American Numismatic Assn. Money Museum, which, along with the association’s headquarters, is also located in Colorado Springs. 

Trookman speaks passionately about his visits to the museum. “It is a cool museum. It has one of the largest coin collections in the world.” The finest gold coin collection ever assembled is housed there. 

When he was 11, Trookman attended the first of many summer seminars devoted to learning the coin trade, at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. These seminars brought in 40 to 50 coin dealers to teach about money: how to grade coins, the counterfeiting of coins, their attributes, how to photograph coins, and other topics. 

The Young Numismatists, as they were called, could specialize in one aspect of the seminar. Trookman chose to learn about the grading of coins. 

Coins are graded on condition and marketability, based on a scale of 1-70: least saleable to most. Trookman exhibited a marked talent for the grading of coins. At 12 and 13 years of age he started traveling to coin shows around the country as a buyer and seller of his own coins. 

After graduating from high school, Trookman was offered an internship sponsored by the Professional Numismatists Guild. He spent three months each at two companies. 

At the Numismatic Guaranty Corp. in Sarasota, Fla., he was part of a team of professional coin graders that assigned official grades to coins, allowing them to be sold. The coins were designated with a number and sealed in a special holder for the owner to market. 

After his three months there were up, Trookman worked for David Lawrence Rare Coins in Virginia Beach, where he discovered that he enjoyed the buying and selling of coins more than grading them. 

After his internship, Trookman went to Chicago, where he became a buyer for the Rare Coin Company of America, one of the largest rare coin companies in the country. 

This wholesale company buys and sells coins to dealers. Trookman became their head buyer at the age of 19. He traveled around the US to buy coins from money shows, shops and coin dealers.

In March, 2021, Trookman returned to his hometown of Colorado Springs and began his own coin business, Matt Trookman Numismatics, Ltd. His company specializes in US coins from 1790 to 1950 or 1960. 

To appraise a rare coin, Trookman looks at three factors: scarcity, grade and desirability. 

The fewer coins of the same type in existence, the higher the scarcity rating. The grade of the coin is based on its condition and its appearance, as well as its market value. To be desirable, a coin must be in demand by more than one dealer or person. Trookman looks at these attributes of a coin and researches the history of similar coins in auction sales records when pricing them.

The National Money Show was held earlier this month at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. Trookman represented his own company for the first time at the national show, where there were more than 400 tables of coin dealers selling rare coins, currency, and precious metals. People could bring in their coin collections for appraisal or sale, and of course, buy. 

Table 223 was Trookman’s site for his introduction into the world of coin dealing at the head of his own Matt Trookman Numismatics. 

The last time the national show was held in Colorado Springs it was located on the ice at the Broadmoor Ice Arena. Trookman says the dealers had to wear many layers of clothing, as the arena had to be kept very cold to keep it from melting.

Matt Trookman is one of the few   who can claim to have made a business from a childhood passion. At 22, he is a successful businessman doing what he loves. He invites all to visit the American Numismatic Assn. and its museum in Colorado Springs. He promises: 

“You won’t be disappointed.”

Copyright © 2022 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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