A silver coin sits securely in freshman Blake Eason’s safe, among other coins and precious metals.
He didn’t pick it up for good luck on his walk into school, and it sure wouldn’t go towards an iced coffee from the coffee shop. This particular coin is a toned, silver, one-dollar coin minted in 1885 in Philadelphia that Eason paid $310 for — and is planning on keeping until the market value increases to $350.
“It has what we call toning, which happens when the air interacts with silver and the environment around the coin, and creates rainbow colors all over the coin,” Eason said.
This is just one of the over 500 coins and metals that have become his reselling business. For about a year, Eason has been making two to three sales a day on Instagram, Ebay and in person. Eason posts pictures of coins and metals online, followed by price negotiations or awaking to anywhere from two to 14 messages of, “I’ll take it.”
The prices on Eason’s Ebay account range from $660 for a 1881 one-dollar coin to $5 for a 1969 half dollar. According to Eason, his largest profit has been $400 from a 1925 gold piece, and rather than a celebratory shopping spree, Eason invested the money back into coins and savings.
Prior to the creation of his Instagram page “midwest.numismatics” — numismatics meaning the study or collection of currency — Eason’s interest in coin collecting was piqued by the coins his grandparents brought him from around the world. Whether they be from Hungary, Italy or Germany, it intrigued Eason that every country has a form of currency.
Due to his interest in coins, Eason started collecting them about eight years ago, and eventually started posting pictures of them on Instagram. However it wasn’t until his uncle gifted him “A Guide Book of United States Coins” that he realized he could simultaneously cushion his savings account through buying and selling these prized coins. He shoots for 25 percent profit on every transaction, and only keeps about five percent of the coins he buys.
“I recognized that each individual coin is only worth what someone will pay for it,” Eason said. “The seller that I buy from may say a coin is worth ‘X’ amount of dollars, and then I’ll buy it and mark it up for a profit. You have to find the right buyer to buy for the price you’re asking.”
Eason’s success caught the attention of freshman Wesley Harden one day in Intro to Business, and he decided to try it for himself. Harden created his own Instagram account, “jwh_coinery_and_bullion,” and the two, now friends, work together on some purchases to maximize profit. If one of them sees a good deal on a coin or precious metal, they’ll buy it, then sell it to the other for a little bit more than they bought it for. The other can then mark it up again and resell it so that both of them make the same profit.
Aside from the cooperation with Harden and occasional help from father Michael Eason in banking matters, Eason has turned his hobby into a business all on his own. Where most would see 50 cents, he recognizes special coins worth hundreds of dollars in profit. Michael supports his son’s hobby and business hybrid.
“I thought that it was something fun that I was happy that he was interested in,” Michael said. “I think it’s a good hobby, and if he can make a business out of it, that’s even better.”
Instead of heading to work after school or reading a book, Eason gets to make money while indulging in his favorite hobby. By spending hours of his day making spreadsheets, writing Instagram captions and shopping for interesting coins online, he mixes business with pleasure — and it’s working.