How a dealer began collecting

When Allan Crawford was 7 years old, his baby sitter helped him start a coin and stamp collection to keep him out of trouble.

More than 70 years later, Crawford and his wife, Lois, own California Coin & Stamp, one of two collectible coin and stamp stores in San Luis Obispo County.

Crawford’s quaint shop is filled with books, stamp memorabilia and coins, some of which date to 400 B.C.

The couple sells and trades collectible coins and stamps. Customers can also buy gold or bullion.

Half of the customers who visit his shop become collectors, although stamp collecting has dwindled over the years. Stamps only make up 5 percent of his business.

“Stamps used to be the most popular hobby in the world,” he said. “But today’s kids are interested in coins.”

What you see: The small shop has comfortable wooden stools, where customers can sit and study the collectibles that fill glass cases. Items cost a few cents to thousands of dollars.

The shop sells stamps from around the world, including the first stamp from Great Britain now worth $180. The coin collection includes a Roman coin from 425 A.D. It’s now worth $950.

What he sees: Crawford has a vast knowledge of coin and stamp history. Many of his customers bring in collectibles to be appraised and explained because they don’t realize the value of their items, he said.

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Category - Informative
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