Just two years before silver hit an all-time high in 1980, Coin Purse owner Mike Gambill found himself behind the counter of a new coin shop in Green Hills. Ten years earlier, his father Jim Gambill started the business inside the garage of a battery company, where Mike says he spent his summers working as a teen before his father moved the shop into Harding Mall.
Fifty years later, and 40 years for Mike, Coin Purse remains a venue for rare coins, currency, gold and silver bullion, both online and inside the shop. Holding on to something special you want appraised? You’ll often find Mike, along with Courtney and Joel, behind the counter ready to assist.
Q&A with Coin Purse owner Mike Gambill
You’re celebrating a personal anniversary with Coin Purse this year. How did you get into the business?
When I was in college, my dad found a second space, this time in Green Hills, and offered me the chance to stay in college or drop out and run a coin shop. To be honest, I didn’t think twice about running a coin shop. And just a couple years after that, gold and silver hit all-time highs, and it was an exceptional time for this business.
With both a storefront and online shops, can you explain how inventory works in the company?
Almost all of our inventory comes from people bringing things in off the street. We have three buying desks, and some days all three are lined up and rock-and-rolling. But collecting is not as big as it use to be. The old collectors aren’t around anymore, but now we’re suddenly having more young collectors come in the store. Gold and silver—that’s something everybody gets. We’re also on a coin dealer network because something that sells well in the Northeast may not peak any interest here in the South.
Did you enjoy this craft just as much 40 years ago as you do now?
My interest all came from being around my dad and being taken around coin shops when I was a kid all over the Southeast. It has been my hobby, and I've been able to do what I enjoy for 40 years. Growing up, I used to walk through Green Hills on Friday nights. My mom and dad would drop me and my buddy off. So Green Hills is home and where I’ve spent most of my life. When I started this I’ll be the first to admit I had no clue what I was doing. But here we are 40 years later.