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No coin shortage here

The COVID-19 pandemic has been good for ICoin, Inc. in Joliet.

Despite a national coin shortage, business is booming for those who want to buy and sell coins.
Despite a national coin shortage, business is booming for those who want to buy and sell coins.

In the midst of a coin shortage, business is booming at ICoin, Inc. in Joliet.

“We’re actually busier, to be honest,” Steve Vesely, owner, said.

For buying? Or for selling?

Both, he said.

“We’re beating them off with a stick at the door," Vesely said with a laugh.

Customers who want to sell are typically people who need the money right now, Vesely said. They might be unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and aren't drawing a regular salary, he added.

“People are cashing in stuff they bought as a hedge five to 10 years ago,” Vesely said. “Or they’re selling stuff they inherited from their parents and threw in the closet and now they need to sell it.”

In fact, for people who really want to make a profit, now is a good time to tell. Vesely said Gold is currently at an 8-year high and silver is at a 6-year high, he said.

“Silver last week was $18 an jounce and is now currently $22.67,” Vesely said. “Silver’s up 6 percent since I woke up this morning. We’re now paying more for it than we were selling it a week ago.”

But half of the increase in business at ICoin are also people who are buying coins, Vesely said.

“I think many of the people 'in the know' are worried abut the instability of the United States dollar and everybody is worried abut this supposedly cashless society,” Vesely said.

He feels that's one factor in the national coin shortage.

Two more factors include the fact the U.S. Mint has throttled back coin production during the pandemic and people themselves are circulating fewer coins, preferring touchless payments to possible exposure to the virus, he said.

On its website, the Centers for Disease Control said people can come in contact with the SARS-CoV-2 virus by touching cash and then putting touching their eyes, mouth or nose.

The CDC even suggested retailers ask customers to set cash on the counter and not into the cashier's hand and that cashiers do the same when counting out change.

In addition, not all bank lobbies have reopened and some still require appointments, Vesely said.

“I had to make an appointment to access my safety deposit box,” he said.

In fact, other than ICoin, the only place coins seem to be accumulating are in “piggy banks, sock drawers and the closet," Vesely said.

"Every drawer in my house has some loose change in it and I don't know why," Vesely said.

To Vesely's knowledge, the U.S. has experienced a coin shortage of this nature just one other time, during the Depression, he said. But Vesely can't speak firsthand of it.

"I wasn't alive then," Vesely said.

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