In his late 20s, Jim Ryder fell in love with coin collecting.
But as a young father supporting a family, buying rare coins had to wait.
“I didn’t have much money then,” said the 81-year-old who now owns B & J Coins in Verona.
It wasn’t until his early 40s that he started investing in his collection.
“This was a hobby that turned into a big business,” said Ryder, who estimates he easily has more than 10,000 coins in his store in the Food Lion shopping center.
While many purchase complete sets of coins all at once, he said he has always enjoyed searching for rare coins individually.
He said many others do, too.
“It’s the thrill of the hunt,” he said.
He first opened a shop in Staunton in 1980 and later moved to Verona in 1995. He’s maintained the shop while working full time selling life insurance for WoodmenLife.
Over the years, he’s gathered quite a following, both in store and online.
In addition to a handful of local customers, coin collectors from other states often stop by to see what he has on display.
As the internet exploded more than 20 years ago, he adapted and sold many coins on eBay. Since 2004, he’s sold to more than 12,000 unique buyers on the popular auction site. He has a 100% positive feedback score.
“When you make that many people happy, you’re doing something right,” Ryder said.
While coin collecting can be fun, he said, one of the pitfalls is finding counterfeit coins.
Over the years, counterfeiting has grown. He said many of the fakes are coming from China.
Occasionally, people will come into the shop thinking they’ve found a rare coin but leave disappointed.
“I’ve seen pictures of warehouses in China packed full of coins,” he said.