John Brush has been a coin collector since age 5, a member of the
American Numismatic Association since 1987, and a full-time dealer
since 2002. When not dealing coins, John and Ruth, his wife, along
with their two sons, enjoy traveling throughout the country and
cheering on the Tennessee Volunteers and Atlanta Braves.
Brush was named president of David Lawrence Rare and Certified
Coins in December 2015.
Q: What brought you to coins?
A: My father was a coin collector since the 1950s, and while he
stopped in 1980 when I was born, he got back into it slowly. I played
baseball and collected baseball cards, but he warned me that they
would one day be worthless if something happened, and in 1994 Major
League Baseball went on strike and the baseball card market plummeted.
Luckily, he steered me towards coins in 1987 (ANA member since then!)
and he got me hooked. My first set was of Proof Franklin Halves and I
migrated to Buffalo Nickels after that. And when life got busy, my
love for history kept my love for coins alive. … I’m very thankful for
my dad’s encouragement along the way. He even got my mom into
collecting as years went by!
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Q: With two young sons, how do you balance family and your work?
A: There are so many things I love about my job. I’ve seen many
parts of the world, I’ve owned some fantastic coins, and most
importantly I’ve met many great people that live around the country
that I can call friends. I also never know what the next day may hold.
I may be traveling to acquire a 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar or
just buying a group of Proof sets from a young family. Every day is
fun and rewarding. At the same time, I have a young family with 5- and
6-year-old boys. Being away from them when I’m traveling to coin shows
is by far the toughest part of my job. But, as they grow older, I hope
that they will enjoy traveling with me a little more. As for now, they
are super excited about going to Disneyland as the ANA heads to
Anaheim this summer.
Q: What advice would you give to young collectors considering
turning their hobby into a career?
A: Take advantage of every opportunity you can. Apply for a
scholarship and go to the ANA Summer Seminar. Go to an ANA World’s
Fair of Money if you have a chance and don’t be afraid to talk to
dealers on the bourse floor. Most dealers are more than willing to
chat with you about becoming a professional numismatist. Check out
coin dealer’s websites, read as much as you can by subscribing to Coin
World or checking books out from the ANA Library. There’s so much
information out there and the wider your base of knowledge becomes,
the more opportunities you will develop. Also, many coin dealers did
not attend college but I strongly encourage that you do go! It’s the
greatest time in your life and you learn much about yourself and it
will only help you in the long run as you become an adult. And, while
you’re at it, apply for internships! Many (like David Lawrence) don’t
advertise that they’d support such a thing, but it never hurts to ask.
Most importantly, always ask questions!
Q: Looking forward, where do you see our hobby in 10 years?
A: I believe that in ten years we will continue to see more young
people get into the hobby and business. The hobby and the business
will become more technologically advanced as far as the spread of
information and how people buy and sell coins. There will be a new
generation of coin dealers that will slowly become more prominent and
bring the hobby into more mainstream prominence.
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