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Old 11-02-2009, 09:08 AM   #1
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Default A tiny niche in collectible coins grows into a $5 million mini-empire

A tiny niche in collectible coins grows into a $5 million mini-empire

Jeffery Morin's memorabilia business in Stafford probably isn't the next Google or eBay, but I love the 27-year-old's story because it's about a regular guy who saw an online opportunity and went for it.

Morin was noodling around on eBay, the auction Web site, seven years ago while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp in the middle of the Red Sea. He stumbled across some people selling old military memorabilia coins, about the size of a silver dollar, called "challenge coins." Challenge coins are collectibles used by the U.S. military to commemorate service in a unit or participation in an exercise.

"Poor man's coin collecting," as Morin puts it.

EBay customers were bidding $15 for coins Morin knew he could buy at a Marine Corps base for $5. So when he got back to Camp Lejeune, N.C., he marched to the base store and bought 30 generic Marine Corps coins for $4.50 each. (He persuaded the store manager to knock 50 cents off the $5 price.)

Morin took a photograph of one coin and posted it on eBay. It sold in three days for $11.50, yielding a $7 profit.

He was on to something. During lunch breaks, Morin would run to his barracks, package the coins into bubble-padded envelopes, address them by hand and walk them to the base post office for mailing; the envelope and postage for each coin cost him $1.05, which came off his profit.

As he moved ahead, he learned how to create demand for his coins.

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How to Turn $5 into $5 Million | Sports Collecting News, Memorabilia, Baseball C#@-#@Sports Collectors Daily
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:55 AM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Wow, that's pretty good thinking. You can get those at pretty much any base PX, museum gift shop or even Army surplus store. He could probably order them in bulk over the web.
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Old 11-02-2009, 03:15 PM   #3
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Next up: He and a buddy are partnering in the T-shirt business.
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Old 11-02-2009, 03:39 PM   #4
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Call me a cynic... but the main thing I took from the article was that he was working on a roughly 100% profit margin when he initially got into having his own coins made through another US business. But that was not good enough and instead he contracted a Chinese business to make the coins for dirt cheap so that he could make even more of a profit. I guess this truely is an All-American success story... and the reason China will own the deed to America in about 40 years.
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