Inside the Story: Handful of coins turns into business, career for Utah man

Inside the Story: Handful of coins turns into business, career for Utah man (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) It started with a handful of coins, but Bob Campbell's collection has grown to thousands of coins worth millions of dollars.

Campbell is one of the country's top coin experts and runs All About Coins in Sugarhouse.

He has built an amazing collection of coins over more than 50 years, some dating back to hundreds of years ago.

But one of his most prized possessions is his complete set of rare and pricey Mormon gold pieces.

"This collection, as it stands--$1.7 million," Campbell said.

But for Campbell, collecting coins is not about the money.

In fact, he once turned down a $700,000 offer for a coin he paid $40,000 for.

The reason? Something he calls the "coin collector gene."

"The absolutely number one thing is the thrill of the hunt," Campbell said. "It's searching for something somebody else is looking for. You're going to beat everybody to the punch and you are going to get it."

The "thrill of the hunt" started at a very young age.

"I grew up poor," he said.

When Campbell was just five years old, he lost his father, who had left him a small box of coins.

From there, the fascination to collect took off.

"I collected two of anything," he said.

At 12 years old, he walked into the coin shop--which he now owns--and met his mentor Wally, who taught him everything he needed to know about collecting coins.

He bought the shop in 1983, and All About Coins was born.

Since then, he's become the president of the world's largest coin organization, authored seven books, testified to U.S. lawmakers, and is now teaching the CIA about counterfeiting.

"I've been obsessed since I was young," he said.

When all is said and done, it's all about going back in time for Campbell, and honoring a man he never go to know.

"My dad, if he was here, he would be proud that I was able to take a hobby and turn it into a business," Campbell said.

And it turns out his father owned a jewelry shop just a short distance away from All About Coins, located at 1123 East 2100 South in Salt Lake City.

For more information, visit the All About Coins website.