Talk about success stories. Consider the case of one Steve Ivy, 24, college dropout, avid coin collector, all around nice guy.
Steve, the legend goes, began collecting coins at the age of eight. At the ripe old age of 12, he began peddling some of his collection to fellow coin freaks to pick up a little pocket change. By the time he was 20 and a student at UT-Austin, pocket change had turned to good money - good enough to persuade him to quit school and move his budding enterprise to Dallas.
Today, four years later, Steve Ivy Rare Coin Company, Inc., has blossomed into a multi-million-dollar, international business. Ivy says his company grossed $5 million in sales last year, and he fully expects to double that this year.
"Business is good," he says with a faint smile at his own understatement. "I tell you, I never really expected it to take off like this. But coin collecting is getting like antiques or art - very popular with people other than the very rich.
"Another reason might be simply the economy, strange as it sounds. A lot of people are buying up rare coins as a straight investment, a way to lay off their money into something solid."
Ivy’s company specializes in what Ivy calls "rare, rare" coins, "the kind that go for anything from $5,000 to $50,000 apiece."
What’s a "good day" in the coins business? "Some days we’ll only move one big coin - say for $25,-000. The next day we might sell five coins at that price. I recall one day we sold $250,000 worth of coins to one guy," he said.
Ivy says his market remains basically confined to a small cult of avid coin collectors nationwide. But he plans stepped-up advertising and direct mail campaigns in the near future to "tap a growing interest in rare coins in the middle-class."
So what does a 24-year-old whose company is grossing in the millions and who takes home a comfy six-figure income want to do with his life?
"Make more money," Ivy says blithely. What kind of money?
"I’m talking nine and ten figure money," he said. No one in the room at the time even blinked.