Getting the Most Value at J. Austin Coin & Jewelry
When Mark and Andrea Hutto, owners of J. Austin Coin & Jewelry (217 SE 6th) met in Hungary in 1996, they knew it was love at first sight.
"We were there as college exchange students buying estates," Mark said. "I had been living in the Rogue Valley since 1994 and started buying and selling coins. Andrea grew up under a very oppressive Communist regime in Romania and escaped on a train with her family when she was 12. When she came to the U.S., she saw the opportunities available to her."
Mark's father was a coin and bullion dealer in Texas back in the 1980s, so Mark had an early exposure to coins. His grandfather on his mother's side is J. Austin, after whom the company is named. When Mark was 12, his Grandpa Jack told him he "would one day be in this type of business," and because of his drive and ability to communicate, "he would do well." Grandpa Jack was right.
"Andrea and I met in 1996 and were married the next year," Mark said. "We moved back to the Rogue Valley and opened our business in 1997. We buy and sell coins, bank notes, gold and silver bullion, and jewelry. We also buy scrap gold and silver, diamonds, and better watches such as Rolex and Patek Philippe."
The one part of the business that sets J. Austin apart is diamonds.
"Andrea is the driving force behind that, and she has a decade of diamond expertise under her belt," Mark said. "We are told by international brokers that we are the largest diamond buyer between San Francisco and Portland. Part of that is due to the network we have built up, combined with the lower overhead. We sell most of our diamonds in areas with expanding economies so that we can take advantage of that growth. Rolex watches are also big in those economies."
What does that mean for the local seller? "We just don't put your item in our display case and hope for a sale," Mark said. "We use our international contacts to sell it in the expanding economies. We're basically brokering it for you. Whether it's diamonds (.50 carat and larger), watches, rare coins or other items, we can get you more money and a quicker turnaround. Most people think they have to go to the Bay Area to get that kind of service, and they don't."
For more info, the phone number is 541-955-2985. The website is jaustinco.wordpress.com.