"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold." Proverbs 22:1
That proverb really says it all! The Lord has blessed my coin business because I run it in accordance with the principles outlined in the Bible as demonstrated in the person of Jesus Christ. The "Golden Rule" seems to have been forgotten in our modern world, and a man's word and his handshake does not mean what it used to mean. As you deal with me, I am confident that you will find that my word is my bond, and that I will say what I do and do what I say. Since Earlycoppercoins.com is a Sole Proprietorship, I think it's important that you know WHO that Proprietor really is! Please take the time to "meet me" below!
I was born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1970 to very young parents who are still married and in-love to this day. We travelled around a lot, and people always asked if my Dad was in the military. Well, he wasn't, he was a truck salesman, and he was the BEST there is. He was constantly getting offers for bigger and better opportunities, so we moved around A LOT. We lived mostly in the midwest, including Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.
In 1988, our family moved to Tyler, Texas, and that proved to be a pivotal point in our lives. I spent the remainder of my Junior year in school at Whitehouse, TX, where I met Karen Littrell, who was my Computer Science teacher. Karen took me under her wing and together we learned how to apply for and win scholarships for college. I was always a straight-A student as well as a National Merit Finalist, finishing in the top 1% on the SAT and ACT exams. By the time Karen and I were finished, I had earned full-ride scholarships to my choice of either Texas A&M or the University of Texas, the only two universities I considered attending. But I will come back to that later!
Whitehouse was a small town with a small school, and to further my education, I transferred to Robert E. Lee in Tyler, Texas, for my Senior year. It was there that I met Kimberly Raquel Malone, and that is a story in itself. At the time, I happened to be dating one of Kim's best friends, and she was unofficially engaged to her boyfriend at the time. I was working out at Tyler Athletic Club, and my girlfriend brought in a few of her best friends, including Kim. The moment I met Kim, I knew that she was "the one." All those stories and movies about "true love" and "the one" and "God has somebody just for you" are TRUE, and I am living proof of that! Thankfully, most of the drama was avoided with the whole girlfriend / best friend / boyfriend / engagement issues, and Kim and I were soon dating (on March 20, 1989, to be exact!). You probably know the rest of the story - I married my high school sweetheart, and we have been married since 1992. If any of you have met Kim, then you already know that she is absolutely gorgeous. And for those of you lucky enough to KNOW Kim as a person, then you also know that her inner self is even more gorgeous than her outer self. She is the most unselfish, loving, considerate, happy, uplifting person that I have ever met, and she more than any other person I have ever met most closely resembles Jesus Christ. I don't think there is a greater compliment than that, but if there is, then she deserves it!
Our first child Madilynn Chase (Madi) was born in 1997. She is my "Daddy's girl," and a constant source of pride and joy for us. She is a straight-A student, an awesome gymnast and cheerleader, and she has a love for the Lord and for little children that is unmistakeable. She has gorgeous blue eyes like her Mom, and blonde hair that is slowly turning to brown. She is short and petite, and one of the fastest runners I have ever seen. She has the cutest freckles ever, and a huge smile that shows off her cool braces. She has an awesome laugh, and she loves to play with her friends, her cousins, and siblings, and of course, her Daddy! I am biased, but I think she is the prettiest girl around! I call my oldest girl "Madicatty."
Our second child Lily Grace was born in 2000, and our world forever changed with her birth. A few months after being born, Lily developed cataracts on both eyes, and she had to have her lenses surgically removed. We suspected a metabolic disorder, and did lots of blood tests but nothing really showed up. Then when she was six months old, Kim saw her having a seizure after she was startled by a loud noise. She had an EEG of her brainwaves, which revealed a trainwreck, and that prompted a full CT-scan of her brain, which revealed massive brain defects. She was diagnosed with a condition called "lissencephaly," which translates into "smooth brain," but what it means in Lily's case is that the front part of her brain did not grow completely, and the part that did grow is smooth instead of gyrated. Mentally, she is about 6 months old, although she is now 14. She is fully-dependent on us for her care: she cannot move other than to roll over and to sit Indian-style for a few minutes. She is in diapers, cannot feed herself, and cannot speak, although she communicates in her own way. On the positive side, Lily is otherwise healthy, and she is HAPPY! She can smile and laugh, and when you hold her, you feel like you are cradling an angel! She is drop-dead gorgeous, dark hair and dark eyes with smooth bright skin, and at first-glance looks perfectly normal. She has long, pretty eyelashes, and even longer, prettier fingers. She loves to snuggle, and she also loves to play her piano. I call my "little" girl "Lil' G." Other than the day to day struggles of contstant care, we are not faced with daily trips to the ER, and her seizures are relatively mild and also well-controlled by medication. She has been a tremendous blessing to our family because she has caused all of us to focus on what is REALLY important, and that is God and family. And I will proclaim right now that Lily Grace has been healed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and by His stripes is she made whole! We believe that Lily will be one of the end-times miracles that are spoken of in the Bible, and we praise the Lord for that comfort in the knowledge that Lily's healing has already been paid for and guaranteed to us through His Word!
As Lily has gotten older, she has gotten harder and harder to care for, and to help make our lives easier, my parents gifted us a lot behind their own home. We designed and built an incredible home on that lot, one that is fully wheelchair-friendly, and we purchased an incredible Honda wheelchair van with a ramp that slides out from underneath. The house and the ramp have made it easier for us to care for Lily, and it minimizes the number of times that we have to transfer Lily. It's also incredible that we have my parents right behind us so that they can run over and help with Lily on a moment's notice. And obviously, all of my kids have developed incredible relationships with their grandparents by having them right next door! We moved in to our new house in September 2007, and we praise the Lord for every day that we are able to remain living here.
The doctors were never able to tell us what caused Lily's condition, but from what we have learned, it's clear to Kim and I that it was caused by mercury because the Lord revealed the cause to Kim in a vision. All I will say on that subject is to be careful what fish you eat, be concerned if you have mercury fillings in your teeth, and pay attention to how close you live to coal or other plants that put out mercury!
Our doctors were not 100% convinced on the cause, and they warned us that the condition could have been a genetic problem created by Kim's and my DNA. They warned us that if we had another child, that child could also have lissencephaly. We did some rudimentary DNA tests which suggested that it was probably NOT genetic, and after lots and lots of prayers for wisdom, Kim and I took a leap of faith and decided to complete our family. In 2003, we welcomed Jake Aaron to our family, and the Lord has used that boy to restore our peace and joy. Jake was born perfectly healthy, and he is the most loving, unselfish person I have ever met (next to his Mom, of course). His first, natural instinct is to think of others before himself, and he will give his last dollar and the shirt off his back to a complete stranger. He is a straight-A student, always happy, and the most fun and interesting 10-year old on the planet. He is frighteningly intelligent and usually two steps ahead of every conversation. He is loving, joyful, well-mannered, and he LOVES the Lord! The Lord has truly blessed us, and I tell Jake every day that God looked at all the little boys and chose to give the BEST one to us! When we were picking family nicknames a few years ago, Jake's was "J-Dog," but somehow he could not say that and what kept coming out of his mouth was "Cherrydog," so that is the nickname that has stuck!
So as I write this, we have three children, and I also have four nephews that live near us that are like my own children. But after all that, we are not sure if our family is complete yet, and we feel like the Lord has somebody that He wants us to adopt. We are waiting for that door to open . . . . STAY TUNED FOR AN UPDATE ABOUT OUR SON RYDER JOE, WHOM WE ADOPTED IN MAY 2013!
Back to my education and career, I chose Texas A&M University, because frankly the University of Texas was just too liberal for my Christian values! I was always excellent at math, numbers, and anything that was logical, and I ended up placing third in the State of Texas in Accounting when I was a Senior in high school. My success and natural fit with accounting led me to receive a degree in Accounting from Texas A&M University in August of 1993. I maintained straight-A's until my Senior year, when Kim and I decided to get married sooner than planned due to the failing health of one of my grandfathers. That was a tough semester, and I ended up getting some B's before it was all said and done. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 3.75 GPA. I have VERY few regrets in my life, but I certainly was capable of finishing college with a 4.00 GPA and Summa Cum Laude, and that is one of the regrets that I still carry to this day.
After I graduated, we moved to Springfield, Missouri, in August 1993. My parents and sister moved at the same time to the same place, and we actually lived with my parents for a few years while we saved money to buy our first home. I took a job with Baird, Kurtz, and Dobson, a large regional accounting firm in Springfield, but stayed their just six months until February 1994.
When my parents had moved with us from Texas to Missouri, my Dad had went out on his own as an outside salesman. He had customers that had bought trucks from him for decades, and they were all loyal to him wherever he went. So he decided to work outside the dealership as an independent contractor, and he formed contractual relationships with a few different franchised dealers. He was paid commission-only, no benefits, no vehicle, no health insurance, no salary. He either performed or he got nothing, and did he ever perform! By February 1994, Dad needed some serious help, so I resigned from my accounting position to form a partnership with my parents. Initially, we started out as "Davis Equipment Company," but eventually morphed into "Fleet Sales LLC." My business, computer, and accounting skills have been a perfect compliment to Steve's natural sales skills, and together we have made an unstoppable pair. We both have the same principles and ideas, and we have NEVER had a disagreement that I would consider of any consequence. Working together has been a dream-come-true for the both of us, and we are a perfect example of the word "synergy."
With respect to our business plan, our main source of income was the sale of General Motors Medium Duty Trucks. These are class 4 - class 8 vehicles, referred to as the Chevrolet Kodiak and the GMC Topkick. These are "big trucks," not pickups! Think dump trucks, fire trucks, lumber trucks, bucket trucks. Steve and I were the absolute BEST at what we did, and each year we finished in the top 10 for the entire United States. We developed an incredible customer base that included the leaders in each industry: Fortune 500 companies whose upright business practices were a perfect match to our hard-working Christian beliefs. The Lord really blessed our business, and we eventually expanded to include a used truck operation in Springfield, Missouri. This is a bricks-and-mortar establishment with a full 6-bay truck shop, state-of-the-art paint booth, and several employees. My brother-in-law Paul handles the used truck sales, while Steve and I continued selling hundreds of new GM trucks each year. Everything was perfectly organized and running at full stride UNTIL . . . . . . back to that later!
Around 1996-1997, I finally had a secure income and our first home, and I had a little bit of extra money to play with. My parents had been buying antiques at estate auctions, and thru them I found out that there were often coins being sold at these same auctions. I had been hooked on coins since I was 10 when my great-grandfather gave me my first coin, a well-worn 1922 peace dollar. Like every other kid, I became interested in Lincolns, Buffaloes, Mercuries, Walkers, Morgans, and I built a meaningless but enjoyable assortment of those as I was growing up. And those were the coins that I was able to buy at these auctions, so that is what I started to do. I would buy coins at the auctions, and then resell them to the local coin shops or in my parent's booth at a local antique mall.
Around 1997-1998, I stumbled upon large cents at an antique mall, and the rest is history. They quickly got into my blood, and I was fascinated with the early coppers. By the time the 1999 EAC convention came around, I was fully-addicted and attended my first EAC at Cincinnati, OH. At that show, I was pulled the rest of the way in to the world of EAC's, and I have never looked back. I remember meeting Tom Deck and H. Craig Hamling at that show, and I also remember that I somehow managed to buy TWO 1793 S14 Liberty Cap large cents there (wish I had kept them!).
That experience completely infected me with the early copper bug, and instead of buying and selling the generic type coins, I concentrated firmly on early coppers. As the internet continued to grow and expand, I quickly discovered that there was a wealth of buying and selling opportunities to be found online. I built a simple, simple website that featured half cents and large cents for sale, and I slowly built a loyal customer base. I developed wholesale relationships with some of the "big" copper dealers like Chris, Tom, Doug, Steve, and Greg, and they have all helped my business to grow by helping me in any way that they could. My website has been successful for a couple of main reasons. First, I ran the business like I thought the Lord would want me to, and I treated buyers and sellers the only way that I knew how to treat them, and that is the RIGHT way. Second, I realized that excellent photos and a contstantly-updated website were the two secrets to online success, and I did my best to have the highest-quality photos of any other dealer, and a website that was updated about every two weeks. My customers really responded to my style of business, and each year, the coin business got better and better. So from around 1996 until about a 2008-2009, any profits that I made by selling coins was just reinvested into MORE coins for inventory. I was also able to keep a few incredible coins for my own collection.
In 2009, our world was turned upside-down. As a result of the GM bankruptcy, the lawyers forced GM to shutdown the Medium Duty Truck Division, even though it was profitable, because they deemed it outside of their "core business." So my source of income since 1994 disappeared overnight, and my family, our dealer partners, and all of our customers were left out to dry. We still have our used truck operation here in Springfield where I come to work every day, but frankly the dealership represents a huge overhead and a tiny source of income, and without the income from our new truck sales, we have been in "survival mode" for almost three years now. We have let go most of our employees and have been running on a skeleton crew. But by a series of small miracles, we have made every payroll and every personal and business bill payment that has been due. We are confident that our new truck income will be restored, and we are working on new franchises to sell and new customers to sell them to.
Thru all of the trials and tribulations, the Lord has proven that He is faithful, and the more I turn over to the Lord, the better things are. Whenever we have gotten into financial corners, we have taken the leap of faith by INCREASING our giving and tithing, even to our last dollar. And every time, the Lord has rewarded our faithfulness with a miraculous blessing. We have learned thru all this that the Lord has us in His hands, and NOTHING can remove us!
One of those miracles is that my coin business has grown enough over the past dozen years that my family has been able to pay it's bills ever since I lost my truck income. I have been able to consistently find and offer incredible half cents and large cents for sale, and my relationships with my coin suppliers and my customers have both continued to blossom. Although being a "real, full-time coin dealer" is not what I had planned, the Lord knew years ago when I started this coin business that I would need it "for such a time as this," and I give praise to my Lord that thru His wisdom and blessings, He has made provisions for my family thru the current circumstances. And I praise Him because I also know in my spirit that our truck business will be restored to even bigger and better levels! But for right now, there is a time and a purpose for every season under Heaven, and I am really enjoying the season of miracles and blessings I am experiencing thru Earlycoppercoins.com! I pray that you, too, are blessed by my business!