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Bucks County Rare Coins & Metals opens in Sellersville


Most people see an old coin or piece of paper currency and wonder about its value. Michael Leven wonders about its history.

“I think about who has held it, how they earned it, what they bought with it, what were their hopes and dreams,” Levin said. “It’s fascinating to me.”

And now that he has opened Bucks County Rare Coins & Metals in his hometown of Sellersville, Leven — a “purveyor of numismatic rarities,” as one person described him — should get plenty of opportunities to experience history through the things he buys and sells.

Located on Main Street in the borough’s burgeoning cultural district, the store deals in everything from pirate doubloons and U.S. gold coins to Indian head pennies, foreign coins, silver dollars, bullion, and scrap jewelry. Among its prized items are a doubloon recovered from a 1715 shipwreck that gave Fliora’s Treasure Coast its name, and a Mexican 8 Reales (Piece of Eight) that washed up on the Jersey Shore during Superstorm Sandy.

He even has a collection of Bucks County currency printed by individual banks between 1863 and 1935, including ones from Perkasie and Sellersville. The bills are not necessarily for sale but….

“Everything has a price,” said Leven with a smile.

“Some things might be more inflated than others if I really don’t want to sell it,” he said. “But if someone is really interested, I’ll listen.”

At 33, the 2008 Pennridge High School grad is a relatively young man in an industry generally dominated by grizzled veterans. He started collecting seriously almost out of guilt. When his grandmother passed away, Leven inherited her modest coin collection amassed over a lifetime. At the time, he felt the monetary value of the collection outweighed its sentimental significance, so he sold most of it to help pay his tuition at The Art Institute of Philadelphia. In 2014, he earned a degree in film making and video production.

But after spending some time traveling the world as a professional skateboarder, Leven began to feel the need to replenish the gift his grandmother had given him. He started visiting dealers and trade shows, buying back items similar to what was in her collection.

“She was a novice collector,” Leven said. “Unknowingly, she got me into the business.”

Even with no professional training in key skills such as how to grade coins and spot counterfeits, Leven impressed some of the more-veteran numismatists he met with his passion and a keen eye for collecting. Despite their age difference — he was about 30 years younger than most established coin dealers — they helped him navigate the ethics of industry that can be viewed skeptically by some.

“They instilled in me the values of honesty, truthfulness, and transparency in the way I do business,” he said.

Leven landed a job with Muller Rare Coins & Jewelry in Hamburg, where he had sold his grandmother’s collection. In 2018, they opened a store in Southampton for him to manage.

But three years later, burned out by the pandemic, Leven began looking to open his own store. “I was like, ‘You know what? The only way to make it in this world is to do it on my own.’,” he said.

While he’s been open in Sellersville for only about six weeks, Leven said business is brisk. About half of his customers are serious collectors, half are people who come across old coins and bills in a drawer and are just looking to cash out. The hottest selling items are investment-grade silver bullion, mostly to customers looking for protection from the unsettled banking industry.

“There’s a little weirdness in the air and they just want to kind of diversify their portfolio,” Leven said.

Leven’s store oozes history. In addition to the coins and paper money on display, the walls are decorated with items such as a document proclaiming Leven’s great-great grandfather’s promotion to First Lieutenant with the Pennsylvania Volunteers, a portrait of his grandfather, and a Civil War rifle.

“Once you’re into it, you get hooked,” Leven said. “I definitely got hooked.”

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