Now celebrating their 12th year in Ashland and a quarter of a century in business, Mark and Andrea Hutto are the owners of J. Austin Coin & Jewelry. With an appointment-only schedule, the staff at J. Austin & Co. can give their customers the full attention they deserve. From collectable coins and bullion to fine jewelry, this dynamic team is equipped to meet all your precious metal needs. In today’s interview I speak with Andrea about life and work in Ashland. We’ll get a market update and gain a deeper understanding of the full scope of services available at J. Austin & Company.
Hi Andrea, welcome back and thank you for doing this interview with me today.
Thanks Shields, I’m excited to be here. It is always a great way to reach our existing clients, as well as newcomers in our little town.
It’s hard to imagine that twelve years have gone by now for your retail store here in Ashland.
Yes, it has been an amazing journey. Thanks to all our loyal clients, we managed to transition from a wholesale-only model to embracing the world of retail. It has been very rewarding to work directly with people and help many of them grow and secure wealth in our community.
Over the course of working in Ashland, what have been some of the most important lessons you all have learned?
We’ve recognized that educating our clients is a very important part of this business. These days anyone can buy an ounce of gold on the web, but to have long-term success, most people need some guidance.
Previously we were surrounded by fellow members of the wholesale trade who already understood markets, volatility, liquidity, et cetera. When we opened our doors to the public, we realized just how many misconceptions many people have about coins, bullion, and collecting versus securing oneself against inflation.
For example, new investors are often swayed by beautiful coins, so they begin their gold or silver stacking with coins that sell well over their precious metal value. The collectable market can be quite volatile and will often move in the opposite direction of the bullion market.
Most savvy investors purchase precious metals over time. Since nobody can predict the absolute highs or lows of any market, the best thing is to have a disciplined approach. Decide how much you would like to accumulate overall and set short-term goals based on that. One of my dear friends used to spend a fixed amount of dollars every month, no matter how high or low the price of silver was. After a couple decades he accumulated an impressive nest egg, and when the market soared, he sold off half of his holdings. He not only made all his initial investments back with a generous return, but he still owned the other half free and clear! This approach is scalable for anyone.
The inherent value of gold and silver is such a fascinating topic. Why have people valued these metals throughout human history?
Gold and silver are tangible, stable, highly non-reactive, and most importantly, finite. An ounce of gold has pretty much the same buying power today, as it did a hundred years ago. We currently have a twenty-dollar paper note from the 1920s in our case, right next to a gold coin from the same era that is also monetized at twenty dollars. The paper note a hundred years ago was practically interchangeable with the gold coin. Either would have paid for the nicest outfit in town. A hundred years later the gold coin would still pay for the nicest outfit in town, but the paper note would barely buy you a pair of slippers.
Can you tell us more about handling estates? What is involved in such an undertaking and why should customers choose to work with your company vs doing it themselves?
Estate sales are great for selling couches and other straightforward things, but the difference between common and valuable coins or jewelry are much more subtle.
Having an Estate Appraisal prepared by a professional like us can be fast, informative and give you the confidence to divide your belongings fairly, either now or in the future. Just recently I read a story about a lucky lady showing off the diamond she got for nothing at a garage sale.
In 2021 a British woman was downsizing and was about to give away a big costume ring she had bought for fun at a trunk sale. On a whim she took it to her local expert who identified it as a 34-carat diamond, worth $2.7 million. This happens when grieving families are tasked with organizing an inheritance or settling an estate without all the information. Damaged goods, out of style or unusual shapes can all confuse an owner’s instincts. That’s why we prepare appraisals. I can’t promise that there will be real treasure in every estate, but what I can promise is that you will have a more complete understanding of the monetary value of your precious items.
Yes, let’s talk about diamonds. What are you looking for and how do you best assist your customers with diamonds?
We excel at getting clients the most for their gem quality diamonds over a carat. The last couple of years were brutal on the diamond market, as travel and trade came to an almost complete halt over the globe, but some of our channels have reopened. While laboratory manufactured diamonds have been gaining acceptance with the Millennial generation, discerning buyers are still seeking out earth-mined diamonds. We work closely with GIA to have diamonds authenticated and accurately graded to prepare them for sale on the global market.
Take stock of your financial situation. Lighten the load if you have items that you may never use, and channel that energy into areas that can benefit you going forward.
If you have fine jewelry that you do not wish to hold onto, let us help you evaluate it. Luxury goods are the ones most affected by economic downturns, and we could be heading into a lengthy period of steadily rising inflation.
Very wise indeed. Andrea, thank you so much for speaking with me today. Are there any last thoughts or comments you would like to share with our readers?
I just want to remind everyone that the end of the year is fast approaching. As usual, our company takes a well-deserved break starting December 24th through January 3rd. Shop for that unique gift before then, and if you have any financial goals to meet before the end of the year, let us help you make that happen.
Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium Bullion Trading
Purchasing Estates – Scrap Gold, Diamonds, Antique and Vintage Jewelry, Pocket Watches, Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe, Sterling Flatware and Hollowware, Collectable Coins
Estate and Insurance Appraisal Services
To find out more, call J. Austin & Co. for an appointment.
Available Tuesday through Friday 10 AM to 5 PM in the Ashland Shopping Center
1632 Ashland Street, Ashland, OR 97520