Donald Brigandi was a just a teenager when Brigandi Coin Company opened officially for business in 1959, but he’d already spent the better part of his life gearing up for its launch. At age 10, he started his own coin collection, soon setting up a trading mart in the family basement. By 13, he was making a steady profit by buying and selling from one dealer to another and making lucrative deals at coin exhibits and shows. When his father, Anthony, left his career at a pharmaceutical company and signed the Brigandi Coin Company partnership papers, Donald was still listed as an “infant,” legal language for anyone under 21.
Brigandi Coin Company grossed $69,000 in its first year of operation out of the family basement, and almost doubled its profits in the second year. It took just three years for Donald and Anthony to open a bustling store in New York City, where the business has flourished for more than 55 years.
Now led by Donald, his two brothers, Robert and John, and his nephew, Chris, Brigandi Coins and Collectibles has expanded its business from coins and currency to gold/silver bullion, vintage sports memorabilia, rare autographs and Americana. From our modest start, we are immensely proud to be recognized today as the nation’s preeminent coins and collectibles dealer.
Donald Brigandi, age 10, starts attending local coin shows, buying and selling coins. It seems he understands how to make money trading in coins. His father takes notice and lends him money.
By 1959, Donald and his father Anthony open up a mail order business in their Queens, N.Y basement selling coins.
By Late-1963, The Donald E. Brigandi Company coin business becomes so successful that the pair open up a retail coin shop in Midtown Manhattan’s 44th street. Anthony leaves his job of 25 years with the Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company, while Donald shuttles to Manhattan after his high school classes end for the day.
By 1964 “Don” Brigandi is a nationally recognized expert in U.S Rare Coins. The NY Daily News publishes an article about his nascent career and business. Don is even featured on the popular nationally televised game show “To Tell the Truth.” He, along with two imposters tried to stump the panel of 4 as to who the “Youngest Coin Dealer in America” was. Of course it was Don, age 17 at the time.
Note: But the Brigandi’s were not done with precious metals however. By the late-1960s they began purchasing silver bullion, as well as pre-1964 U.S. silver coins. This business blossomed by the 1970s and the Brigandi Coin Company became famous as traders, making a market daily in the physical silver metal, even offering their product in Italy.
By the late 1960s Brigandi father and son entered the silver precious metals business. The US Government actually backed much of its dollars with silver bullion. These dollars were known as “Silver Certificates,” and they could be redeemed at each of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks for actual silver Bullion (based on the current price of silver). The Brigandi's thus began offering a premium on each dollar for their redemption. Once purchased, the dollars were then redeemed for the bullion at the NY Federal Reserve Bank. Lines formed around the block of West 44th Street, that is until June of 1968 when the Federal Government decided it was time to stop their silver redemption plan and ceased to back their dollars with silver (as they had done with gold in 1933).
Brother Robert joins the family business after college graduation and a degree in economics.
The U.S. makes holding gold legal once again for its citizens, and the Brigandi's begin making their daily market in physical gold bullion, as well as coins.
Needless to say, the 1970s were filled with extremely active gold and silver trading, culminating in the “Hunt Brothers” attempt to corner the silver market.
The booming family business is officially branded Brigandi Coin Company.
A third brother, John, joins the Brigandi Coin Company after briefly practicing law in NYC. Anthony’s three children now in the family business.
John begins buying and selling rare sports cards and vintage baseball memorabilia. By the 1990s the Brigandi Coin Company emerges as one of the largest sports memorabilia companies in the country, dealing in only the finest quality available in the marketplace.
With the emergence of the memorabilia industry, Brigandi Coin Company starts expanding into vintage, non-sports related collectibles and is soon recognized as Brigandi Coins and Collectibles.
Amidst the tech bubble and rise in e-commerce, Brigandi’s officially joins eBay. The eBay store will go on to be recognized as a Top Rated Seller with thousands of transactions each year.
Brigandi Coin Company launches its own website as another channel of distribution for their expanding inventory.
John Brigandi joins the YES Network and is exclusively featured as a rare memorabilia expert on What It’s Worth, a show where people would bring in items from their collections to be appraised by John.
The store gets a renovation and is beautifully remodeled to keep up with the aesthetics of the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood.
After working at the store throughout high school and college, Chris Brigandi officially joins the Brigandi team. He joins his father and uncle in the family business as the third generation to carry on the Brigandi tradition.
Chris is featured in a 2008 Office Max penny prank advertisement. The commercial, broadcasted across the country, brings Brigandi Coin Company national recognition.
John begins loaning rare memorabilia from the Brigandi Collection to the Yogi Berra Museum. The unique pieces are exhibited and the Museum in Monclair, New Jersey, and a strong business relationship is formed with the Berra Family.
Later that year, Brigandi Coins and Collectibles hires Gerald Wu to head tech operations and add his passion and knowledge to the sports side of the business.
Brigandi Coins and Collectibles begins its partnerships with the New York Times Store and the Gilt Groupe, an online, flash-sale retailer.
Later that year, Robert’s son Justin Brigandi, who has worked in the store since he was a child, officially joins his father, uncle, and cousin as third generation in the family business.
After working as an intern during his time at Fordham University, Chris Caserta officially joins the Brigandi team following graduation.
After 35 years on 44th Street, Brigandi Coins and Collectibles moves up to New York's premier shopping district at the corner of 57th Street and Park Avenue. (104 East 57th Street.)
The Brigandi family, along with its dedicated work force, continue to keep the tradition of collecting rare coins and vintage sports memorabilia alive!
**AS OF SEPT. 2017, WE MOVED TO 104 E. 57TH STREET, NYC (CORNER OF PARK AVE.)