Glenn Sorgenstein, owner of Wilshire Coin, caught the collecting bug when he was a youngster. “Back then, we collected everything,” he remembers, “from baseball cards to coins to bottle caps.”
Despite his interest, Glenn thought that his first job in a coin store in his early twenties would be temporary. After two weeks, he knew it was a lifetime vocation. He has now been in the business for over 40 years. Glenn assumed ownership of Wilshire Coin in 1989, which settled at its current location on Lincoln Boulevard in 2008.
Customers enter what is essentially a “walk-in vault” for the trove of gold, silver, and coins of all kinds that Glenn and his staff carry. Their specialty is U.S. gold coins made prior to 1932, but the business also deals in bullion products, foreign exchange, antiquities, and occasional art objects. As Glenn says, coins themselves are “manufactured pieces of art.”
Glenn sees a gap in how the generations view and value tangible objects. Younger generations are “satisfied by just looking at an image on a screen,” he explains. “But, you need to hold and experience things so that they can truly tell you their history. People should not forget about the tangible side to life.” He describes the stories a coin from the 1850s can tell, for example – all the places it has been and hands it has passed through – stories that people become part of when they hold such an object.
Glenn always recommends investing in tangible goods that hold their value: “Things that will be in fashion today, tomorrow, and 20 years from now.” Beyond monetary value, he also hopes that people will “explore things that really move them – be it coins, art, or comic books.”
Glenn is also practical about collecting, citing the old adage “you can’t take it with you.” He hopes that anything that leaves his store “goes into the hands of someone who understands and is willing to teach other people its value,” continuing the journey that objects make through the generations so that people can continue to collect and appreciate things of real value.
Wilshire Coin is located at 1312 Lincoln Blvd. Call 310-393-0661 for store hours. Visit their website to learn more: www.wilshirecoin.com.
By Anne Wallentine