Next Generation Takes Helm At Gold Hill Coin, One Of Northern California’s Oldest Coin Stores

Popular coin and precious metals shop founded in 1979 in downtown San Rafael, California acquired by the son of long-time owner.

by Donn Pearlman | Published on April 22, 2024

(San Rafael, CA) – A change in ownership at Gold Hill Coin keeps one of San Rafael, California’s oldest rare coin and precious metals store in the family. Located at 1537 4th Street in downtown San Rafael, the store has been sold by its long-time owner Clark Smith, Sr. to his son Clark Smith, Jr. 

“The store opened on 4th Street in 1979 and my father purchased it in 1987. He bought and sold millions of dollars of rare coins, vintage paper money, jewelry, watches, and gold and silver bullion items the past three decades,” said Smith, Jr. who serves as Managing Partner and Director of World Coins at Gold Hill Coin. 

“We will continue that tradition of service excellence and are now making renovations to the store for the convenience of customers and expanding our online business. This includes a state-of-the-art X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer to precisely analyze precious metals. We are one of the few stores in the Bay Area with this technology,” he explained.

Veteran San Francisco professional numismatist Luis Ramos is now a Partner and Director of United States Coins at the store. 

“I am happy to be joining a firm that has been around for so long. Gold Hill has sold so many great coins including historic San Francisco Mint rarities and California Gold Rush-era treasures, such as a Kellogg & Co. 1855 $50 gold coin, one of only about a dozen are known. The store also sold an 1879 Flowing Hair ‘Stella,’ one of the rare, experimental U.S. $4 denomination gold coins,” stated Ramos. 

The store currently offers in person and online a wide-ranging selection of coins dating back to ancient Greece and Rome 2,000 years ago to modern coins of the United States and other countries around the world. 

Smith, Jr. is the author of The Standard Catalog of Japanese Coins, was cataloger for the pre-Meiji coins of the Jacob's sale by Heritage Auctions and cataloger of the Japanese fantasy coin sale by Kagin's. He is also the official distributor of China’s Panda precious metal coins for the Long Beach (California) Expo. 

Ramos specializes in gold, silver, and copper coins of the United States.

Both Clark and Ramos are members in good standing of the American Numismatic Association as well as many professional dealers’ organizations.

Gold Hill Coin, located at 1537 4th Street near the intersection of E Street and F Street in downtown San Rafael, is open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm, and on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. The phone number is (415) 457-9722 and the website is

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Author: Donn Pearlman

Donn Pearlman image A former award-winning Chicago broadcaster and journalist, Donn Pearlman is a public relations executive and recipient of the 2015 ANA Farran Zerbe Award and the 2018 Professional Numismatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.

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