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About Leon

The Leon Hendrickson Legacy | 1926-2017

SilverTowne Founders Leon and Hammie Hendrickson

"Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver the other gold." - Leon Hendrickson

Leon Hendrickson was born in 1926 in a Union City, Indiana farmhouse and spent his early childhood in Randolph County. Leon's lifestyle was, above all else, one that was emphasized with strong ties to faith in his family, community and his chosen profession. He was the coin dealer's coin dealer and also one of the greater collecting fraternity's stabilizing influences.

Raised in a family imbued with a strong Quaker heritage, he was one of four children, three sons and a daughter, raised by Charles and Mary Hendrickson in a rural east-central Indiana farming community. Leon graduated from McKinley High School in 1944, in the midst of World War II, so college was not an option for him. Rather he chose to enlist in the U.S. Navy, and before his 18th birthday was aboard a destroyer and under enemy fire in the Pacific.

While still in the service, Leon married his high school sweetheart -- Ruhama Rhoades. Three years later young David made his appearance in this world followed by sisters Kathy and Tanda.

Following discharge from the Navy, he lived briefly in Galion, Ohio with his new bride, Ruhama (affectionately known as Hamie). But it didn’t take long for the couple to decide to move back to Randolph County Indiana where they settled in the Winchester area.

Leon soon became involved in farming, started a skating rink business, and ran a rural mail route. In addition to their other income-generating ventures, Leon and his wife became part-owners of a restaurant Hamie’s parents owned at the time. This is where Leon’s love of coins began. As he became interested in the coins customers were using to pay for their meals with, he soon began collecting the more interesting ones. This is how the coin business that would become SilverTowne started out of a cigar box under a lunch counter. Leon started dealing in coins full time in 1967.

Leon often observed, in more recent years, in the early days of his coin business pursuit that it took all of those other jobs to support the launch of SilverTowne to keep it financially afloat. Leon was a very hard worker and constantly on the go, leading some acquaintances to observe, "they followed him around for a week before they wrote the job description of a workaholic."

The business continued to grow from the cigar box to the basement of the Hendrickson home from 1958 to 1982. In March of 1982 the business moved to a newly constructed, high security, 12,000 square foot structure. Thought to be more than adequate to meet the requirements of the rapidly growing business, it was soon discovered that it was not the case. In 1985 another building of similar size was purchased and the manufacturing, smelting and custom minting departments were moved to a new location. Then within another 6 years yet another massive remodeling and expansion program was underway that more than doubled space for the jewelry department, a collectables room and larger more efficient shipping and receiving areas.

Leon always found time - notwithstanding his constant coast-to-coast travels in pursuit of his numismatic business interests - to be a very involved person in his community, where he was a member of both the Better Business Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce. He was the 1987 recipient of the Chamber's Outstanding Business Leader Award Recognition. In 1982 he was named "Citizen of the Year" by the Winchester Lions Club. In 1988 he was the Grand Marshall of the Hoosier Celebration.

He was a nationally recognized Numismatist with more than 22 accomplishments and awards. Leon was also an active member of more than 30 numismatic organizations and a former president of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS) and Indiana State Numismatic Association (ISNA). Leon’s memberships include being a life member in the ANA (American Numismatics Association) #LM692 and PNG (Professional Numismatists Guild) #170.

In Loving Memory of Leon Hendrickson 1926-2017 SilverTowne Founder

The Passing of a Legacy

On Sunday morning July 23rd, 2017 Leon Hendrickson, adored patriarch and founder of SilverTowne passed away. Leon spent his final days surrounded by his family, passing peacefully. Leon pleasantly welcomed the end of his life on earth, as he looked forward to spending the rest of eternity with his beloved wife, Ruhama (Hamie), who passed away seven years ago in August.

Leon and Ruhama Hendrickson leave behind the legacy of SilverTowne and The Coin Vault. Three children, David Hendrickson (wife Debbie), two daughters Kathy Barker (husband Steve) and Tanda Abel (husband Tony). 10 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.

Leon received many honors and awards over the years, including:

  • 2012 – Coin Dealer Hall of Fame Award, PCGS CoinFacts™
  • 2008 – Numismatist of the Year, American Numismatic Association
  • 2003 – Presidential Award, American Numismatic Association
  • 2003 – Lifetime Achievement Award, Professional Numismatists Guild
  • 1999 – Manufacturer of the Year, Economic Development Foundation
  • 1995 – Lifetime Achievement Award, Blue Ridge Numismatic Association
  • 1993 – Numismatic Ambassador, Numismatic News
  • 1993 – “Just for being you” Special Tribute Award, Alabama Numismatic Association
  • 1991 – Outstanding Member Award, Tennessee State Numismatic Society
  • 1990 – Medal of Merit, American Numismatic Association
  • 1989 – Man of the Year Award, National Silver Dollar Roundtable
  • 1988 – Award of Merit, Central States Numismatic Society
  • 1987 – Founders Award, Indiana State Numismatic Association
  • 1982 – Citizen of the Year, Winchester Lions Club
  • 1978 – President’s Award, National Silver Dollar Roundtable

A video of Leon Hendrickson from CoinWeek on a Silver Dollar Investment Seminar in 1988.

Learn more in Leon's biography, Rare Coins, Rare People.

Leon’s Secrets to Success:

  • “Treat people right. Everybody’s different, but treat ‘em all alike – like you’d want to be treated.”
  • “Honor others, be polite, have a good attitude, show respect.”
  • “Even if you disagree you can express yourself without hurtful words.”
  • “You can choose to be content and make the best of every situation even if it is hard.”
  • “Enjoy life every day.”
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