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What's In a Name? Sometimes, The Less the Better
(April 30, 2012) One of my long-held goals for our business has finally been achieved: We now are under a company name without the words “Coin” or “Gold” in it. The Georgia Sonora Company is our new name, and here's a little story about how and why that came about, and why it actually matters.
A bit about our background. For more than twelve years was part of the Coin & Stamp Gallery Incorporated (CSG Inc), a mostly family-held corporation which was formed in 1991 to operate the Coin Gallery in Phoenix. In 1999 the Internet business was launched under the same corporate ownership.

Over my past 20+ years doing bullion business, I have frequently heard from customers that they wish they didn’t have to write checks or make wire payments to “” or our old corporate name, the “Coin & Stamp Gallery Inc.” These customers felt that it was too easy for a curious employee of the bank or financial institution to figure out that a purchase of gold was being made.

This is no small issue. Privacy and security are major factors when acquiring precious metals, so any such transaction should be handled as discreetly as possible. Now that we are both receiving funds and making payments under the company name Georgia Sonora, your dealings with us will have an added layer of confidentiality. In this world, that’s a definite positive.

We have seen the coin and bullion business evolve and change so much since the first decade of the 21st century. This website,, has thrived so much that in 2011, Coin & Stamp Gallery Inc. sold the retail store (the Coin Gallery) so that our staff could devote their full efforts to the online bullion business.

But I will miss operating the retail store here in Arizona, which happens to be a great state for the precious metals business. Arizona’s modern history traces directly to precious metals and gold in particular.

The first Anglo settlements in this part of the West followed discoveries of gold in the 1860s, in the area which became the town of Prescott. When Arizona became a territory in 1867, Prescott was its capitol. Later, copper mines opened in Jerome, Bisbee, Globe, Superior, and Miami, and silver has been mined in the state as well.

To this day, gold is mined at claims all over the state. Over the years we saw quite a bit of placer gold and nuggets from Rich Hill, Lynx Creek, and Bagdad in Yavapai County. Wickenburg, Tucson, Congress,the Bradshaw Mountains, and other, mostly undisclosed locations, are still sources of native gold in Arizona.

So, gold from all over the West and even Alaska came through our store, and the stories came with them. Weekend prospectors, hard-rock entrepreneurs, and sand-and-gravel operators all brought gold in, even more so as prices climbed. Someday I’ll write a book about the characters I met, the deals that we were involved in, and the stories I was part of (or just heard about). In other words, the book will be mostly nonfiction.

Our bullion business evolved when we were still part of the Coin Gallery. We bought the shop in 1991, and very shortly were the busiest location in town. In addition to our numismatic business, we had a growing base of customers buying gold and silver as part of their overall asset allotment. We worked with a number of financial planners who used us to fill in their clients’ precious metals portfolios, a business that grew considerably right up to the end of the 1990s.

After a while, the meeting with first-time precious metals buyers became pretty routine. I would sit down with the client (often with their spouse) and answer a few dozen questions about gold, everything from its monetary history to what should they buy. After a while, I realized that I was hearing the same questions over and over – the ninety-nine questions that everybody asks about gold before they buy it.

We decided that the Internet might be the perfect medium for explaining the basics of gold to people. So in 1999 we built and published our first version of this site, accessible to the finanical planners that we work with, and their clients.

The first version of what became was very basic – six pages that pictured the different gold bullion products and expianed abit about the basics of buying bullion. the site also had a database that allowed anyone with Internet access (even dial-up!) to see market prices for the various bullion products based on current spot metals markets.

Within a year or so, the search engines found our website. Then we started doing business not only with clients who were recommended to us, but with people who were curious about gold, and needed information about gold, and a straightforward way to buy it. Our first significant sales were back in gold’s dark ages of 2001, when prices hovered around $260 per ounce.

People weren’t exactly beating down the doors to buy during that sleepy gold market, but the stock market’s tumble during 2000 was the beginning of a very tumultuous and unsettling decade for investors. As gold began its price climb over the next few years, we served a growing number of gold buyers as traditional investments began to lose appeal.

By the time the Credit Panic of 2008 began, we were well-positioned for the ensuing onslaught as demand for physical gold soared.

So to make a long story short, our corporate name has changed, but our business is the same as always. We will continue what we have done over the past twelve years, a period during which we have placed nearly a billion dollars worth of gold at today’s market prices.

As president and CEO of the Georgia Sonora Company, I look forward to what the next twelve years will bring!

-Richard Smith

April 30, 2012


Onlygold.Com BBB Business Review

Onlygold did business at the same location for more than sixteen years. CMI Gold & Silver Inc. has done business from three locations in Phoenix since 1973.

Both firms are Accredited Businesses with the Better Business Bureau, and neither firm has had a complaint filed with the BBB—ever!

In addition to gold, silver, platinum, and palladium in coin and bullion form, we also purchase a wide range of numismatic coins and currency for our retail business. Feel free to call us for quotes or price indications on anything in coins, bullion, and paper money.

We have really strong bids for gold and silver bullion and coins. is owned & published by CMI Gold & Silver Inc. Copyright – CMI Gold & Silver Inc. All rights reserved.

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