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About The Butternut Company & FAQ

About Butternut

Colonel Steve Ellsworth

About The Butternut Company

Colonel EllsworthColonel Ellsworth has been an avid coin collector since the age of six. He began buying and selling coins and collections on a part time basis in the early 80's. His Civil war interests were sparked when he studied the Civil War battles as a student at the US Army's Command and Staff College. After graduating from the National War College in Washington, DC he developed a small following giving Civil War Battlefield tours. When he returned to Pentagon in 1994 from oversees active duty with the US Army, he began his full time business in his two favorite fields of study as the Butternut Company. The name was coined from both the coin world and Civil war. It was used to describe a desirable color of an Early American copper coin, as well as the color of the Confederate uniforms during the Civil War.

COL Ellsworth is a most personable and knowledgeable Civil War historic guide tour. His interest and perspective are unique in that he holds diplomas from the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, the National War College in Washington, D.C. and the National Defense University. His personal library includes over 400 Civil War books. He is a descendant of Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, the first Union officer killed in the War. He routinely conducts tours for the most senior levels of the US government. His broad perspective offers valuable insights into tactical, strategic and political aspects of the Civil War. 

COL Ellsworth is a life member of: The American Numismatic Association, The American Numismatic Society, The Virginia Numismatic Association, The Maryland State Numismatic Association, The Tennessee State Numismatic Society, the Georgia Numismatic Association, the Alabama Numismatic Society, the South Carolina Numismatic jakeAssociation, the Blue Ridge Numismatic Association, the Civil War Token Society, The National War College and the Army War College. He currently serves as the American Numismatic Association's Regional Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic States, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Numismatic Association.

He currently resides in Virginia with his wife Gale and their two dogs, Jake and Jasmine, along with their cat Awesome. Click here for more pictures.

Our Credentials

Our Credentials ~ Builders and Sellers of Great Coin Collections

Colonel Steven K. Ellsworth, (ret.)
Coin Collecting Since: 1951
Professional Numismatist: 1983-Present
Established Butternut: 1994, d.b.a. of Ellsworth & Associates of Virginia, Incorporated: 1986.

Professional Credentials:

Seminar Instructor, American Numismatic Association, 2000-present
President, 1999-2004 Virginia Numismatic Association
Board of Director, 1997-2006 Virginia Numismatic Association
State Convention Chairman, 1998, 1999, and 2000. Virginia Numismatic Association
District Delegate for Virginia, 1996-1998 American Numismatic Association
Regional Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic States, 1999-2003 American Numismatic Association
Board of Governors, 1999-2005 Eastern States Numismatic Association
Dealer Representative, Professional Coin Grading Service #902, 1995-Present
Dealer Representative, National Guaranty Corporation #266, 1995-Present
Author and Lecturer, Conference on American Coinage 1996 American Numismatic Society, New York City
Published Author of Cover Article, October 1999 and September 2000 The Numismatist; American Numismatic Association.
Published Articles in over 15 State and National Journals.
Consultant: United States Secret Service, 1999-2001.
Contributor to The Official "RED BOOK", A Guide Book of United States Coins, 2002-Presesnt.

Membership includes:

Life Member, American Numismatic Association #3559:1982
Life Member, American Numismatic Society, 1998
Life Member, Alabama Numismatic Association #2447
Life Member, Blue Ridge Numismatic Association #237
Life Member, Civil War Token Society #152
Life Member, Florida United Numismatists, Inc. #704
Life Member, Georgia Numismatic Association #160
Life Member, Maryland Numismatic Association #52
Life Member, Michigan State Numismatic Association #8177
Life Member, North Carolina Numismatic Association #105
Life Member, South Carolina Numismatic Association #132
Life Member, Tennessee State Numismatic Association #202
Life Member, The Lincoln Cent Society #49
Life Member, The Silver Dollar Round Table #86
Life Member, Virginia Numismatic Association #72
Member, Early American Copper, Inc. #1901, 1982-Present
Member, Texas Numismatic Association


3 Presidential Awards, American Numismatic Association
Exhibit Awards, Colorado, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia
Literary Awards, ANA, Michigan, South Carolina, and Tennessee
Recipient of Certificate of Merit, August 2000, Blue Ridge Numismatic Association
Outstanding Regional Coordinator, American Numismatic Association



Have Coins to Sell?

Appraisals for Coin and Currency Collections

United States Coins and Currency:
Your appraisal will be presented at current wholesale dealer prices using weekly-published prices for United States coins and currency.  Appraisals can usually be done at your home or office location, providing either address is listed in the telephone directory.  If necessary, the appraisal of extensive or  or exceedingly valuable collections can also be conducted at a bank location in a private room.  Click here for instructions to prepare your collection for appraisal.

World and Ancient Coins:
These types of coins or currency are appraised at my experienced opinion. These appraisals can also be done at your home or office location, providing either address is listed in the telephone directory.  Occasionally a very rare or valuable item may require additional research from our extensive source material, located at our secure facility.  This slightly more lengthy process, However, normally is not necessary.

Books, Antiques and Civil War Items:
We are active market makers in Coin and Civil War books and items from the Civil War and will assist you in determining the values of these items.  In addition,  we are very familiar with antiques and have other associates in specialized areas who can assist with the current market value and appraisals.  This research may require additional time.

Appraisal Rates:
Most collections of United States Proof, Mint or circulated coins can normally be done within an hour, providing they have been organized and sorted and organized as per our general instructions.   

Hourly Rate: Our rate is $85 an hour for verbal appraisals and $175 an hour for detailed written appraisals and certified estate appraisals. There is a minimum charge of $175 for all appraisals. Most collection of United States Proof, Mint or circulated coins can normally be appraised within two hours, provided they have been organized and sorted according to our general instructions.

Travel: Travel is billed at $ .58 per mile, to and from Fairfax, Virginia, plus any tolls and parking.  Armed escort service is available at $225 an hour, plus travel costs, within twenty-seven states, including Virginia and Maryland.  If air-travel is required, we bill for First Class travel and expenses.  Consult our web site at for our tentative show schedule.   If we can coordinate an appraisal while attending a show near your location, travel costs billings to you would be minimal.. 

Selling Your Collection:
Once your appraisal is completed, if you are interested, we will be happy to make you a fair offer for part or your entire collection.  Unlike most appraisers who will make an offer for only the most popular items, we will make an offer to purchase the entire collection.  Payment is normally by check, drawn on US funds.  When necessary, payment can also be made in cash, if prior arrangements have been confirmed and appropriate IRS requirements have been met. 

Should you decide to accept our offer for your collection within 180 days of our appraisal, you will be given full credit for the fee charged for the inventory and appraisal of the coins.  Travel time and expenses, however,  will still be charged.

Upon your request, we would also suggest any particular items that we would be willing to take on a consignment basis, for a 20% commission.  We are insured in excess of $500,000 in the event of any loss.  Once the items sell, full payment is made to you within 45 days. We can also suggest, in our opinion, any items that would benefit you by a third party certified grading service.  We are authorized dealers for all certified grading services. 

If you have extremely rare items, we can also recommend the best auction source for the type of material you possess.  We have close working arrangements with most major auction firms.  We can also negotiate a favorable consignment rate and establish the proper reserve in your behalf for a nominal 5% fee, based on the "hammer" price.  

The Decision to Sell a Collection:
It is sad commentary, but in most instances, spouses or children will sell a parent's or grandparent's life-long coin collection to a pawnshop or estate liquidator for a fraction of its worth.  While many trust officers, estate planners and attorneys are experts concerning financial instruments and real estate, few have expertise in collectables. It is also sad, but true, that I have personally overheard numerous times a less than ethical coin dealer boast how they “scored” or “ripped-off” some great coins from a grieving relative.  With our help, you will be far better prepared than most people facing the disposal of an estate that includes a coin or currency collection.

Many times collectors enjoy the hobby so much that they plan to leave their collections to children, grandchildren or other relatives.  That’s a great idea—providing that the recipient is already a coin collector or at least, interested in the hobby.  Otherwise, it may be better to leave them a vintage automobile (even that may not be appreciated as much as it was by the original owner.)  Unfortunately most collections are liquidated at a fraction of their value unless detailed instructions are left.

Coin collecting is a hobby and only provides a marginal investment for most coin and currency collectors. If purchased at a fair market price, properly graded for condition, stored carefully in inert containers and left without being cleaned or chemically treated, most coints have averaged about a 4.5% increase a year during the previous twenty years.

Whatever your decision is, be sure to secure the collection.  It has been estimated that one in three collections will be stolen.  If possible, bank safety boxes are excellent for the most valuable items. For additional security considerations, please consult our web site at: Please review “Tips for Collectors” Butternut Bites #4 and #5.

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