Metal Marketplace International (MMI), a leading supplier of gold and silver in the United States, started 40 years ago in Philadelphia as a company named Anthony’s Coins. Anthony’s Coins bought scrap gold, platinum and silver and bought and sold rare coins in gold and silver. The company also sold new and used jewelry.
When Tony Acquaviva, founder of the company, met a factory owner seeking an outlet for his gold chains, Tony offered him melt as that was all he knew. The factory owner offered to buy back anything Tony couldn’t sell - and that was the start of a nearly half-century business.
The company’s name was changed to Metal Marketplace International in 1980 when Anthony’s Coins purchased a company in Cherry Hill, N.J. The company moved and stayed there four years; business grew quickly to more than $5 million a year as scrap gold buyers wanted to buy gold chain.
In 1984, Gold Heart, a New York company, was supplying MMI with $90,000 a week in gold chain products. “One rainy weekend, Gold Heart was robbed,” Tony says. “At the time, it was the largest robbery in New York City history. Metal Marketplace International could not get delivery while the insurance company and the police investigated.”
One week while Tony was at Gold Heart, unable to get delivery, he spoke with an Italian factory representative who was also visiting. After the discussion, MMI started buying directly from Italy.
MMI moved back to Philadelphia in that same year and eventually opened an office in Arezzo, Italy. MMI’s largest customer purchase in one year was over $30 million. The company got hit hard in the recession of 2008/2012 but survived and thrived: MMI in 2018 is still supplying thousands of jewelers all over the United States.
Behind MMI’s Success
Tony says his company pulls ahead from its competition in five main areas:
- The company’s slogan - Price Match Guaranteed - means it will meet or beat any price. “MMI sells to many retailers and wholesalers and we must be price-conscious at all times,” Tony says. “This is what drives our company’s success.”
- Impeccable service: MMI strives to deliver most products in one day. “Most of our gold products come with a lifetime warranty against any damage,” Tony says.
- MMI sizes most products to meet the customer’s needs.
- MMI’s Triple Play program: Order $2,000 in January, pay in May; order $2,000 in May, pay in August; order $2,000 in August, pay in December.
- MMI is a leading supplier of gold and silver in the United States. They have a new catalog with 3,000 styles of handmade custom products made in the U.S.A. “The company offers two- to three-week delivery on this product,” Tony says. “This product is all special order with no stock required and can be made in 10-karat, 14-karat, 18-karat, 22-karat, sterling silver, platinum, palladium, white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, two-tone and tri-color. Three thousand styles in 12 different metals and colors is 36,000 different combinations.”
Fresh ideas are always welcome at MMI, and a charming one came from Tony’s wife, Suzanne, last year. Asked what she thought should grace the company’s new catalog cover, which traditionally featured models wearing MMI’s best sellers, Suzanne said, “People wearing your new styles of jewelry helps to sell - and animals sell! Why not put Berger Bee Einstein on the cover?” Why Berger Bee Einstein? Because he is very smart! Tony liked the idea and consulted with his two sales managers, Barry Hochman and Joe Evich. Both loved the idea - and the Berger Bee Einstein era was born.
Suzanne (suzanneveronica.com), a talented singer and songwriter who has produced seven CDs, had connections to a photography studio and arranged a shoot with Berger Bee Einstein. “Berger Bee Einstein had a great time at his photo shoot!” says Tony, noting that the canine star’s family donates monthly to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The Metal Marketplace International catalog is extremely successful, Tony says. “Every day in thousands of jewelry stores, the Berger Bee Einstein catalog is put on the counter by the independent jeweler. A customer comes into the store and picks up an MMI catalog. The customer smiles when he or she sees the picture of the toy poodle on the cover. How can you not smile? Now the independent jeweler has a smiling customer ready to buy!
“Think about it. Many customers coming into a jewelry store are apprehensive about the purchase. They do not know how to compare karat gold; they do not know if they are getting a fair price; they probably have been taken before in their lifetime by some salesperson. Although Berger Bee Einstein does not solve those problems 100 percent of the time, he surely helps to put the customers in a positive place. Then the jeweler tells the consumer that 98 percent of the gold product in this catalog has a lifetime warranty. Now they really smile.”
MMI’s Best Sellers
In gold chain, MMI has three best categories: box chain, cable chain and wheat chain. These three styles come in three different configurations:
- Basic lengths: 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 inches.
- Station adjustable: An 18-inch chain with an O ring at 16 inches; a second option comes in a 20-inch chain with an O ring at 18 inches.
- Adjustable chains: This option has three lengths. A 22-inch adjustable has a sliding ball that adjusts the chain from 22 inches down to the length the customer prefers, including 16, 17, 18 and 19 inches. The second adjustable chain is MMI’s industry exclusive. The 26-inch adjustable has a sliding ball that adjusts to as small as the consumer prefers, and up to 26 inches. “The importance of MMI’s 26 inch is that it can be pulled over your head, eliminating the necessity to hook the clasp after it is on your neck,” Tony says. MMI also stocks a 30-inch adjustable chain with a sliding ball.
MMI sells many other styles of gold. Most popular is its solid diamond cut rope chain from 1 millimeter to an impressive 18 millimeters in 10 karat and 14 karat. An 18-millimeter diamond cut rope chain in 14 karat weighs approximately 854 grams (and costs about $26,600) in 26 inches. In 34 inches, it weighs approximately 1,117 grams (and costs about $34,800). The chain is available in 10 karat as well. For those who need the most popular gauges, MMI recommends sticking to the 1.8 to 3.5 millimeter diamond cut rope chain. “There are not many customers who will buy our 18 millimeter,” Tony says, “but now they know it’s available.”
MMI’s solid diamond cut rope chain is the finest rope chain in the United States, Tony says. “It’s not a loose, cheaply made weave. It is a tight weave with superb craftsmanship. And MMI’s solid diamond cut rope chain comes with our lifetime warranty. Return it and MMI will fix it or replace it.”
Other popular items include MMI’s solid curb and figaro chains. The company has in stock all of the popular millimeters available in 10 karat and 14 karat. “Our curb and figaro chains have the best price points in the marketplace; they also have the best craftsmanship that your money can buy,” Tony says. “Again, MMI offers its lifetime warranty on all of our 10-karat and 14-karat curb and figaro.”
A style that is exploding this year is MMI’s solid and semi-solid 10-karat and 14-karat Miami Cuban chains. “Ours is half round, true Miami Cuban,” Tony says. “Our Miami Cuban has one of the best price points in the industry.”
MMI’s selection of hoop earrings includes polished, diamond cut textured, diamond cut spiraled and diamond cut twisted. The earrings have a new, stronger alloy that makes them more durable, enabling MMI to extend the lifetime warranty for all hoop earrings. MMI’s earring selection also features ball studs, Italian earrings and many other unique styles.
See Metal Marketplace International’s entire collection in their three catalogs or on their website, www.metalmarketplace.com. Call 800-523-9191 and ask for MMI’s friendly sales staff: Barry Hochman, Joe Evich or Alex Grosman.
“Just remember,” says Tony, “Berger Bee Einstein says, ‘Price Match Guaranteed.’”