I have owned and burned coal in both types of stoves. Mine were different makes however; Vogelzang for my pot bellied stove and a Surdiac for the hopper filled stove. Still they are similar.
I use the pot bellied stove now, and like it but only because it is a duel burning stove and I got access to endless firewood. BUT I liked the hopper style much better. In fact, while that stove is long gone, I kind of wish I had it back. It really burned pea coal well, and after some experience running it, I could get 14 hour burn times between shake downs. It may not seem like a big deal, but when you visit people for the holidays and stuff, time gets away from you and it is nice not to have to babysit a pot bellied stove.
If your Brother intends to burn only coal; I would go with the hopper style coal stove. Interestingly enough, I have found Surdic stoves on Fleabay and Craig's List for $150 bucks. best wishes on your stove hunting search, and I hope financially things improve for your Brother. Tough times suck!