Wednesday July 9

Who Says Nickels & Dimes Don’t Add Up?

by CoinsofAmerica

As a rare coin dealer, I never know what might walk into my office.  Most people tend to bring the same thing to me all day long, but it is the vague hope that something extraordinary might surface that keeps me going day after day.

Last week was that day. Someone called me in the morning claiming to own their grandfather’s group of old coins.  Expecting the standard group of miscellaneous material, I was somewhat surprised when they pulled out boxes of uncirculated war nickels and early Jefferson nickels.  They were told by a relative to take all their coins to the bank because the coins’ value was only face, so you might imagine their surprise when I offered four figures for their nickels!

Things only improved from there. The next box contained 50 or 60 envelopes with notations on the back recording the Coins date of purchase and original dealer whom sold them the coins.  Included with this blog is a photograph of several envelopes.

My jaw dropped as I inspected the coins contained inside: four rare pattern, or experimental design, Indian cents in gem condition were included in the envelopes.  There were also high-grade uncirculated early buffalo nickels,  key-date Indian Cents, and a nearly uncirculated 1885 liberty nickel.   Best of all, each coin had been carefully stored in a high-quality container since the 1940’s and 50’s. All told, the coins netted low five figures!

If you have an old coin collection sitting around your home, you might want to find out what it is worth. Contact Coins of America to get the ball rolling. Who knows: you may end up talking to me on the telephone!  Just remember to never clean or polish your coins.  Whether you are thinking of selling, upgrading, adding to your collection, or just finding out what your coins and currency are worth, here is a tremendous place to start.  Happy hunting!!

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Thursday May 29

Kennedy Half Dollars!

by CoinsofAmerica

It’s amazing to realize that the Kennedy half dollar turns fifty years old this year.  Not that I’m too ancient, but I still remember silver Kennedy halves freely circulating in the early 1970’s!  Even into the early 1990’s you could still discover 40% silver coins mixed into bank rolls and bags.  In honor of the Kennedy Half Dollar’s anniversary, I’ll share some Kennedy Half stories with you.

Emotions ran high after Kennedy’s assassination, so just about anything with his name or face stamped on the front was a huge seller.  The U.S. Mint pounded out a whopping 423,000,000 million coins to satisfy the public’s demand.  One of the hottest sellers was proof sets.  People hoarded gigantic quantities of them during 1964, so even today it’s not unusual to encounter groups of fifteen, twenty, thirty, or fifty sets at a time.  However, one deal eclipses them all: fifteen years ago I received a call from a retired gentleman in Port Washington, Wisconsin.  He was a trifle crusty and somewhat difficult to understand, but I gleaned enough from our initial phone call to know that he owned a quantity of 1964 proof sets.  Right before we hung up he grunted something about a hand truck.  I was a bit baffled by this, but I loaded my hand truck into my car just for good measure.

Upon arriving at his condo, he directed me to a back closet.  He pointed and said: “There!  A sealed shipping box of one thousand 1964 proof sets!  How much?”  Silver stood at roughly $4.50 at the time, so each set was worth about $2.20.  He gasped when I told him the bad news because he’d imagined the coins’ value would increase.  Nonetheless, I bought the box still-sealed and ended up selling the entire deal intact for something like $2.35 per set.  The fun part was lifting the box into my trunk.  Today, the half dollar alone is worth roughly quadruple what I paid for the entire set!

Our second Kennedy Half Dollar story involves a friend who worked as a bank manager.  About twenty years ago she telephoned excitedly because a customer dragged in a mint-sewn $1000 face value bag labelled “U.S. MINT $1000 HALVES 1964 DENVER”.  My friend knew enough about coins to recognize the value, so she bought the bag intact from the customer and set it aside for me.  She called that evening instructing me to show up at 10:00 the next morning.

Here’s where the story turns ugly.  That morning her cat got sick, so she was late to work after spending three hours at the animal hospital.  As she pulled into the bank’s parking lot Brinks was leaving with the previous day’s deposits…including the entire sealed bag of halves.  No one at the bank seemed to care or know that the coins were silver, so the coins went to the counting facility.  So much for that.  Someone in Brink’s counting room had a very good day indeed!

Today you can pick up beautiful Kennedy Half Dollars in high grade for very attractive levels.  They represent a piece of American history from a time of change, hope,  and equality, so be sure to check out Coins of America’s selection of Kennedy Half Dollars.

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