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Dream Come True
December 18, 2008

Every collector's dream of finding a rare coin worth a great deal of money came true this week for a California collector.

I interviewed him yesterday for Coin Chat Radio and a story in Numismatic News.

The story is a happy one, though for security reasons the collector does not want his identity revealed.

He bought for $400 a 1792 silver center cent worth $300,000, according to an estimate made by ANACS, the grading service the pronounced the coin genuine and graded it VG-10 details scratched.

As he told me, he took a chance at a police auction in Modesto, Calif. Had the coin been offered in an online auction, collectors would assume it was just another Chinese fake, so $400 is a lot of money to put on the line.

What should also be gratifying for collectors generally is this specific collector wasn't lowballing a desperate little old lady who didn't know what she had.

From the way the collector answered my questions, he seems like a really nice guy of a kind you could meet at any coin club meeting across the country. He is just enthusiastic about his hobby and a little stunned by the outcome of this particular purchase.

What would you do with such a find? Sell it? He might, but he hasn't decided. Would you lend it to a museum? He might, but he hasn't been asked.

Of course, he hasn't had much time to think. The coin was just sent out to him by ANACS on Monday.

I am enjoying the collector's good fortune. After all, it was my dream to find something like this, too.

Appropriately, this story will be told on on Christmas Day.

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Recent Comments
On December 19, 2008 Ginger said
Love this story...a dream come true...however, it does bother me that a coin dealer and members of a coin club said that the coin was not real.  Remember the missing 1913 Liberty nickel, hidden in a closet for 40 years because it was called a fake?  Remember the no motto silver coin, purchased over the counter, "they didn't know waht it was"?  I have completed a romantic comedy novel about a young lady who inherits an 1873-S Seated dollar.  The first dealer she shows it to offers her $50!  These things do happen, and it is unfortunate!

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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