Welcome to Steve's blog, sharing stories of his professional coin career, 1963 to date. Enjoy stories of Steve's numismatic journey.

Monday, September 9, 2013

It's ALWAYS Worth A Look

One day in 1984, an old gentleman walked into my Portland shop with storm clouds darkening his face.   He cuts to the chase:  he needed money, so what am I paying for junk silver dollars. 

My current buy price was $10 for coins VG and better.  He says, “fine – pay me – I have 200 junk silver dollars in this bag.”

“But wait,” I say, “we need to look at the coins. Perhaps there are coins worth more than junk price in your bag.”   The gent blusters with serious attitude; he insists the coins are junk, and wants the money RIGHT NOW!

It’s all I can do to hold my tongue.  I am so tempted to ask him to please take a hike with his dollars. What a grouch! 

I take a breath and tell him, “Fine, but I need to count the coins.”  I figure I’ll be able to give them a quick look as I count.  This satisfies him for the moment, so I dive into the bag.

Well, he is right – these dollars are definitely junk:  Good – VG, mostly common date Peace Dollars.  I get down to the last 20 or so coins. The fellow is becoming more and more impatient as we count. 

Suddenly I spot an 1893.  “Probably a Philadelphia mint,” I think.  I flip it over anyway and – voila – there is an “S” on the reverse. I flip the coin back and forth a few times, just to verify I am seeing properly.  And yes, I have a low grade 1893-S in my hand.

“Uh, sir, this particular coin is the rarest silver dollar made and it is worth $300 in this condition,” I tell him.

Agitation halted in its tracks.  When we finished our transaction the customer did manage a quiet thank you, and out the door he went.
Certified G-06 by PCGS

It’s a truly rare day in the coin shop when you find an 1893-S among a group of junk dollars.  We’ll never know how that rare coin found its way into a bag of junk.

Like the rare date put aside by the original collector, there are some issues that seem to me ripe for future appreciation.   Back by popular customer demand, my current list of favorite Morgan Dollars.

(Unless otherwise noted, this list applies to coins certified by NGC or PCGS)

                                    1878 7F                                   MS-63, MS-64
                                    1879                                        MS-64
                                    1879-S R78                             Raw or Certified, AU to MS-64
                                    1880                                        MS-64
                                    1890                                        MS-64
                                    1891-S                                    MS-64
                                    1892                                        MS-63
                                    1893                                        MS-63
                                    1894-S                                    MS-63
                                    1897                                        MS-64
                                    1897-S                                    MS-64, MS-65
                                    1902                                        MS-64
*in my humble opinion

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