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Summary of two collections/accumulations I have looked at for others in the last month.

SanctionIISanctionII Posts: 11,376 ✭✭✭✭✭

Persons I know in my local area (who are in their 60's and late 70's) asked me to look at "old coins" that their respective father in law (in his 90's) and their mother and grandmother (both deceased) had collected/assembled over many decades.

Based upon the ages of the persons involved I assumed the coins had possibly been acquired as early as the 1930's/1940's through the 1980's/1990's. So I agreed to look at the "old coins".

The father in law in his 90's (of the man in his 60's) had a number of coins, both US and non US (in his job he traveled the world). He collected from circulation and he purchased coins from Littleton (single coins in cellophane packaging with Littleton logos and data about the each coin and its sale price). The US coins dated from 1833 (a capped bust half) to about the 1980s. The non US coins dated from 1815 to about the 1980s. The coins ranged from Uncirculated to culls. There was some 90% and 40% silver, plus post 1964 clad coinage. The silver coins include a capped bust half, a couple of liberty seated coins, a couple of barber coins, mecrury dimes, roosevelt dimes, SLQs, Washington quarters, WLH, Franklins, Kennedys, Morgans and Peace dollars. There were Indian head cents, Lincoln cents, Liberrty nickels, Buffalo nickels, and Jefferson nickels.

These coins hinted at a very casual collector who also collected from pocket change both in the US and abroad.

Nothing of substantial numismatic value in the US Coins. The likely value of the silver coins (mostly melt) is likely about $700.00.

The deceased mother and grandmother (of the man in his late 70's) had a broader, bigger and more interesting collection of coins. It also includes US and World Coinage going back to the mid 1800s. These two women had coins in various blue Whitman tri fold albums that are dated going back to the 1950, including Mercury dimes, US 20th Century coins, a year only set of Lincoln cents and a British Shilling album covering 1953 forward. They also had some rolls that they assembled (including silver and clad), some bank wrapped rolls of cents (1959 D and 1960 D), a plastic coin tube of MS 1968 S cents; a Lincoln cent collection consisting of envelopes marked with date and mint mark containing multiple examples these cents. The had a number of world coins wrapped separately and marked as to what they are.

Much of the coin in the collection of these two women are pocket change, but they did have some coins of interest, There is lots of junk silver, plus lots of early clad coinage in exceptional condition (these clad coins must have been pulled from pocket change in the year of issue as many of them look MS). What interested me the most was the Mercury dime album and two rolls of Mercury dimes. In the album and rolls are multiple dates ranging from 1917 to 1930 from all three minits that struck these coins. They are mostly low grade (fine or below) and I assume that they were pulled from pocket change in the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. There are also a large number of unsearched wheat cents from 1910 forward (low grade) that would be of interest to those who look for varieties.

The value of the coins these two women collected is mostly in the silver content, but there are some collectible coins that would be fun to go through and fill album holes with.

These coins hinted at persons who were more than casual collectors who searched for, found and kept (in an organized fashion) in an organized and methodical fashion coins that they pulled exclusively from pocket change oin the US and around the world.

I did not know what to expect when I agreed to look at these two collections/accumulations), however I thought it would be unlikely that i would find coins that would be of more than a passing interest to those who participate in the hobby at a "higher level".

So, tell me about occasions where you have looked at "old coins" belonging to others.


  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Before I retired from the large company I worked for, employees would, from time to time, bring me either inherited collections, or odd coin they found. Never any real treasures, except for one fellow who brought me some small, Mexican gold coins. I purchased them for what was then melt. Still fun to look over these old collections. Cheers, RickO

  • MeltdownMeltdown Posts: 8,531 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have 2 or 3 very similar stories. Always a few circulated silver dollars, scattered merc dimes and hand wrapped rolls of 90%. Often nice looking clad collections from pocket change around the time of issue and partial whitman albums never quite finished with the key dates always missing. Circulation find collections from back in the day and 90% silver saved shortly after our money turned to clad coinage.

  • WaterSportWaterSport Posts: 6,655 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It can be scary when they bring a big Tupperware box and its heavy and full of all sorts of folders, bags, boxes, etc. I have had a look 2 inherited collections a while back. Like you, mostly junk silver, war nickels and wheat cents. But I did fine a decent 1932 D Washington Quarter and another had some very nice peace dollars. One set I posted here on the BST a while back and it was bought near my estimated value of $600 and the other accumulation was split among family members. There seemed to be a sense of relief of the owners after knowing just what they had because they had no idea and did know how to begin to determine the value of what they inheritied.


    Proud recipient of the coveted PCGS Forum "You Suck" Award Thursday July 19, 2007 11:33 PM and December 30th, 2011 at 8:50 PM.
  • OnWithTheHuntOnWithTheHunt Posts: 1,131 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Occasionally I have been asked by friends or relatives to sell coins passed down by family members. The best was for a friend of a friend who wanted to donate the proceeds to her alma mater. In addition to many vintage US and foreign coins were seven uncirculated Philly mint Standing Liberty quarters from the mid-20s. As soon as I saw them, I told my friend they were special and needed to be professionally graded. Grades from our host ranged from MS-63 to 65, and at least four were full heads. The owner was able to make a substantial contribution to her college before passing a few months later.

    Proud recipient of the coveted "You Suck Award" (9/3/10).
  • neildrobertsonneildrobertson Posts: 1,146 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 10, 2023 2:36PM

    I get a few of these a year and they're all pretty similar. Most of the value is in 20th century silver. They tend to be heavy in Franklin Mint and Littleton stuff compared to what you'd see from a group of users on these boards. Higher end collections are less likely to be "orphaned" due to their value and be seen by the likes of you or me. I always like seeing these collections because there is always something interesting, even if not valuable. And I feel an obligation to protect people from jewelry/gold shops that will usually deceive and take advantage of people.

    IG: DeCourcyCoinsEbay: neilrobertson
    "Numismatic categorizations, if left unconstrained, will increase spontaneously over time." -me

  • coinbufcoinbuf Posts: 10,396 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would guess that your experience is the norm for most collections/accumulations. I had the pleasure one time of helping a local gentleman who had inherited a collection. This was an outlier from the typical stuff that you saw as it had some really great coins including a couple David Hall flips, old holder graded Morgan dollars and a handful of really nice mid grade Saints. It was a real pleasure to review that collection and I helped him with the resources to liquidate those coins, many were sold to collectors here and on the NGC forum. I purchased a couple very nice Morgan dollars in the Hall flips and another in an IGA photo cert style holder. I wish that I had been smarter and bought those Saints as this was prior to the gold price run up.

    My Lincoln Registry
    My Collection of Old Holders

    Never a slave to one plastic brand will I ever be.
  • SanctionIISanctionII Posts: 11,376 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The man in his late 70's called me this morning to tell me that he found another box of coins (silver) collected by his mother and grandmother. He wants me to look at them. I said I would be willing to do so. Maybe some coins with numismatic value will be in the box (though likely it will be silver coins valued at melt).

  • erwindocerwindoc Posts: 4,768 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I used to keep up a sign in my office looking for, "old coins". While the most interesting things have been junk silver and circulated cents, I did have a collector bring in a bunch of gold coins for me to look at. Most were foreign and worth only spot, but still not your typical collection.

  • GotTheBugGotTheBug Posts: 1,470 ✭✭✭✭

    Someone at work brought me a small purse with coins that she had inherited from her father. There was a few dollars of melt silver, mostly Franklin halves and a 1928 Peace dollar in XF, which was a nice find. I helped her sell it and she was very happy to receive $300 for it, having had no interest in coins herself. This was over a decade ago.

    I also helped a widow, who I knew quite well, divest herself of her late husband's haphazard collection, consisting mainly of rolls upon rolls of circulated State quarters, a smattering of worn-out $1 silver certificates and a Funny Back dollar bill, a small quantity of melt silver, bunches of wheaties, and a gem BU Carson City Morgan dollar, one of the more common dates. We got rid of the common stuff for what we could get for it, and cashed in the State quarters at the bank after taking a good look at the Wisconsin quarters for the extra leaf (no luck there).

    She kept the CC Morgan at my advice. It was a real beauty too and would probably go MS66 if certified. I've lost touch with her since then but I was happy that she kept that dollar.

    "Life is like a box of choc'lits - You never know what you're gonna get." - Forrest Gump's mom....
  • hfjacintohfjacinto Posts: 596 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 17, 2023 5:02PM

    I looked at several collections, the vast majority were accumulations, with mostly pocket change. The silver coins were all polished. Nothing of any numismatic value.

    But there was 1 collection that I looked at that I was somewhat impressed. A friend/neighbor of my brother's asked him about coins, my brother called me. I offered to look over the collection and give her some advice.

    The details:

    It was her father's collection. It had coins from the 1800's all the way to the 1970's. There was also some currency and 2 gold coins. She wanted to sell it as her daughters had no interest and could have used the cash.

    We seperated everything into piles.

    Pile 1 was composed of Lincoln and Indian Head cents. I knew the dealer gave 2.5 cents for each wheat so we seperated wheats from memorial. We checked the dates, nothing older than 1917, nothing mint state. No rare coins. Basically 500 coins at 2.5 cents. The memorial were mostly circulated so we put into a pile to go to the bank. She had about $10 value in a few indian head cents, common date, circulated condition.

    Pile 2 was composed of nickels. All were circulated and the bison nickels had dates. She had about $15 in dated nickels. None of the Jefferson nickels were silver, to be deposited.

    Pile 3 is where we get interesting. Basically junk/constitutional silver. LOTS of it. Checked for rare dates none. Over $4700 in silver value dimes/quarters and 50 cents.

    Pile 4 was the nice stuff, an AU standing liberty, a 1920 Mercury Dime in AU, a few large cents in fairly good shape (VF to XF). A few pieces of gold, all details except for a 1986 $5 American Gold Eagle in MS. And some fractional currency.

    The other currency was worth ~ face, she had silver certificates and US notes but Fine /VF condition for common late date paper money.

    I priced it all out and told her to expect around $5600 for everything if selling to a dealer. She was not going to try and sell it herself. Offered it to me for $5000, but I didn't want to take any money (as she was my brothers neighbor and they used her beach house), so I offered to meet her at the dealer, but I did want to buy the 1986 $5 AGE.

    We met at the dealer I recommended and she got $5670 (approximately), I picked up the AGE at a great price.

    If getting paid by the hour I lost money, but I enjoyed looking through the collection and had fun. She gave each daughter about $2500 in cash.

  • NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 731 ✭✭✭✭✭

    As I get better at numismatics, different people have asked me to evaluate their (or their loved one's) collection. At first, I was so excited to see someone else's coins. However, the fun vanished the moment the collector asked me what the collection is worth. There has never been anyone happy with my response, and almost all of them thought they had something valuable.

    Here is my canned pitch:

    "Well, collecting has evolved over the years. The coins that drive the market are generally the most rare, or coins that are in supreme condition. There are some coins here that are worth more than face value including (40-90% silver, numismatic items, etc.). However, you are not going to walk away "rich" today. The collection is probably worth $XX-$YY. It is clear that your (relative/friend) was interested in and had a lot of fun with coins in their lifetime, and it's great that you have it as a fond memory."

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

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