Numismatic advice, please.

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by Tiki Tom, Aug 31, 2021.

  1. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Call Me a Cab

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    I am going through the belongings of my father-in-law, who died over thirty years ago. He was a great guy and a WWII vet. Anyway, I have come across his coin “collection” which is probably close to twenty pounds worth of U.S. standard currency (pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and fifty cent and dollar pieces). He collected all the bicentennial coins minted in 1976. He has a tin full of Buffalo Nickels; in an attached note he says the dates have been worn off most of them, but apparently that is not uncommon. He’s got a tin of 151 “wheat ears (reverse)” Lincoln pennies dated 1944 through 1958. He’s got rolls and rolls of nickels from the 1950s, with a note (written in the early 1980s) that these are not yet collectible. He’s got a pound (or two) of dollar coins dating from 1923 to 1976; not a chronological set but random. And other assorted coins.

    Cutting to the chase: I don’t know exactly what to do with this small trove. My first thought was to take it to a nearby numismatic shop and say “what can you give me for this?” But that doesn’t sound very savvy. Any numismatists out there with any words of wisdom or strategy tips?

    It is really rather eerie to be going through his stuff thirty years after his death and finding little explanatory notes that were written for exactly this circumstance.
     
  2. Fifty150

    Fifty150 One Too Many

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    Unfortunately, you will need to take the collection to an expert. You may have something in there that has value. You may not. Coins really need to be examined, piece by piece. Collectable items need to be graded. Some coins are worth more for the precious metals, such as silver dollars where the silver is worth more than a dollar. There's really no way anyone online could give you a reasonable or accurate estimate to what it's worth. I've actually seen people who paid a fee, as not all appraisals are free, only for the appraiser to say something like, "you've got a lot of old coins, and the collection is worth the face value". As in every nickel is worth a nickel, every penny is worth a penny, et cetera.

    Or just pass it along for someone else to inherit, and let them get the collection appraised. I've done that myself with family heirlooms. Mostly jewelry. Some gold coins, and gold bars. Other precious gemstones and such. Some items only of sentimental value like a graduation ring or wedding ring from an ancestor. My reasoning was that I was not going to wear the jewelry myself, or sell it for cash. It may as well be passed to the next generation for them to appreciate, stash away for safekeeping, whatever. They won't have to fight over it when I die, since I passed it along personally during my life. No complications with them inheriting it, and possibly having to pay some sort of tax. I suppose I could have paid for getting an appraisal. But I don't care what it is worth if sold on the open market. These are items being passed down from generation to generation.
     
  3. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Call Me a Cab

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    Thanks for that sensible advice. Perhaps it would be best to just seal up the box again and let my daughters deal with it after another thirty years. I do suspect that those silver dollar coins from the 1920s and 30s may have value. But then again, there are not enough of them for the juice to be worth the squeeze. Thank you.
     
  4. Fifty150

    Fifty150 One Too Many

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    Weigh them. What's the market price for silver? You could surely sell copper pennies for the copper value.
     
  5. Fifty150

    Fifty150 One Too Many

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    Nobody wants to deal with estate planning. Especially their own estate. But to be practical, you have to have a plan. And best to do it when you're not in a nursing home, drooling into your soup. So many headaches with things like lawyers & legal fees, estate taxes, real estate transfers.....you get the idea. Why leave it for them to deal with while they are grieving?
     
  6. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Call Me a Cab

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    And that is just HIS collection. Somewhere I have MY collection of French Francs, German Marks, Italian Lira, etc, from before the age of the Euro. Also have Soviet Rubles and even a few pre-revolutionary Russian rubles from the days of the tzar. But I suspect that, especially the paper money, has more “historic curiosity value” than actual collector value (i.e., my grandkids will find it interesting to talk about, but not worth much.) It’s also enjoyable in that those bills trigger nostalgic memories about the adventures of my younger days. The simple joy of travels remembered and out-lasting currencies! :)
     
  7. Fifty150

    Fifty150 One Too Many

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    I have some $2 bills. The last time I actually tried to use one of them: I put it on the tip rail, the stripper looked at it, then threw it back at me. You see, at her age, she had never in her life heard of or seen a $2 bill. She thought it was fake money. Then I had to explain to her, a college student, that there's no value in passing counterfeit money at a strip club. She's working her way through school, or so she says. But she couldn't wrap her mind around the idea that counterfeiting is a for profit crime. If I were to pass a counterfeit bill, I would need to receive change in real money, and/or a product with value I could resell. For instance, if I use fake money to buy guns and/or drugs, I could resell those guns and/or drugs. If I put fake money on the tip rail, and she does a pole trick, I can't resell that to turn the fake money into real money.
     
  8. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Call Me a Cab

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    Funny. We also came across a limited number of $2 bills in the stash today. Again, what do we do with them? We will take them to the bank and see if the bank will honor them.

    As for tipping strippers, thanks for the heads up! I will refrain from tipping with Trillion Dollar Zimbabwe banknotes. :) Perfectly legal legal tender. I have a few in my wallet that I’m trying to get rid of. And don’t get me started about Cuban CUCs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2021
  9. Turnip

    Turnip Call Me a Cab

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    The D-Mark could at least be changed to your currency at current rate in any branch office of the Bundes- or Landesbank in any German state, typically located in their capitals, next time you visit the old world.
    Only Reichsmark and DDR-Mark won’t work anymore meanwhile, afaik.
     
  10. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Pre-1965 U. S. silver coins in worn condition are basically worth bullion value based on the current spot price of silver, aside from the occasional rare dates/mint marks. They're scarce in present circulation, but they aren't "rare" in the sense of being "rare coins," at least not yet. Vast quantities were melted in the silver craze of the 1970s and 80s, so nobody really knows what percentage of the total survives, but they're also being hoarded by the bagful by speculators and survivalists, so there's the sense there's still plenty left to go around.

    I still carry around a 1923 silver dollar my grandmother gave me when I was ten years old. It's not worth a fortune in money, but not every valuable thing is.

    Dateless buffalo nickels are primarily collected as novelties -- they're popular with jewelry makers, and people who carve the Indian head into some other type of figure in the style of the old "hobo nickels" but they don't have a lot of numismatic value. If you have a sharp eye you'll occasionally still spot one in circulation. If you soak them in vinegar for a couple of days the dates may reappear.

    $2 bills are still perfectly valid currency for all debts public and private, but they're considered a nuisance at the retail level because most tills don't have a slot for them. Aside from their traditional use at racetracks, they're most popular as a birthday gift for children from elderly aunts.

    Pennies from before 1982 have value as copper, but it's also illegal in the US to melt them down in bulk -- a law was passed in 2006 to prevent people from pulling them from circulation and sending them to smelters. The same law also bans the mass melting of nickels.
     
  11. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Call Me a Cab

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    Fascinating information, Lizzie. Thank you. All in all, it doesn’t sound like my late Father-in-laws collection is worth much. The question remains what to do with twenty pounds of coins. This task of clearing out the belongings of departed love ones remains a tough one. There’s a fine line between sentimental value and the need to toss stuff. Goes without saying that I clear it with my wife before sending anything to Goodwill.
     
  12. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Call Me a Cab

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    I once went to Scotland for a wedding. Didn’t really think about it when the bank gave me Scottish Pounds. Was a bit annoyed when I returned to the continent and couldn’t convert them. This was probably ten or twelve years ago.
     
  13. Haversack

    Haversack One Too Many

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    I regularly get crisp, new 2-Dollar bills as change from one of the vendors at the Saturday morning farmers' market. I think he gets them to give as change so he stands out in peoples' minds. Also Tom, on those currency bills, check what color the seals are. If they are blue or red instead of green, they are not Federal Reserve notes and are likely to be worth more than face value. If I recall, blues are Silver Certificates, and reds are Gold Certificates or something more obscure.
     
  14. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    I know all you married guys are kept on a tight leash. ;):)
     
  15. Hats Matter

    Hats Matter One of the Regulars

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    Interesting thread. My maternal grandfather passed away in 1979 and he had two old coffee cans that he had filled with pocket change for many years. My mother opened the cans and they were filled mostly with old quarters but also some half dollars and dimes. All were pre 1963 silver coins most dating to the 1930s and 1940s. My mother had the coins placed in coin rolls and then we put them in two safe deposit boxes. When my mother passed away in 2015 we opened the safe deposit boxes and removed the coins. My brother had the coins sold in Los Angeles and my brother, my sister and myself split the proceeds. The coins had no numismatic value but the bulk silver still provided us with about $2,200 for each of us. It was the best way to settle this part of her estate. It also harkens back to the depression era when people saved every penny, nickle, dime and quarter they could.
     

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