Our Rare Coins

Talk with Washington's Leading Numismatic.

Boston Transcript

"Strange as it may appear," said Mr. B. F. Collins, the leading numismatic expert of this city, "the best American coins come from abroad. This is because the best preserved coins are those which have been hoarded. Foreign ship captains are very likely to receive them in the course of business, and having difficulty in passing them in their native land, are likely to put them aside, partly as savings and partly as curiosities. Years later, when the captain and his collateral heirs are dead, they are fished out and get into the hands of dealers. Many years ago, besides, it used to be the practice when a child was born to set aside a complete set of the smaller coins of that date, and frequently they were secured fresh from the mint. If they were carefully kept and have been handed down a couple of generations, they are likely to have a premium value.

"But most of the rare coins now discovered come from the farm. Some man who lives in a very rural region far from the railroad, and who earns his money slowly and does his own banking, may decide to buy a new wagon, and he asks Maria where those old coins done up in a stocking are. These get straightway into the local bank, and the cashier, who has a list of premium coins pinned up beside the window, takes out any which are worth more than their face value. If he lets them go by they are caught in the city bank, or again at the sub-treasury. Very few get as far as the United States Treasury. During all the years I was in the treasury I never came across anything which had any special value. Employees of the treasury are engaged in a small way in coin and note collecting, and are permitted to take good numismatic specimens and substitute their value in other coinage."

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Violated no Law
December 7, 1899

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