As I have mentioned before on my blog, I scan the local Craigslist web site for sellers of coins, and last week I had spotted this advertisement:
I have over 50 pieces of silver United States coins including, halves, quarters, dimes; 7 older rare coins including half dimes, 3-cent pieces, 5-cent pieces and more; older over-sized silver certificate; over 75 wheat pennies; over 50 1943 lead, zinc, alum. pennies
I responded, asking for more detail about the ‘over 50 silver coins’. He responded with this:
halves-(11) including 1936,59,61,63,64
quarters-(14) including 1939,45,64
dimes-(appx. 45) including 1917,18,19,20,23,24,25,26,28,31,38,40,42,
V5 cent piece-1904
five cent piece-1876,1883
half dime- 1850
3 cent piece-1853
numerous buffalo nicks, wheat pennies, 1943 steel pennies,
2- Colombian exposition half dollars from 1892
1934 series silver certificate
1800’s series silver certificate which is about 20% larger than regular bills.
numerous old coins foreign including a silver 1904 panama coin
He asked me for a ball park figure, so I ran the numbers on the silver, using 16 times face value, and got $232. Without seeing the silver certificates, ‘older’ coins, nickels wheat cents, and foreign coins, it was difficult to calculate an accurate value, so I took a stab and offered $25 over his stated price of $250 in the hopes of landing the deal. He replied that my offer was the fairest offer he had received: most of the other potential buyers wanted to cherry pick the coins and leave him with the average items. We locked in at $275 and started making plans to complete the exchange.
On Monday, Columbus Day, I met with the seller, who had the coins in a canvas bag. I had neglected to bring anything to bring the coins home with me, so I offered him $5 more if I could have the bag as well, to which he agreed. After examining the certificates and coins, seeing that all was as he described in the email, I paid him $280. In the course of the conversation, I mentioned that despite focusing on U.S. coinage now, I have a considerable collection of foreign coins. On that, he presented another handful of foreign coins, including some silver, and offered them to me for $25. That was just outside what I could afford at that moment, so he dropped it to $20. When all was said and done, I had $14.50 in U.S. silver, two silver certificates, some older U.S. coins and three bags of Lincoln wheat cents, Buffalo nickels, and various foreign coins, and he had $300.
At my first opportunity, I started searching through the coins, trying to determine which I needed for my collection, which were in better condition than those I already had, and which were destined for a future resale. I found these coins to fill in or upgrade my collection:
– a 1936 Walking Liberty and 1959-D and 1961 Franklin halves,
– 1939 and 1945 Washington quarters,
– 18 dimes (Winged Liberty and Roosevelt): 1899, 1902, 1906, 1917, 1919-D, 1920, 1920-D, 1924-D, 1925, 1929-S, 1931-D, 1938, 1940, 1950-D, 1951-D, 1953-D, 1955, 1955-D
– 5 Buffalo nickels: 1920, 1923, 1924, 1930-S and 1931-S,
– 1850 half dime, 1853 silver 3-cent piece, 1876 Shield nickel and a 1904 Barber nickel.
Next was the Lincoln wheat cents. When I bought them, I didn’t know what they would be, but thankfully the seller had provided a hand-written list of the contents. I was looking the list over when I saw this: 09-(2) Two 1909 cents? I immediately thought “What if one or both were the VDB variety?” and “I must find them now!” I pored over each coin, looking through over 100 of them for just those two, and in the end found one of each variety! I went on to sort them all so I could determine if I needed any others. I was very impressed that the bag represented 45 of the 50 years of production, and also included a good percentage of non-Philadelphia minted coins.
Once again, I find myself very happy with the purchase, and strongly recommend other collectors look at craigslist for reasonable deals, as well as some extraordinary ones.