Robbers stole an estimated $4 million worth of coins from a Minnesota dealer during the Florida United Numismatists show in Orlando, including an 1843 proof set associated with President John Tyler valued at $2 million.
No one was injured when, according to the police report, an employee of Summit Rare Coins-American Rare Coins, Minnetonka, Minn., was about to unload a van with the coins about 6 p.m. Jan. 6 in the valet parking line at the Peabody Hotel, located near the FUN convention site.
He was attacked from behind by a masked man who held a knife to his throat and forced him to the ground. A bellman who came to help him was threatened with the knife. There were also two accomplices, who were also masked and had knives.
After taking several bags, the robber punctured the van tire and ran off, getting into a brown four-door Mitsubishi Galant or Diamante with dark tinted windows. One witness said after the Mitsubishi left, a black truck followed it. A surveillance camera recorded the incident.
Summit owner Chris Napolitano, who was not present during the robbery, gave police the $4 million estimate and said the coins were insured.
The 1843 proof set, one of only two remaining complete sets of the 1843 coins, contained 10 coins, ranging from a half cent to a $10 gold piece. They may be the only proof set presented to a U.S. President. Tyler originally received it from the U.S. Mint and the coins range in grade from Proof-62 to Proof-64. They were inside a Moroccan leather case lined with velvet.
Most of the coins were in grading service holders and stored in a navy blue Samsonite rolling luggage bag. They included a 1795 two leaves $1, a 1798 Large Eagle $1, 1795 50 cent, 1918/7-D nickel, an 1836 Gobrecht $1, 1842 $1, 1803/2 $5, 1923-D $20, 1799/8 $1, 1852-O $20, 1877-S $10, 1857-O $5, 1913-D $20, 1853-O gold $1, 1797 half dime with 13 stars. Also taken were a number of 50-cent pieces from the 1930s, all graded MS-66 by Professional Coin Grading Service.
Other items taken were a folder with blank business checks and invoices, coin examining equipment and a laptop computer.
According to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, about $450,000 worth of coins was stolen during last year?s FUN show by thieves who trailed their victims in at least five different cases up to 100 miles.
Convention organizers did add more security this year, including more off-duty deputies at the show. Its security also included an underground loading area and a 24-hour secured room for dealers to store their coins.
Anyone with information regarding the robbery should contact the Orange County Sheriff?s Office at (800) 423-8477; or contact Napolitano at (651) 227-9000, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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