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Dream come true

Every collector’s dream of finding a rare coin worth a great deal of money came true this week for a California collector.

I interviewed him yesterday for Coin Chat Radio and a story in Numismatic News.

The story is a happy one, though for security reasons the collector does not want his identity revealed.

He bought for $400 a 1792 silver center cent worth $300,000, according to an estimate made by ANACS, the grading service the pronounced the coin genuine and graded it VG-10 details scratched.

As he told me, he took a chance at a police auction in Modesto, Calif. Had the coin been offered in an online auction, collectors would assume it was just another Chinese fake, so $400 is a lot of money to put on the line.

What should also be gratifying for collectors generally is this specific collector wasn’t lowballing a desperate little old lady who didn’t know what she had.

From the way the collector answered my questions, he seems like a really nice guy of a kind you could meet at any coin club meeting across the country. He is just enthusiastic about his hobby and a little stunned by the outcome of this particular purchase.

What would you do with such a find? Sell it? He might, but he hasn’t decided. Would you lend it to a museum? He might, but he hasn’t been asked.

Of course, he hasn’t had much time to think. The coin was just sent out to him by ANACS on Monday.

I am enjoying the collector's good fortune. After all, it was my dream to find something like this, too.

Appropriately, this story will be told on on Christmas Day.