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This week's numbers are 1, 9, 3 and 5

You get what you pay for, the old saying goes. You also get what you don’t pay for.

Just what is the value of free advice or advice from people you don’t know?

These questions come to mind because of phone calls I have had in recent days.

A man called me to ask the value of the Series 1935 $1 Silver Certificate.
Now, of course, he did not ask me the question in this way.

His phraseology was, “I have a 1935 dollar bill. What’s the value?”

I told him that the series was very common and that if it had the least little wear it was worth $1.

The pause on the other end of the line was long enough that I surmised that he wasn’t pleased with my reply, but he said thanks and hung up.

A week later I got a call. A woman asked, “What’s a 1935 dollar bill worth?

I gave her the same answer.

Want to bet that she was the wife of the first caller?

When we begin work in the morning, or come back from lunch, the numismatic staff here can sometimes find that the same person has left voicemail messages for two or three of us with the same question.

So what is the caller thinking? He can’t wait for a return call? He will average the replies and come up with a more accurate value? Dave Harper says $1, George Cuhaj says $1.50, while Bob Van Ryzin says $2, so the average is $1.50?

Or is the 1935 dollar bill like a lottery ticket?

Yeah, I think that’s it. The caller has to find someone who will tell him he’s rich.