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U.S. 1802 5-cent coin bought, traded


From the Numismatic News 60th Anniversary Special Issue – Richard Becker • Davie, Fla.

It was 1962, I had been married six months and I had been collecting coins for about a year with a specific interest in Canada.

One weekend our local church was sponsoring an antique show, which I attended. One antique dealer had a coin that caught my attention. It was a U.S. 1802 5-cent silver and was priced at $200.

Not being very knowledgeable regarding U.S. coins I asked her why it was priced so high. She showed me a U.S. Red Book that said it was worth $200 in the lowest grade.

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However this coin was damaged. I remember it had all details showing but the edge had been crimped in several places where it looked like it had been used as a screwdriver.

I pointed this out to her and I told her that I would offer her 10 percent of the Red Book price due to the damage. I felt that I could possibly trade it to one of my collecting friends for some Canadian coin that would be worth more than that.

She agreed and I went home with it for $20. I later traded the 1802 U.S. 5-cent silver piece for some really “keen” Canadian cents that I needed for my collection.

It was not until some years later that I realized that I had purchased, and traded off, a much rarer coin than I ever imagined at that time.

Today it is considered one of the major U.S. rarities and, even damaged, would bring thousands of dollars in any auction.

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