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Coin Finds: Buried Treasure in 1974

When I went through my change I found a 1944 Lincoln wheat penny from the San Francisco Mint and a 1944 Lincoln wheat penny from the Denver mint. I wonder if they are of any value since I believe they were supposedly taken out of circulation for the war efforts.

Roy Reignier
Riverton, Wyo.

Ihave a 2019 ATB Lowell “W” mint marked quarter that I found in circulation. On the obverse, it says “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” “LIBERTY,” “QUARTER DOLLAR,” and the “W” mintmark. The reverse has “LOWELL,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “MASSACHUSETTS,” AND “2019.” I sent an e-mail to the mint and received an answer that said: “We have no plans to nor did we produce an ATB Lowell National Historical Park 2019 “W” quarter. Can anyone shed some light on this quarter?

Larry Barnett
Choctaw, Okla.

As a young teenager and coin collector, I had what could only be described as finding buried treasure – something most collectors, young and old, only dream about!

I was 14 years old and walking with a friend along a stretch of railroad tracks. As I scuffed my feet along the ground, I kicked up something shiny. Bending over to pick it up, I noticed it was a Buffalo nickel! I looked down where I picked it up and noticed another one. My friend and I got on our hands and knees and started brushing dirt aside. Sure enough, there were more coins!

They were lined up as if they had been in paper wrappers, though the paper wrappers had long ago dissolved. Our digging gave us more than $30 in nickels and dimes. There were Buffalo and Jefferson nickels, and Mercury and Roosevelt dimes. The dimes being silver were all in pristine shape. The nickels had some light corrosion on the rims but otherwise were in remarkable condition. Most of the coins were dated the 30s and 40s, though some were dated in the 20s. The newest was a 1952 Jefferson nickel.

When I returned home, my mother said: “you better have a good reason for being an hour late for dinner, mister!” At that, my friend and I started emptying out our pockets. Her eyes went wide and she said, “that’s a good reason!”

My mom collected coins as well. We washed the dirt off the coins and, while there were no overly rare dates, I was able to fill several spots in my Buffalo nickel folder, most notably an EF 1920 and a nice 1924-s.

I will never forget the thrill of that find, of finding buried treasure in the summer of 1974.

Raymond Santoro
Oracle, Ariz.

I went to my local store this weekend as usual and went immediately to the coin changer machine. Usually, the return tray is empty. I have found some Canadian coins and pennies before but no silver. As I walked up to the machine, I saw a pile of coins in the tray. I scooped them up and put them in my pocket to look at later. After arriving home, I checked them out.

I had found five clad quarters, one Canadian quarter, three dimes (two clad, one silver 1964), and five pennies. I finally got some silver. It does pay to look at return trays as I have learned from reading in your magazine.

Mike Stephens
Duncan, Okla.

After my Mother-in-Law passed away I became the owner of her numismatic legacy, a plastic bag filled with 1976 bicentennial quarters. She, like a lot of the non-collecting public, thought they would be worth something someday.

To honor her, I purchased a glass block coin bank with “1776 – 1976, 200th Year, United States of America” and the image of two colonial drummers and one fife player on it. I put the inherited quarters in the bank and began adding to them as I found the quarters in circulation. Every time I found one I would say to my wife “It looks like your mother is looking down on us again.”

Recently, I found four rolls at a local Antique Mall. While the price was high, I eagerly purchased one roll since I had looked for many years and never found any. This first roll raised the bank’s fill level but did not fill it, so I went back and purchased two more. I commented when I checked out that they may want to tell the booth owner that the same person bought all three rolls. I did not want the owner to think three separate people purchased the rolls and that he had discovered a new trend.

When telling this story to a dealer friend he told me that he wished I had said something earlier because he had 10 or more of the rolls that he wanted to get rid of. He offered me one at $10. I accepted his offer and I now have a filled bank.

I know this collection will never be worth very much, however, finding this coin in circulation provides my wife and I a pleasant reminder of her mother.

Chris Sutter
St. Louis, Mo.

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This column originally appeared in the May 2020 issue of Coins Magazine. 

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