Editor’s note: In a previously printed Viewpoint, Dave Lembke told how a fortuitous coin deal allowed him to buy a new family car.
I would like to mention that I did not make contact with the original dealer regarding this coin because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Yet, I also could not hand this coin back for the price I paid.
This king 1893-S, I originally wanted to hand down to my children as a surprise someday when my time was up – in my will. I love coins and hate having to part with them.
Regarding the recent comment from R.E. Mueller on page 16 of the March 24 Numismatic News commenting on how he would never have parted with a coin that he personally needed for his San Francisco set, I too had a hard time selling it. But my wife was driving a death trap car that had one recall after another, and when the seat belts would disconnect from the slightest tug, I said that is the final straw and had to find a way to get my wife and 10-month-old daughter out of that vehicle. “Coins can be replaced and family cannot”
And for those wondering about my ethics: I have found many different coins and made lots of good profits from a detailed eye to my hobby. This was oddly a case in which I blindly bought the silver dollars at a hair above melt and it happened to pay off greatly. For both dealers and collectors ... you win some and you lose some!
Of all the coins I have cherry picked, I probably have made over $10,000 over my purchase price over the my 26 years collecting. Some highlights are a Norway 1839 pattern in junk foreign I sold for $800 and paid just about 5 cents for out of the $20 bucket that a dealer in New Jersey wanted to make disappear so as not to trip over, 1896-S Barber half, 1926-S Buffalo, 1878-CC seated dime, 1794 and 1796 large cents in foreign copper bin, 1911 double struck wheat cent EF that I sold for $150 and paid just $9 for as a regular EF coin, and various VAMS, double dies, etc., that dealers did not pick up on and I did.
I also would like to add that I also have taken losses as well. Losses include paying too much for over graded coins, not receiving coins on eBay, paying for coins that were graded as Mint State coins and later found to be Proofs that were of lesser worth, and yes, I too bought a bunch of California 50-cent Indian gold pieces and got burned on those too 20 years ago.
Coins to me are amazing, and they all have a story to tell. Some stories are factual and others a mere educated guess. And a hobby that is both interesting and rich in history and monetary worth makes it what I love it to be. It is one hobby that is generally a safe investment as long as you do your homework and use reasoning and negotiation to make deals. It is also a hobby that can be used for your family’s well being by painfully at times parting with coins. They may be coins that other people have never had the chance to possess, and by departing with them it improves your family’s safety, etc.
I want to thank all who have sent in positive letters, including the one fellow who stated that he was going to take his wife out for a $300 dinner to celebrate my find and my dedication to my family to part with the coin for a car for my wife.
And those who sent in negative letters judging my morals and ethics, I want them to read this article and hopefully put closure to this ongoing madness. I hope this better describes why I sold the coin and why I didn’t disclose to the original dealer that I got this coin from him blindly in a common silver purchase.
Also, if the dealer still gets Numismatic News even though his shop closed years ago, he will know the whole story of this coin through my confession here without going through extreme efforts to try to track him down, if he is still alive, to tell him face to face.
I am not rich. I work 40 to 60 hours a week, and I could not hand over this gain that could have possibly saved my family’s life by sacrificing this amazing coin for their safety in that death trap with seat belts that disconnected with the slightest tug. I used this coin to pay off that piece of junk to get her into mid-sized American Mercury. And to add, on Jan. 31 my wife was struck while waiting at a red light by a drunk driver who totalled his mid-sized car. I share photos of the extent of the damages. Numismatic News could title them “Family instead of 1893-S Morgan may have saved collector’s wife’s life.”
My wife’s Mercury Sable received severe damage to the trunk, fuel filler neck, and rear axle. Her drivers seat back catch was also broken from the force of the accident. The car that struck her was traveling at about 45 mph as my wife was parked at traffic light at 8 p.m. that night. I would hate to have seen the outcome of that small compact with flawed seat belts in this accident, which would have probably been the case if I had not put my family’s safety first.
This crash happened after disclosing the story about selling the coin in order to buy the car. It almost makes me think that the higher power agrees that I made the right choice of family first over greed to hold onto such a rare coin.
It also shows me that although painful to sell that coin to an alternate dealer, not the original dealer of which I acquired the coin from, that it was definitely the right decision.
Dave Lembke is a hobbyist from New Hampshire.
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