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Old coins slyly distributed around town

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Hi all, this is a great story my dad sent me from my old home town newspaper. I think it's pretty awesome. I'm going to have to take a road trip down there come coin week!




Old coins to be slyly distributed around the county


TOM RAGAN - Sentinel staff writer

Article Launched: 03/28/2008 01:31:47 AM PDT




Keep an eye out for those old buffalo nickels and 100-year-old pennies at cash registers around town.


Next time you're walking along the sidewalk, look down -- you might find a mercury dime or even a steel penny. As for those penny trays at convenience stores, peer closely at your loose change before dumping it in. It could be the 1909 penny, which was made in San Francisco and fetches as much as $125 on the open coin trading market.


The old currency, soon to hit Santa Cruz County, is part of a promotion to go along with National Coin Week, which starts in mid-April.


Bo Borich, the head of the Santa Cruz Coin Club, said he and dozens of other members plan to start distributing the old currency on April 12.


"Maybe people will start taking pennies more seriously -- especially if we let them know that there's one out there that's worth more than a hundred bucks," said Borich, the owner of Elliott's Stamp & Coin in Santa Cruz on River Street. "But most of all we just want to get the word out that old coins are special. Hopefully, we can pick up some new coin club members along the way."


Each year, the coin club fans out around town and unloads about 200 old coins and paper dollars and $2 dollar bills that date to World War I.


Borich, 59, who's been trading and collecting old currency for 35 years, is the first to admit that the current penny has gone out of style.


"It costs more to make a penny than it's worth," he said, adding that it takes 1.4 cents to produce a penny. "But that's something for the government to decide what to do. Eventually, I think they're going to phase out the penny."


And if the penny was phased out, Borich notes, then eventually they'd become collectibles in their own right, depending on the year.


"The problem is, there are billions of pennies out there," he adds.


And there are plenty of steel pennies. The steel pennies were minted in 1943 because the country needed more copper for World War II. Close to 150 million of them were made. An 1895 proof silver dollar can fetch between $35,000 and $50,000. Only 885 were made.


Here's a whopper: A 1933 $20 gold piece once sold for $8.5 million, according to Borich.




"It was illegal at the time," he adds. "It never should have been made, so once it was made, it became a collector's item."


But don't expect to find these kinds of coins in the currency during National Coin Week, April 13-19.


Mostly, Borich is dealing with old pennies and the like -- including the buffalo nickel, which has a picture of a buffalo on one side and an American Indian on the other. They were made between 1913 and 1938.

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Hey there! I live in Santa Cruz and was going to post that artcile here, small world!! ;) Looks like your dad & you beat me to it :ninja: I came across this coin site from one of the metal detecting forums I belong to. I'll be keeping my eyes open around town for those oldies!! ;)

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I received one of the salted coins in change when the club did this a few years back. It was a reprocessed steel cent that I received in place of a dime in change. I watched them count out my change and I spotted the cent from across the counter. The young girl didn't notice anything strange. It was the color of a shiny dime and small. The coins really do circulate.

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  • 2 weeks later...

He doesn't sell what I collect, but he is a good local dealer. Stop in and check him out.

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