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I call this "the waitress hoard"


KoRnholio
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Here's a (hopefully ongoing) story about a fairly large collection I just purchased. I'm planning on updating this thread periodically as I go through this hoard. Enjoy!

 

 

Recently I got into contact with a woman who said she had "a whole bunch of old coins" she was looking to sell. I'm sure many of you have heard this line from non-coin-collecting folk before. Usually it indicates someone with a bunch of semi-modern 1950's and onward coins. Junk silver coinage in a moderate quantity at best.

 

I talked to the woman for about 10 minutes on the phone and she said that she (about age 60 currently) and her mother had both been waitresses for many years. And they saved/collected EVERY world and odd coin that was left as tips, as well as from the tills. I inquired as to how many coins she has and she sighed, paused, as if she was either totally unsure or it was just taking a long time to compute the number in her mind. I ask "Hundreds?". She replies "oh no, much more!". "Thousands?" "...I think so, I've spent months going through them and there's still more!". I think my jaw actually dropped a little bit. Visions of hoards of junk silver and oddball world coins were probably in my dreams that night- but unfortunately I didn't remember any dreams when I awoke the next day.

 

I made the hour long drive this evening to her house. We sat down at the kitchen table and she brought me the first box. In the box was a large plastic bag... Filled with hundreds of smaller bags each neatly labelled with a date, country and denomination. Mostly Canadian coins, common pennies and nickels. A few large cents, late 1800s ones in terrible condition, common early 1900's cents in decent condition. Smallish amounts of junk silver. Each small bag contained multiples of most dates.

 

Next box was full of world coins. Subdivided into country bags, subdivided into individually baggies for each date/denomination combination. Mostly 1920's-1950's, some silver. As I am flipping through the bags like searching a deck of cards for the ace of spades, a worn thin coin catches my eye. 1700s either German or Austrian. I pull it out and take a closer look. She comments, "some of the coins are quite old, there's a bunch that old, even some from the 1600's".

 

After about an hour and a half, I've pulled out approximately 1/4 of the coins I've searched. I picked out anything silver, most anything pre-WWII and any world coin I didn't recall owning yet. I'm now through all the bagged coins.

 

"There's more" she tells me. She brings back a jar about the size of a medium coffee tin. I figure there's probably 300 coins in there, about 75 "salvageable" for my collection/reselling. We dump them onto a towel that's laid out on the table. Immediately, I spot about a dozen early milled coins. George III, Queen Anne, a German in a powdered wig. Most are fairly well circulated. Unfortunately, many of them have various amounts of tape residue on them.

 

Both my hands immediately go to work as I quickly pick out every old, skinny coin and place it in an ever-growing pile off to the side. At first, my eyes are finding interesting coins faster than my hands can pick them up. The pile at the side grows and grows. I search and research the pile painstakingly, like when I was a kid looking for specific lego blocks.

 

Eventually, the "keepers" pile is nearly equal in size to the original pile. Out of those probably 300 coins, 40 or more were 1600s-1800's. About another 50 were early 1900's.

 

We reach an agreement on price. Once the deal is done, I comment "I hate to think what most of the coin dealers around here would have paid for these coins, maybe (1/8th) of what I just did!". Turns out she did take a large number of the coins to one dealer many years back. She said that he looked at a jar and without even giving it a second look, let alone dumping it out to see what might be inside, he offered around 1/10th of the price I just paid. She quickly left his shop.

 

I can't say I hit a total home run. Many of the coins are in pretty rough shape. Quite a few of the older ones have tape residue that I will need to deal with. There might even be a number of fake coins in the lot. I picked out 3 or 4 tourist fakes of "pirate treasure" type coins, they were way too dark in color, very lightweight and had obvious casting seams. Only put one in my pile of "keepers". There might be others though that I missed on the first go around.

 

Before the pictures, one question to you all. What will be the best way to get rid of the tape residue on these coins. A method that can treat multiple (dozen(s)?) of coins at once would be great. Would Acetone baths do the trick?

 

I plan on updating/editing the 2nd post in this thread with my finds as I sort through this lot. Some pictures now and again as well.

 

And now, the first pics!!

 

Edited to album view: http://www.photobucket.com/waitresshoard

 

PS- I could use some attribution help for many of the 1600's-1700's coins, as my Krause collection only goes back to 1801. If you need more pictures or info just post below.

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** February 2nd updatge **

 

My old hosting site, imagecave, is still down and it doesn't look like it will ever come back.

 

Here is the new link to the photo album. I'll be periodically adding the sub directories and descriptions as I have time.

 

http://www.photobucket.com/waitresshoard

 

The Sub-album links for each German State is near the bottom right of the page.

 

 

** September 27 update #2 **

 

All the pics of the pre-1900 coins!

 

http://usera.imageca...Coins/Waitress/

 

One of my favorites, 1726 Hamburg 16 Schillings:

 

1726%20German%20States%20-%20Hamburg%20-%2016%20schilling%20rev.jpg

 

1726%20German%20States%20-%20Hamburg%20-%2016%20schilling%20obv.jpg

 

** September 27 update **

 

I've attributed all of the pre-1900 coins now, thanks to some forum help as well.

 

The last two I had to attribute, and the most troublesome!

 

http://imageshack.us...ystery2rev.jpg/

 

The first is an early 17th century 1/2 batzen from Germany (city of Constanz). St. Conrad.

 

The second is a 1639 1/24th "Death" thaler of the German State Saxe-Middle-Weimar. Appears to commemorate the death of a child of Wilhelm IV at age 8 years, 9 months. This piece was likely given out at the child's funeral as a reminder of his life.

 

** September 17 update2 **

 

Link to the rest of the "after" pre-1900 coin pics

 

** September 17 update **

 

Spent a good 4 hours today on this project. Bought a ~1 litre jug of acetone from walmart ($10), got a small glass dish and a larger glass bowl as a cover.

 

Acetoned 5-6 coins at a time in the small glass dish. Let them soak a few minutes usually. Started with the least valuable 1940s-1950s world coins, it worked pretty well. Started with a Q-tip, but the acetone evaporated too fast. Switched to cotton swaps with much better results. Some coins needed a soak, then light dabs/strokes to peel away the residue. What worked best for me was doing it in these steps:

 

- Soak

- dab with an acetone soaked cotton swap

- rinse in water

- let it air dry until white residue appears

- dab/wipe gently with acetone soaked swap

-> repeat as necessary

 

Was a little worried at first since some of the coins ended up looking very cleaned/metallic, but after enough coins I realized that that was just what was underneath the sticky yellow tape residue on a number of them.

 

Out of the 50 pre-1900 coins, I acetoned about 40 of them. If it looked at all like there was any residue, I bathed them. Some of them were a real pain! There was one French coin with incuse lettering which was some trouble. But the worst culprits were the larger, low relief coins which had small lettering. A few of them I had to soak, dab/brush with the swap and repeat nearly a dozen times before it was all gone.

 

Overall I am quite pleased with the results. There were a few coins which has nice lustre, and came out looking just fine afterwards. A few coins had a yellow color to them, but the acetone didn't do anything to them. Looks like "cigar box" toning to me.

 

For conservation, the next step is to determine if I want to actually dip any of them. I've only ever dipped junk silver before, so I am a little weary of doing this, but I think it could help some of the coins. There's some nasty looking lines from where the tape used to be. Some would have toned very nicely if not for the tape.

 

Pics below of the first group/test run of pre-1900 coins I did. The 1780 I later repeated the steps listed above to get rid of the last of the junk in the devices.

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Good for you, and some very neat pieces!

 

For tape, I usually just apply acetone to each one individually with a cotton swab. For some, it dissolves fast, for others it needs a bit of rubbing it in. Copper I usually leave as is since acetone sometimes messes up the toning.

 

Are the ID'ed and priced bags part of what they came in?

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Good for you, and some very neat pieces!

 

For tape, I usually just apply acetone to each one individually with a cotton swab. For some, it dissolves fast, for others it needs a bit of rubbing it in. Copper I usually leave as is since acetone sometimes messes up the toning.

 

Are the ID'ed and priced bags part of what they came in?

 

Thanks :) I'll have to see if I can find some pure acetone and start treating the offenders. Most of them are silver, a few are cupro-nickel.

 

Yeah, on a bunch of the bags she had also written a price. Usually it was extremely far off. Such as the "Bolivia Silver cob 1600's 400.00" which is the one obvious tourist fake that I opted to keep. Only a few were on the money. It seemed that she was searching the internet for the coins, and seeing auction results for much higher grade pieces.

 

I've very glad that I brought my Krause books, or else she probably would have been expecting waaaay more than these coins were worth. After looking up a few of the early 1800's German States pieces and seeing the $5-10 value, she thankfully realized that her pricing of the coins was done in vain.

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Yeah, on a bunch of the bags she had also written a price. Usually it was extremely far off. Such as the "Bolivia Silver cob 1600's 400.00" which is the one obvious tourist fake that I opted to keep. Only a few were on the money. It seemed that she was searching the internet for the coins, and seeing auction results for much higher grade pieces.

 

Ain't that the truth - CC dollars are all worth hundreds of thousands, and I once lost a friend after telling him his 1907H cent wasn't worth several thousand (it was a VG-F and he'd come to me expecting a "fair deal").

 

Fortunately many people understand (after being informed) that when it comes to collectibles, what you see on the internet is usually the cream of the cream rather than the usual, which for obvious reasons isn't going to be written about or displayed much.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Neat! For a split second I thought the coin on the lower right had raised middle fingers :lol:

 

That coin, it turns out, I had upside down! Even though much of the script looks upside down in the "right" orientation. It's a 1/24th "Death" thaler from Saxe-Middle-Weimar, minted to commemorate the death of a royal family member. Appears to be a child (who was next in line?) of Johann Wilhelm (IV), died at age 8 years, 9 months in 1639. I've read that these coins were given to people at the person's funeral, to help remind them of that person's life. This one was holed, possibly worn by someone close to the deceased. Oh the stories coins could tell!

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