Precious Metal Coin Hoards

coinsHave you ever heard the stories of builders digging out a basement or lifting some floorboards on a house they’ve been contracted to renovate, and finding an extraordinary mass of rare and valuable coins? It actually seems to happen quite regularly. Often people hoard coins because they don’t trust the banks, and sometimes it’s just that they inherited the coins and were not sure what to do with them, or collected more than they knew what to do with. So next time you visit grandma’s house, just ask her if she’s got a secret hoard of coins hidden somewhere in her house!

One of the largest and most famous hoard of coins was found in 1998. It is known as the “Midwest MegaHoard”, as it was discovered under the floorboards of a coin collector’s house somewhere in the Midwest in the United States. Apparently the owner had been collecting coins for over 25 years, and the house was literally groaning under the weight of all the stash. All up the collection included 488,000 Indian Head and Buffalo nickels, 950,000 Indian Head cents that had been circulated, and 308,000 Liberty Head nickels. While the “face value” of the coins is low, and the numismatic value unknown at the time, in was reported that the company that purchased the hoard – the Littleton Coin Co – paid the owner several millions of dollars for the hoard.

Another interesting story is that of Lavere Redfield, who died in 1974 leaving behind one of the biggest coin hoards ever found. All his life he was an investor in various stocks and shares (usually the cheap things no one else wanted). He also began to collect silver dollars, and would purchase bags of 1,000 dollars from the bank. It is said that he hated the banks, and refused to leave his money with them, so he kept the growing hoard of coins instead at home in a bricked-up basement. After his death they discovered over 400,000 silver dollars hidden away, most still in the bags he had purchased at the banks. The coins were purchased by a coin dealer and sold at auction in 1976 for 7.3 million dollars. If you look at how much silver is in a silver dollar, you can see that today that hoard would be worth an even larger fortune! It is believed that the collection was broken up, and you may be able to buy some coins from the collection at auction houses or online today.

We enjoy hearing about hoards of coins because it’s interesting to hear about the often eccentric people who decided to start collecting huge amounts of coins. They usually don’t tell anyone about the stash of coins either, until a family member or relative goes through their houses and their possessions when the person dies. Another reason that we are fascinated by such stories is that it is easy to imagine the astonishment of finding such a haul of money out of the blue – especially if you knew you would personally benefit from it.

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