I have a customer that has become a friend. He is 85 and a WWII veteran, who has recently lost his wife. He came in the other day to get a sandwich... and laid his money down on the counter.
I looked at the coins and asked what they were for. I could tell they were very old, and I guess couldn't believe that he would be paying for a sandwich with these coins.
They were beautiful Mercury dimes.
After talking to him about the coins, it turns out that his wife had a container of coins that he had come across. He had been using them for awhile to buy newspapers, etc.... Six old quarters a day on newspapers. I asked him not to spend anymore and he agreed.
The following week, during our weekly visit, he brought in the remainder of the coins. They are beauties. I haven't counted, but there are lots and some dating back to the early 1900's, some so old the date has completely worn off. He gave them all to me.
I'd like to do something with them that would honor my friend, and his son's currently in Iraq. I don't know much about coins... but I was thinking that perhaps they could be sold and the money donated to the USO, or similar organization in his name. Any suggestions or advice, please e-mail me. (wigwot at gmail.com replace the word "at" with an @).
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. These coins are beautiful. To John they were just coins, to me they are a special treasure. I didn't really think about it, but there must be lots of elderly people that have old collections of coins... that are just coins to them. Not realizing that they are worth far more than face value, not able to, in many cases, read the very tiny date that appears on each, and without the tools (i.e. the internet) to research their worth or desirability.
I may not be keeping these little gems, but to me they have been a joy I won't soon forget. They may only be worth .10 cents each in the end, but to me they are priceless.