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Coin collectors and dealers roll in the dough at Hagerstown show

September 02, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Coin dealer Guy Whidden, left, of Frederick, Md., shows his wares to buyer Danny Fines of Fredericksburg, Va., Sunday afternoon during the Interstate Coin Club show at the Best Western Grand Venice Hotel Wedding and Conference Center in Hagerstown.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — If the coin would have been produced by the Philadelphia Mint, it would have been worth about $300.

But this 1870 silver half dollar at Sunday’s Interstate Coin Club show at the Best Western Grand Venice Hotel Wedding and Conference Center in Hagerstown was made by the Carson City (Nev.) Mint.

And that makes it a different ballgame.

The owner of the coin would not give his name for security reasons, merely saying he was from southcentral Pennsylvania.

The Carson City Mint was only in operation from 1870 to 1893, and was established to take advantage of the large amount of silver coming out of the west, according to the coin’s owner and the state of Nevada.

The coin, showing an image of Miss Liberty seated and holding a flag, is one of less than 200 that are known to exist, the coin’s owner said.

Because there are only about 20 known to exist that have the quality of the coin at the local show Sunday, it had a price tag of $37,500.

In a lighthearted moment at the show Sunday afternoon, the owner of the coin offered to sell it to a reporter for $34,000.

“Calling the wife is not necessary,” the owner said.

The Interstate Coin Club holds a show every March and September, and about 400 people came to the first day of the club’s weekend show Saturday, said Lottie Canfield of Hagerstown, who has been the club’s president for 23 years.

About 200 people had been to the show just before it ended Sunday, Canfield said.

“Pretty much anything” was available at the show, from foreign coins to Confederate currency, said Donald Dagenhart of Hagerstown, a coin collector for about 40 years who was participating in the event.

Dagenhart said coin collecting is not as popular as it used to be because younger people are not as interested in it as those from older generations. Dagenhart said people his age became interested in coin collecting when they used to have newspaper routes as children.

Dagenhart said children who had newspaper delivery routes often received silver coins as Christmas gifts from customers.

“That’s how you got started,” Dagenhart said.

The Interstate Coin Club was started in 1961 and meets monthly in Hagerstown, Canfield said.

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