Locals find out what their treasures are worth

By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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When she thought of her coin collection gathering dust and buried in a drawer, Shella Waldman decided it might be fun to find out what it could be worth. The 73-year-old Auburn resident took her change to buyers from THR& Associates, a company that buys precious metals, coins and antiques, which is hosting an event at The Ridge Golf Course until Friday. Since none of her $8.50 worth of coins are especially rare or coveted, buyer Monica Ingiane offered her $88.50 for the value of the silver they contained. Her coins are worth more than face value because they contain 90 percent silver. Waldman said she ultimately decided the coins had too much sentimental value for her to part with. “My dad used to carry this (coin) in his pocket and it got so worn down,” Waldman said of one half dollar that looked like a smooth piece of silver. “I’m just checking it out.” Ingiane said sometimes the sentimental value of an item is worth more to people than the money they’d get in exchange. One of the coins Waldman brought in was one year away from being a rare coin worth about $9,000. Bob Durham, 69, of Auburn, said he went to the event hoping the buyers would sell him some pennies he wants to add to his collection. Gary Davison, field manager, said while he couldn’t sell him any coins, he would tell him what he’d pay for the ones he brought. Durham said he decided not to sell any of his coins, but wanted to bring some gold items to sell later that day. His grandpa is the one who originally inspired him to start collecting coins. Finding one from his birth year will be particularly valuable, he said. “My grandpa told me if you ever find yourself a ’43 copper penny, you’ll have enough money to live for a long time,” Durham said. According to the U.S. Mint it is one of the rarest coins. Most of the ’43 pennies made were made out of zinc-coated steel because copper and nickel were needed for World War II. There are 40 1943 copper pennies in existence today and the highest amount paid for one was $82,500 in 1996. Durham said he loves watching people discover how much their “junk” is really worth on reality TV shows such as “Pawn Stars.” “Just the excitement on people’s faces when they don’t know they have anything and realize it’s worth thousands of dollars,” Durham said. “It’s a lot of fun.” Davison said the largest check he has ever written was for $65,842 for a 1796 16 star drape bust half dollar coin. For those looking to sell their coins, Davison said it’s important not to clean them because they will lose their value. All coins dated 1964 and earlier are made out of pure silver, for which buyers like him will often pay a price based on the value of the silver in the coins. Ron Solomon, owner of Auburn Jewelry and Loan, said he has noticed that people have a renewed interest in the industry since reality shows featuring it have become popular. “We have a lot of people that like the show and had not been in,” Solomon said He said he believes that any of the local jewelry shops would probably pay more for gold and silver than the companies that come through town and host events. He said local shops are also required to file a police report and keep the item for 30 days before they sell it to guard against selling potentially stolen property. “I still think our local shops here, myself, Roper’s Jewelers, Sierra Moon and Swan’s Jewelers pay better for gold than they do,” Solomon said. Reach Sara Seyydin at, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News.