An Unbelievable story...but true!

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by wlwhittier, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. wlwhittier

    wlwhittier Peripheral Member

    Last April I traveled to Tukwila, Washington (3 hours drive) to attend my first real coin show; I don't recall who sponsored the event. I carried six older dollar-sized silver coins: these pics are of one of them. After showing them all to several (5 or 6) dealers, I was convinced that I had a pocket full of bullion, and nothing of exceptional value. I sold all six to one fellow who specialized in Asian coins; he gave me $130 for the lot. I spent it and more before I left the show.

    He in turn showed them around, did his own rudimentary research, and came to roughly the same conclusion: nothing special. Before he left the show that day, he was approached by a young man who asked about the coins, having overheard some conversation about them. My buyer showed them to him and he selected this one as worthy of more research, which he promptly began on his laptop. After some discussion, they agreed on a price, and the young fellow paid my buyer for the coin: that sale amount is unknown to me.

    Several months later, my buyer received a call from the purchaser. He said the coin had been sold at auction, and that the hammer price was in the low five figures! He went on to tell my buyer that he felt an obligation to share the windfall, and promised to forward roughly half the final proceeds to my buyer when the transaction was complete. About a month after that conversation my buyer got a check in the mail for $12000! That evening he called me and urged me to meet him near his home that weekend (near the site of the coin show) so that he could deliver my portion of the $12K! When I arrived he handed me a check for $3K and stated he would mail the other $3K when the $12K check cleared his bank. He wrote my address on an envelope that already had a stamp, his return address, and my name on it. I expressed my astonishment at his generosity, and we shared similar bewilderment at the largess of his original buyer!

    I left his company filled with delight and amazement, and $3K richer! I held that first check for 12 days, and was beginning to wonder if all this was just a dream...when the mailman brought the second check (which was consecutively numbered after the first one). In the envelope with it was a short note:

    Here's the other $3K. The check from my buyer has cleared and we both now have half of it. It has been a pleasure sharing this windfall with you. It never could have happened for the two of us if you had not begun the process.

    My wife and I are planning a cruise of Alaska next spring which will use up most of our half. Hope you do something nifty with yours!

    I share this story here partly as an act of penitence: I have had a poor and declining viewpoint of human nature for years. It has been observed that 'The idealist is the father of the cynic', and I felt that was particularly appropriate in my case. I have been humbled by this experience, and have resolved to try much harder to see the good in others, manifest or latent.

    Also, I hope one or more of you can look at this coin with practiced eyes and offer some clue about what I gave up out of ignorance. I'm hoping to know from my buyer the circumstances of the sale; specifically the description and other value-indicating information; I don't care about the hammer price at all.

    I will never again sell something of which I'm ignorant of its true value...a good lesson!

    Thanks for listening!

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  3. NorthKorea

    NorthKorea Dealer Member is a made up title...

    I'm glad you were able to get that. :) Were you ever able to find a buyer for those coasters you had?

    My guess is this coin is a mint mark combination that was previously unknown.

    G & P R.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
  4. chrisild

    chrisild Coin Collector

    No idea about the coin. But that is a great story!

  5. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky

    it has chinese or Japaense counter-stamp marks. probably own by a famous person.
  6. THCoins

    THCoins Well-Known Member

    It is tempting to be focussing at the chopmarks. I know nothing about Mexican reales. But it seems more likely that the coin itself is special ?
    This combination of year, minmark and mint assayer does not seem to be listed in KM ?
  7. Derick

    Derick Well-Known Member

    It seems to have been minted in Guatemala, which is not listed in anything I could find + chop mark = fantastic specimen. Important to do your homework before buying or selling!!
  8. Sean the Coin Collector

    Sean the Coin Collector Active Member

    This is one case were the story is almost as important as the coin itself, it shows the good will of two people as niether of them had to give money to the others involved but they still did because it was the right thing to do. It goes to show you that their are good people out their and that dont judge a coin by its looks because you never know what you have !
    definer likes this.
  9. micbraun

    micbraun coindiccted

    In my book there's no Guanajuato G/PP combination, 1869 is not mentioned either for G mintmark. Apparently a rare or error coin what would explain its value.
  10. Copper Head

    Copper Head Active Member

    Wow, that's an amazing story.
  11. mlov43

    mlov43 주화 수집가

    Way cool. This is a lesson in ethics: I'll try to take note...

    About the coin itself: This is just my own speculation: I read that Korean gold miners were paid in Mexican silver dollars. Perhaps this (or maybe other such activity in China) can explain the Chinese-character chopmarks. I (poorly) deciphered the chinese characters into Korean. This is what I think it says in Korean pronunciation: Hyeon 현 " (black, dark), Boon 분 (a division of some sort, like the "FUN" in Korean coins), Sam 삼 (three), Kae 개 (to make better). This is from Left to Right (but it could be read right to left, or the recessed chops are a "company name" and the middle two characters are a denomination). Perhaps gxseries or another poster here who's into Asian coins can help.

    About the Korean gold miners: Mineral tycoon, Samuel H. Dolbear (with investors like Adolph Coors, that's right-the Coors Beer guy) was one of a few Americans who opened Korean gold mines under concession from the old Korean government (pre-division) of Joseon (Chosun), beginning in 1896, and operated them well into the Japanese Occupation period. The American-owned Oriental Consolidated Mining Company held the largest gold mines in northern Korea until 1939, when they were sold to Japanese interests. Gold accounted for well over half the minerals produced in Korea and was the most important mineral export in the 1930s.

    Sam Dolbear also owned silver and gold concessions around the world in other locations. It was known that these Korean gold miners were paid in Mexican silver...
    (source: Origins of the Korean War Part I, by Bruce Cumings)

    Is this what it is?
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
    BRandM likes this.
  12. NorthKorea

    NorthKorea Dealer Member is a made up title...

    I highly doubt the chopmarks would be enough to drive the coin from junk silver to $25k collectible. The only situation that would warrant such a price would be if it's somehow imperial. I doubt that to be the case and really believe that it has to do with the G/PR combination on the coin. Also, looking at it more, I think the date might be a repunch... I see a 5 in the 6 and something (not quite an 8) in the 9.

    Beyond that it makes me wonder what the coin would have been worth without the marks? For a discovery pattern... $80k+?
  13. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    Actually I think it would have been minted in
    Guadalajara. Great story by the way!!
    mlov43 likes this.
  14. wlwhittier

    wlwhittier Peripheral Member

  15. Derick

    Derick Well-Known Member

    That might be correct, but cannot see the typical Go (with o inside the G on the pics).
  16. Numismat

    Numismat World coin enthusiast

    Guys guys guys... this coin is 1859 Go-PF, not 1869. It is a relatively common date. The price is due to the Japanese trade counterstamps and rarity in this condition.
    jloring likes this.
  17. Numismat

    Numismat World coin enthusiast

    PS: This is called an Ansei trade dollar, they were commissioned officially in 1858 and decommissioned in 1859. They were valued as "3 bu", a denomination that is written in the stamps. You can find them listed in Krause under Japan.
    Derick, SilverSurfer415 and mlov43 like this.
  18. mlov43

    mlov43 주화 수집가

    Thanks for this!

    So the denomination is read right to left...

    What about the recessed chopmarks? What do they mean?
  19. Numismat

    Numismat World coin enthusiast

    They mean that the coin can be officially exchanged for said amount, as per the imperial Japanese government. The silver value of the Mexican 8 reales was not an exact match to 3 bu, but very very close.
  20. gxseries

    gxseries Coin Collector


    Just because it's chopmarked does not necessarily mean that it's damaged and has lowered the value to scrap metal price. VERY wrong. This chopmark was done officially by Japanese officials - I would call it a redenomination from 1 Mexican dollar to 3 bu silver.

    If you do not realize the importance of this chopmark, you should read this.

    To make it simple, it was one of those early era in between Japan and US trades where the Americans forced the Japanese to accept cheap inferior silver for higher quality Japanese silver coins at a ridicious exchange rate. This was then exchanged for gold coins. A lot of gold koban / oban coins were exported out of Japan this way and many of these were immediately destroyed as it was detrimental to the economy. This ridicious trade lasted for a mere year in 1859 / 1860.

    I have seen a poorer grade of this particular coin selling more than 10,000 dollars a couple of years ago and this QUITE scarce.

    Wlwhittler - would have been nice if you posted these coins here first and we could have guided you in a better direction. What were the other coins?
    Numismat and SilverSurfer415 like this.
  21. wlwhittier

    wlwhittier Peripheral Member

    [/quote]Wlwhittler - would have been nice if you posted these coins here first and we could have guided you in a better direction. What were the other coins?[/quote]

    First, it's whittier, not whittler...Then:

    Do I hear a Please?

    Would'a, should'a, could'a...Thanks for rubbing my nose in my previously expressed chagrin for selling in ignorance.

    Do you vet all your unknowns before this forum?

    I'm grateful, very sincerely, for your information, and that of others as well...but find your attitude condescending; bordering on hauteur.

    I'll look over my pics and try to come up with an accurate tally of the others, to be posted here soon.
    bdunnse likes this.
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