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Following the Numismatic Treasure Map

By Victor Bozarth - April 27, 2023

Many people think of gold coins when it comes to treasure, but in numismatics all coins are treasures – and there are many different treasure maps out there to help us find these collectibles. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView.

Who hasn’t dreamed of finding undiscovered treasures?

Of course, we’ve seen treasure and treasure maps in fictionalized performances for decades. Most often the fictional treasure and the map itself are just that: fiction. I would bet most of us have a little bit of the dreamer gene in their DNA…

I was crazy about coins. As a kid, I would search through any (or anyone’s) change given the opportunity. As a teenager, I was friendly with a couple of local businesspersons who sometimes, and only if they weren’t too busy, would let me search through the coins in their cash registers.

I was already known as a nuisance at both the local banks in my small town. If allowed, I would buy $5 or $10 worth of cents and rummage through them in the lobby of the bank, reroll the rejects, turn them in for other pennies, and start all over again. Besides the couple of small businesses that would sometimes tolerate me, I spent a considerable amount of time at each of the local grocery stores searching for – you’ve got it – treasure.

I was often asked what I was doing and what I was looking for. My reply was usually, “old coins.” The follow-up question was generally, “why?” and then, “is there any money in that?”

Many times, this led to a “how do you know?” question. I typically answered, “I’ve taught myself which coins are the better dates” and how much those coins might be worth.

So often, I’ve met folks who had some coins but didn’t know what they were worth. It was usually pretty obvious whether they cared or not. This remark might seem cynical, but knowing someone has no interest is often timely. Either you are or you are not into coins. Of course, you had some whose only interest was in the potential windfall.

The underlying issue is that we all want a treasure map with a great big red “X” marking where we can go to load up the loot!

One of the early lessons I learned from experience is that the owner of the coins must exercise some due diligence on their part. Regardless of whether you have any coin knowledge or not, doing some basic online research on a website like PCGS CoinFacts is your responsibility. Additionally, it will be in the owner’s best interest to learn about the item(s) they have from several different sources, such as PCGS CoinFacts, the PCGS Price Guide, or a PCGS Authorized Dealer prior to making a decision to buy, sell, or trade.

What do you use as your numismatic treasure map?

Article provided by PCGS at
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