Coin show attracts thousands

Aaron Ware of Carson City expressed the allure of coin collecting Sunday in his booth for Northern Nevada Coin during the nation's only coin show held at a former mint.

"I enjoy the history and artistry of coins," he said. "There's a certain amount of magic to holding gold in your hand."

Ware was not alone in his passion.

An estimated 3,000 people perused booths Saturday and Sunday at the Nevada State Museum, some forking over hundreds of dollars just to hold the "magic" and add an elusive coin to their collection.

The eight annual Carson City Coin Show at the former Carson City mint maintained its standing as the best show in Nevada.

"If you're looking for coins and are interested in collecting, this is the place to be," said event coordinator Kathi Baker.

Baker said the response from dealers is phenomenal. And when it gets closer to the show date, she is inundated with phone calls and e-mails from people wanting to take part in the one-of-a-kind event.

The show is so lucrative, she said, that once dealers are in, they don't want to leave.

Fate opened the door for Paul Swarts to have a booth for the first time this weekend when the regular dealer he replaced became ill.

Swarts will tell you exactly when and where he made the deal of a lifetime in the coin trade.

"June 1964 in Albuquerque, New Mexico," he said.

A man came into Swarts' shop and plopped a bag of 1,000 coins onto his glass showcase. almost breaking it.

"He said he had 'Confederate currency,' because the coins had 'CC' on them," Swarts recalled, chuckling.

But Swarts and his partner knew the "CC" meant the coins were minted in Carson City.

Because fewer than 14 million were minted, Carson City silver dollars are some of the most sought-after coins on record. An 1889 "CC" mint dollar is listed at auction for $495,000.

Swarts said he offered the man 50 cents apiece for the 1,000 silver dollars.

The man said he wanted enough money to buy a truck.

Swarts sent him to a car lot and told the man to pick one out.

A short time later, the car dealer called, saying the man wanted more than one truck.

Swarts told him to make the deal; he'd take care of the bill.

Some of the coins in that bag sold for more than $1,000, Swarts said, "and that was in 1964."

Although there were no bulging bags of "CC" silver dollars, every dealer displayed their Carson City coins alongside other rare and not-so-rare goods.

A dealer from Idaho had a collection of mis-minted coins. One -- a nickel with both a nickel imprint and a penny imprint -- was going for $495.

Swarts displayed a dime with a bullet lodged in it. It was not for sale.

"The guy I bought it from said it makes you think about where you keep your change," Swarts said.

A drawing for a "CC" mint silver dollar in a frame with a picture of the mint when it was in operation and two watches has generated about $3,700. All proceeds will benefit the state museum.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment