Allen Rowe: Peace dollars involved a great deal and great story
The other day an employee was sorting silver dollars when he ran across a small group of 1922 Peace dollars that were obviously very fresh uncirculated coins, except they had cuts on them. It had been 15 years since we’d purchased those coins, and I told the story of how we came about them.
In March 1999, I was attending a Baltimore coin show. I was accompanied by my wife, who was pregnant with our first. Knowing I was soon to be a new dad, I had been working harder than ever, and it was starting to show. I, and my wife, needed a break. I remember my prayer.
My normal Baltimore schedule was to fly in Wednesday and out Saturday afternoon. Pushing hard, I had not only scheduled to stay at the show through Sunday but to spend an additional week buying coins in the area.
Saturday afternoon, about the time I was normally on a plane, I was standing at my booth trying to think of what to do next. I was already done buying most of what I could at the show, and I still had another day there. A gentleman approached and asked if I was buying coins. He showed me a roll of 1922 Peace dollars and said he had 800 of them. At the time, Peace dollars were worth $10 each in any condition and $12 in uncirculated condition. Nicer coins that could grade higher were worth more, but with the grading services taking six-plus weeks to grade the coins, stretching to pay more was possible but became riskier. So, I asked him how much he wanted. He said, “does $7 each sound fair?”
Standing in a room full of dealers, here I was being offered 800 coins at $5 apiece below market! I thought for a second, and not wanting him to change his mind or go somewhere else to try for more, I said, “OK But, can I pay you more?” He said, “how much?” and I responded, “$12 each.” He sold them to me on the spot. As we finished up, I could see his wheels spinning, and sure enough, he was trying to figure out when I would be back in Baltimore. I suggested I would still be there the next day. He brought in 1,200 more 1922s and additional 200 1921 Morgan dollars. After finishing, he told me he had been offered $5 and $6 each at two places. He appreciated that I had been fair with him, and that was why he brought me all his coins.
Two days later, the head finalizer for one of the grading services called and told me that his service was trying to speed up bulk grading, and that if I had any dollars, it would grade them in two weeks. So, I ended up with my coins back and ready to sell one month ahead of schedule.
Having the coins back, I was able to sell them at the next show, and that turned out to be a huge blessing. Over then next month the market for those coins fell about 30 percent. In the end, we paid the customer about $10,000 more than he wanted and made about $30,000 because of market timing and an unexpected expedited service. Prayers had been answered, and nerves were calmed in such a great way. So, when we once again ran across the handful of reject coins from this deal, I was inclined to just put them away again as a reminder and a future chance to reminisce.
Allen Rowe owns Northern Nevada Coin in Carson City.