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Kyle Woolard, Age 15, Ontario: Honorable Mention

Ancient Silver Coin Found in Junk Coin Box

To many people, coin store "junk boxes" are only bins filled with non-valuable or low grade world coins valued under 25 cents each, but not for me. I love searching through junk boxes in hope to find the rare coin and pay only 25 cents for it. Over the past few years, I have gotten lucky and found numerous Great Britain cents from the 1700s and other rare world coins valued from $5 to $50, but nothing compared to the ancient silver coin I found on July 10th.

Kyle Woolard

My mom and I were driving through town on a hot afternoon and were approaching the coin store, so I asked if I could take a quick look at some of their coins for 5 minutes. Although hesitant, she said yes and dropped me off while she sat in the car. The coin store was busy that day, but I was the only person interested in searching through their world coin junk bin. The bin was overflowing with coins of all shapes and sizes from around the globe, which made it hard to dig, but I managed all the same. On the top was your average world coins from 1960-now, in average condition, so I decided to move them out of the way to get to the better coins. I was looking for anything that stood out as unique whether it was its age, country, size, or composition. After the first five minutes, I had found some cool coins such as a 1938 Great Britain 3 pence, and a 1965 Mexican silver peso but nothing too amazing and, I was running out of time. With less than a minute before I had to leave, a coin at the far side of the box caught my eye. It was a silver coin with Arabic writing and odd symbols that I couldn't understand and, for only 25 cents I decided to buy it.

I purchased my handful of coins for a special price of $2 and went out to the car to show my mom my awesome finds. She pretended to be interested in my coins but, as a non coin collector, I knew she wasn't even close to as excited as me. Once we arrived at home, I ran upstairs to my room to package my Arabic coin in a cardboard 2x2 to prevent the coin from getting damaged and loosing value. Ever since I found the coin I had one main question; "what is it worth?" To find out, I turned on my computer and searched for "old silver Arabic coin." After half an hour of research, I found my exact coin on an auction website, it was an Abbasid silver dirham from 786-809 AD in Ef40 condition which sold it for $160. I was ecstatic about my find and will always continue to rummage in the coin stores' junk boxes for rare treasures.

Bob's comments: The joy of discovery is an integral part of our hobby, and Young Kyle has a world of learning in front of him --- and knowledge that can often be enhanced by a small but useful profit. I will give Kyle one word of advice: VAM. A dealer I know recently picked a $1,000 VAM variety out of another dealer's 'junk box' for spot plus 10%. Even professionals REALLY enjoy those discoveries!

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