9 Incredible Underdog Stories in Coin Collecting history

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Behind the glitter of recognized rarities and epic collections are unsung coin collecting heroes. These underdog stories demonstrate tenacity, passion, and the human spirit, from neglected discoveries to unlikely acquisitions.  

A couple strolling their dog in California's Gold Country found a rusted can in 2013. They were unaware that it contained approximately 1,400 mid-19th-century gold coins worth $10 million. The Saddle Ridge Hoard showed that unexpected finds may be amazing.  

The Discovery of the Saddle Ridge Hoard 

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George O. Walton, a coin collector, went a Baltimore coin show in 2003 to uncover unusual treasures. A rare 1913 Liberty Head Nickel, one of five known, was among his purchases.   

The Acquisition of the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel 

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Due to a few diligent collectors, the 1955 Doubled Die Lincoln Cent was recognized after being rejected as a production error. These underdogs boosted the coin's significance, making it one of the most famous and valued mistake coins in numismatic history.  

The Redemption of the 1955 Doubled Die Lincoln Cent 

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The California Gold Rush-laden SS Central America sank off South Carolina in 1857 during a hurricane. The ship and its wealth were lost at sea for almost a century.   

The Recovery of the SS Central America Treasure 

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To conserve copper for the war effort, the U.S. Mint made pennies from zinc-coated steel during WWII. A few copper planchets were misminted with 1943.  

The Persistence of the 1943 Copper Cent 

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While searching for a misplaced hammer in a field near Hoxne, England, metal detectorist Eric Lawes found a trove of Roman silver and gold coins in 1992. Over 15,000 late Roman coins and antiquities were found in the Hoxne Hoard.   

The Unearthing of the Hoxne Hoard 

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The rare and valuable 1804 Draped Bust Dollar, known as the "King of American Coins," eluded collectors for decades. Despite numismatic skepticism, Norweb Harrison Reed bought one of these fabled coins for $7,750 in 1962.   

The Redemption of the 1804 Draped Bust Dollar 

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The Confederate Half Dollar, minted in 1861, symbolized Southern independence during the Civil War. After a few were made, production stopped, and most were lost or destroyed.   

The Resurrection of the Confederate Half Dollar 

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The Garrett Collection was one of the largest and most important American coin and medal collections, assembled by the Garrett family over several generations.   

The Legacy of the Garrett Collection 

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In coin collecting history, underdogs who bucked the odds and achieved extraordinary discoveries are as intriguing as the coins.  


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