She’d been saving some of these treasures for thirty years, and now it was time to cash in. What would she do with all the money? she mused. She wanted to travel. She was retired now, and on a fixed income. She couldn’t afford a very long trip on her meager little Social Security check. But after she cashed these coins in, wow what a long journey she planned!

“May I help you, ma’am,” asked a kind-faced elderly man behind the counter.

“You sure can! I have some very rare coins here. I want a fair appraisal, and then I want to sell them to you,” she beamed proudly as she fished a pile of glinting specie from her purse and dumped it onto the counter.

The coin man furrowed his brow and picked up each coin, one by one, clink by clink, and studied them with an illuminated magnifying glass. Occasionally he glanced up at her expectant face. He cleared his throat as he continued, coin by coin.

The treasure laid out between them consisted of three Eisenhower silver dollars, four Susan B. Anthony silver dollars, three Sacajawea copper-colored silver dollars, and twelve John F. Kennedy half dollars. This was sixteen dollars in all, at face value. But the mystery for the lady who had been hoarding and collecting these minted coins, was not their face value, but rather their collector’s value. The premium.

Finally the old man set down his magnifier. He looked up at this innocent customer very seriously and respectfully. “Ma’am, these are beautiful coins. Yes ma’am, they sure are. Almost as beautiful as your eyes, if you’ll excuse me for saying.”

She blushed. She was five years a widow, and this was the first time any man had flirted with her since her husband had passed. She kind of stammered and smiled a little. “Well, thank you, but what are my beautiful eyes, I mean coins, worth, sir?”

“Well, ma’am,” he appeared a little embarrassed. “You see, ma’am. Well, not much beyond their face value, ma’am. These Eisenhower silver dollars are all post-1970. And they’ve been circulated. And these Kennedy half dollars the same. No real silver in them. And the Sue B’s and Sac Dollars are always face value if they’ve been circulated.”

Her smile dropped. There went her world cruise. She felt a little stupid. “I see. Well, what would you be willing to give me for them?”

He paused and pondered and scratched his head. Finally he spoke, with a sly look in his eyes. “I tell you what ma’am, how about if you let me treat you to dinner at a nice restaurant. And you can keep the coins. They’re nice coins and a joy to hold. They have a nice solid weight to them.”

She studied his face. He had a kind look to him. He seemed about her age. She detected no dishonesty in his demeanor. She scooped up the coins and dropped them clinkety-clink back into her purse. She pulled a pen out of her purse and asked him for a piece of paper. She wrote her phone number down.

The next evening they enjoyed fine dining together. Within a few months they had moved in together. Within a year the elderly proprietor at the coin store sold out and retired. He used some of the proceeds from the sale to take his new wife on a long journey to the exotic island of Tahiti for a romantic honeymoon.

Her coins had truly paid off.

Categories: Stories

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