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Robert Lenzner Headshot

I Should Have Kept Those Buffalo Nickels

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It's a sign of the times, when gold and silver are making new highs in precious metals markets and investors everywhere are worried about the value of their paper money.

Those old coins in the bottom of your attic trunk just got marvelously valuable, if two full-page ads in the New York Times this weekend is any proof. You are asked to bring your old Buffalo nickels. I used to have some, but they are long gone.

Try to find those old silver quarters and dimes or pre-1966 paper money in "Brand New Condition" and you could collect a small fortune-a very small fortune. Up to $300 for a $100 bill.

You're also being invited to bring in wrist watches (up to $70,000 for a Patek Philippe, $20,000 for a Rolex), sterling pitchers, flatware and candlesticks, gold wedding bands ($100), diamonds (1 carat, $4,000), even costume jewelry, or wheat pennies (whatever they are) at 20% over face value.

Five days at eight hotels in NYC area sponsored by Anderson, Carter, Bascom & Assoc., who warn "You should not clean your coins! You may hurt their value!

Under the heading "Important Economic Information" there is the suggestion that high prices for your gold and silver may not last forever. "We have studied the investment and collectibles markets for decades, and in the past during times of economic uncertainty (which is happening now), there have been dramatic price declines in many areas of the jewelry, coin, and collectible markets."

Hmmm! I'd like to know when this economic certainty is coming. Doesn't seem too likely to me, what with global markets, spiking food and fuel prices, political instability, sovereign debt issues, radioactive nuclear plants, and the need to get the U.S. budget into balance.