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Insuring Collection Against Fire, Theft

January 16, 1986|DON ALPERT

Question: I would like your advice on how to properly insure a coin collection against loss through fire or theft. Presently I keep the bulk of my collection in a bank safe deposit box. I also have a homeowner's insurance policy, but it sets a limit on coverage of $100 on cash or coins (including collections). Other than purchasing an endorsement on my policy, are there any other sources of coverage available to coin collectors?----J.Y.

Answer: Insuring a coin collection is not impossible, but it can be very expensive. Special riders can be written for most collections, but the price is often prohibitive. The same thing is true when you try to insure jewelry. Storing your coins in a safe deposit box, as you indicate you are doing, is probably the best solution. Safe deposit boxes are not entirely foolproof, and there are occasional incidents in which valuables have been taken. But such theft is rare indeed.

The main disadvantage to a safe deposit box is that it makes viewing and enjoying your coins very inconvenient. Still, these are the realities of today's social structure. If you want to keep your collection at home (not recommended) and you find that your insurance company is too expensive, contact some other companies for comparison purposes. Also, you might want to check with the group insurance plan offered through the American Numismatic Assn. You must be a member of the ANA to qualify. The ANA address is P.O. Box 2366R, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80901.

The ANA policies are handled by the ANA Group Insurance Plans, A. H. Wohlers Co., 1500 Higgins Road, Park Ridge, Ill. 60068. This insurance is for collectors only. Those who buy and sell coins on a regular basis might fall under the dealer category, which is handled by Marine Insurance, Gilbert-Martin Agency, 287 Northern Blvd., Great Neck, N.Y. 11021.

Q: In 1959, a bank teller sold me a roll of 1959-D pennies. She indicated that they were part of the last run of pennies from the Denver Mint. They are still in the original wrapper. Any value? Also, could you evaluate the following worn coins: 1901 quarter, 1935-D Buffalo nickel, and Indian-head pennies dated 1862, 1886, 1891, 1892, 1898, 1899, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907 and 1908?----R.E.G.

A: The bank teller was wrong. They're still making cents at the Denver Mint. But your original roll of 50 cents is now worth $1.50. The quarter is worth $1.25, the nickel is worth a dime, the 1862 cent is worth $2 and the other cents are 35 cents each.

Q: While living in San Francisco in the late '70s, I purchased a silver coin for $8. It is dated 1760 on one side with the writing Patrona Bavariae. The coin is attached to a silver chain but is not disfigured. Could the coin be worth anything?--C.S.

A: Your coin is actually from one of the German states. Since you only paid $8 for it, I doubt that it could be worth much more than that today; probably just the silver value. However, it would have to be seen to be properly evaluated. Take it to a dealer who specializes in world coins.

Q: Does a Chinese baht 1909-1911 have any value?--R.A.H.

A: You're in the $5-to-$10 range.

Q: I keep reading your column and meaning to write concerning two $100 bills I have been keeping. There is a Bank of Richmond, Va., brown seal, series of 1929 and a Federal Reserve note, green seal, series of 1920.--B.W.

A: Sorry, your $100 bills have just been sitting there, not gaining interest or paying dividends. They have no premium value.

Coin Letter

I read a recent article of yours that mentioned Martin Luther King Jr. coins. I am writing because I have available the same type of coins (tokens). I have 100,000 aluminum, 15,000 nickel and 50 that are 99% pure silver. All were minted in 1968. The aluminum ones are available for 15 cents each, the nickel composition ones are $1 and the silver $25 (each) for the entire lot. For less, the price is negotiable. Write or contact Fred Malorrus, United Sales Inc., P.O. Box 78382, Los Angeles, Calif. 90016, telephone (213) 731-2424.

Coin Calendar

Friday, Saturday and Sunday--About 150 dealers are expected to participate in the fifth national San Diego Coin Show at the Holiday Inn at the Embarcadero, 1355 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Free coin seminars will be held at noon Saturday.

Don Alpert cannot answer mail personally but will respond to numismatic questions of general interest in this column. Do not telephone. Write to Your Coins, You section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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