Great Coin Finds of a Lifetime
COINage Magazine|December 2020 - January 2021
Coin Hunts Can Make Any Day a Holiday
MICHAEL O’HIGGINS

It’s a familiar phrase, “It’s like Christmas in (fill in the blank),” and it's often uttered when someone unexpectedly finds, experiences, or receives something extraordinary. In coin collecting, many days could be described in this way, since it is often a treasure hunt with a chance of delightful discovery.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, Michael O’Higgins, founder, and owner of Gobrecht Numismatics, located in Hollywood, Florida, took the time to share a few of the many poignant coin discoveries of his 58-year numismatic career. His “great coin finds” stories may have a thread of familiarity as they often came about through the common practices of coin collectors of all ages and years of experience.

ENCHANTED BY BUFFALO NICKEL

“My story began in 1962. I was a smart, fat, little kid, and one day, I asked my mother to stop at Highs Dairy Store (a chain of convenience stores founded in Maryland in 1928) to buy a Hershey bar. I gave the clerk a Franklin Half Dollar, and in my change, I spotted a Buffalo nickel. WOW!! I was in heaven and asked my parents to take me to the local coin store. The proprietor told me the Buffalo nickel was worth 25 cents,’’ said O’Higgins, about his introduction to coin collecting.

At this exchange, a young O’Higgins surged with various emotions, including intrigue, fascination, and a bit of greed, he said.

COIN COLLECTING AT THE PAVILON

Another memorable experience, again including Buffalo nickels, took place in 1963 at Beverly Beach, Maryland, where O’Higgins’ family visited during the summer. Like so many destinations at the time, there was a pavilion with slot machines and pinball machines, he said.

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