International Coin Collectors Association
Buyers of coins, currency, precious metals and antiques
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Hilton Garden Inn, 1735 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville
How much: Free
Your loose change may be more valuable than you think.
Donale Neal, a buyer for the International Coin Collectors Association, said she's bought pennies for $1,500.
"That's a pretty good investment for a penny," she said while working Monday at an event at the Hilton Garden Inn in Gainesville. The association will be in town all week to buy coins, currency, precious metals and antiques.
"There is a big industry for coin collecting, a lot more than people realize," said Brice Lanier, field manager for the association. "So it's ridiculous for them not to take 10 minutes out of their day to see if they've got that rare coin."
There is no cost to go to the event to have items appraised, and buyers are present should people decide to sell.
Neal said some of the coins and currency she sees have some unusual histories.
She recalled one family who received a treasure map from their late father.
"They followed this map and when they dug it up they found a metal trunk he had welded shut. They actually had to blow it up to open it. It was full of different silver coins," Neal said.
The family walked away that day with extra coins to save and a check for more than $100,000.
Another woman was helping to remodel her church.
When they cut a post they found it had been hollowed out and filled with confederate currency.
"The preacher counted it out to everybody who was helping do it. That would be a really neat find," Neal said.
Lanier said he has been collecting coins since he was a child and loves the excitement of finding a rare coin.
In March, he purchased an 1803 large set penny from a man in Cornelia for $32,000.
"Some of the rarest coins in the world are purchased in Georgia," Lanier said.
Even if your coin collection is a jar of pocket change, it could be full of treasure.
Silver coins minted between 1900 and 1964 are 90 percent silver. Lanier said there are still a lot of these coins in circulation today.
"I'm talking billions of those coins out there. They're not rare but they still have value," Lanier said.
Silver is worth about $40 a pure ounce. Lanier said he's seen waitresses and grocery store clerks who have saved their older coins walk away with a check for hundreds of dollars.
"Oh, you've got two handfuls of 90 percent silver coins. Here's a check for $700," Lanier said.
Gold is worth nearly $1,800 for a pure ounce. Lanier said the group purchases gold in every form be it jewelry or dental fillings.
"With the economy, people are trying to cash in on what they can so they can get money to pay bills," Neal said.
Lanier said the association intends to spend at least $250,000 in Gainesville.
"That's a pretty big boost to the local community with what's going on with the economy right now," he said.