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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 18, April 30, 2006, Article 6

BARRY JABLON'S CHURCH CORNERSTONE BUY

Continuing with his reminiscences of life in the coin business,
Barry Jablon writes: "I was asked to run the newly opened Hutzler's
coin department for the Friedbergs in 1960. I stayed in Baltimore
until 1961. After I had been in Baltimore for a few months, two
women showed up at the department early one Saturday morning. They
were from Cambridge, Maryland and had seen the ad in the paper
advertising our new department and the fact that we would buy coins.

They told me that they belonged to a church in Cambridge and,
when the church was being razed to build a new one, a box of
coins was found in the old cornerstone. The tin box contained
about twenty old copper coins. Most of them were early 1800's
and were in excellent condition. However, there in front of me
was a beautiful 1793 Liberty Cap cent. It was a dark chocolate
brown color, hardly any wear, no nicks or bruises. I purchased
the coins for $200.00 and called New York immediately.

As department manager, aside from my salary, I received 2%
commission on total sales. I wanted permission to keep the coin
in Baltimore and try to sell it. The first potential buyer was
Louis Eliasberg. I knew he had a complete collection, however,
I thought this coin was so special, maybe he would want another
one. So, I wrote Mr. Eliasberg a letter describing the coin.
Four days later, I got a call from New York. Send the coin back
to New York! Mr. Eliasberg did want the coin. However, he was
going to trade Jack Friedberg for some duplicate coins he had.
I wound up with no coin to sell and no commission.

Looking at coin prices today, I would see this coin being at
least $100,000. Oh well, like the 1895 dollar and the 1913
nickel, it was nice to be able to hold such rare coins. Most
people never get the chance. Oh, by the way, when the coin did
get back to New York, Jack showed it to Walter Breen, and Breen
thought it was truly beautiful."

On a related note, George Fuld writes: "Regarding the Gimbel's
coin shops, they had one in Boston and I bought a proof New York
Theater penny from them for $90 in 1958 or so -- I sold it for
a small  profit to Dick Picker."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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