Alan V. Weinberg forwarded this article from an investing website about Walter Husak and the recent sale of his U.S. Large Cent collection. -EditorAt one time or another, we have all dreamed of turning pocket change into millions. A California man actually made it happen last February, though, when he sold a collection of 301 pennies for $10.7 million. Of course, they were not just any pennies. The set contained virtually every variety and subvariety of U.S. cent minted in the classic period between 1793 and 1814. Van Nuys resident Walter J. Husak had been assembling his early coppers for 28 years and estimated that they cost him a little over $5 million. That is a lot for a coin collection, but it ultimately netted him a profit of close to $200,000 per year and that is a return anyone can appreciate.
As with any investment-minded collector, Husak was doubtless torn between the desire to put together a complete collection of early cents and the hope that they would increase in value. He chose the path that usually finds the best equilibrium between aesthetic satisfaction and monetary gain by going high end. He acquired attractive specimens in the most advanced grades possible, very often locating the finest known examples of given varieties.
Husak began collecting coins at the age of twelve, showing early acumen when he bought six Indian head pennies for $12 and then immediately sold the single valuable piece for $15. He disposed of his early collection to buy a car and make a down payment on a house, but re-entered the hobby in 1980 with the purchase of an 1804 large cent.
The need to pay off some real estate debt finally led to Husak's decision to sell and he admitted that he was "scared to death" of losing money on the collection. He need not have been. The Heritage sale represented a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bid on many of the coins, and quite a few realized multiples of previous records.
Way to go, Walter! Investment-oriented collectors salute you.
To read the complete article, see: Money winners of 2008: Walter Husak cashes in on rare pennies (http://www.bloggingstocks.com/2008/12/14/money-
Wayne Homren, Editor
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