The articles on the tungsten-filled bars made me think of this story from Harvey Stack's latest blog on crooks during the rolled coin craze of the 1950s.
The hoarding of Uncirculated rolls became a new obsession in the marketplace. Many thought that holding quantities would eventually yield big profits. Promoters and scam artists touted the value of holding rolls, using arguments that were as foolish as their recommendations. Their goal was to create pyramid schemes to loot the buyers.
I remember at a trade show when an “investor-collector” walked by my display bourse table and looked it over. He asked: “Mr. Stack, where are your rolls?” I said, “We do not deal with rolls,” to which he responded, “Don’t you know what is rare?” He then tried to explain the logic that led him to that reply. He explained: “Take the 1950-D nickel. Only 2.6 million were struck! That means that there are only 65,000 rolls, and that means there are only 650 bags, and “you know Mr. Stack, that anything that there are only 650 of is RARE!” I was shocked! I stopped our conversation there rather than pursue that foolish logic!
One of the great scams that occurred in the roll investment era was the sale of “sealed rolls” in “original bank wraps.” One could look at the ends of a roll and often determine the date and the mintmark. But the scam artist preached: “If you open it or break the seal, the value of the roll will drop immediately.”
What had occurred was one of the greatest frauds perpetrated on the coin collecting public. Advertised “sealed rolls” didn’t always mean an original mint sealed roll. The machinery to repackage coins in a bank type roll and seal it was readily available and as long as they remained sealed, no one could tell what was in the roll. We found, as many others did, that rarer coins would be placed at the ends of the roll, but the center would be stuffed with commoner dates, worth only face value. Sometimes the scam artists went one step further in their greed and replaced the center coins with “slugs” or “washers” and resealed the rolls with their own machines.
To read the complete article, see:
Remember When: Rolls Of U.S. Coins, A Phenomenon In The 1950s
Wayne Homren, Editor
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