Justin Perrault submitted this description of an old Dick Van Dyke Show episode involving coins. Thanks!
I recall in some past issues discussion of television shows and sitcoms that featured coins, and came across one that doesn't seem to have previously been mentioned in The E-Sylum. I was recently watching an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Episode 133 (Season 5, Episode 7, aired in 1965) entitled "The Great Petrie Fortune". This episode can be watched in its entirety by searching for it on YouTube or at the link provided below.
The gist of the episode is that Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) inherits an old roll-top desk from his late great-uncle Hezekiah that contains "wealth" of some sort hinted at in a song and video recorded as part of his last will and testament. While rummaging through every drawer and compartment in this desk for the hidden wealth, Rob finds a genie style lamp, inside which contains a collection of coins. This causes Rob and Laura to speculate they may have come across something valuable, since Laura recently read in the paper about a man who sold a penny for $12,000. So Rob suggests they call the Village Hobby Shop for a numismatist (which word they actually use, and which results in a couple of jokes by the "Human Joke Machine" Morey Amsterdam a.k.a. Buddy Sorrell) to inspect their findings, one of which is Rob explaining that a numismatist is a coin expert, and Buddy says that these are old coins so you better get an "old-mismatist".
The numismatist (Mr. Harlow, played by Forrest Lewis) makes a house call and notes a 1909 quarter is worth $20, and at one point you can actually see him referring to an old copy of the Red Book on camera. He tells the Petries that they have a large number of 1913 Buffalo nickels, and if they find the one with the buffalo on the plain instead of the mound a matching set could be worth $20,000. In the end he determines their collection to only be worth about $400, but speculates that if they hold onto it could be worth anywhere from $7,000 to $8,000, by the turn of the century.
In the end the truly valuable find was actually an old photograph taken by noted Civil War photographer Mathew Brady of the great-uncle as a baby (he was born in 1863 in Gettysburg) featuring the back of a turned away President Lincoln in the background. All in all a very entertaining episode that I highly suggest all collectors watch, since it deals with the nature of meaningful possessions and what becomes of them when passed to your heirs.
To watch the complete episode, see:
It's fun to watch. I'm old enough to remember when the show was broadcast, but didn't recall this episode. I shouldn't feel TOO old, I guess. Dick Van Dyke is still around and doing well at 96, one of the last of the performers from the early days of television.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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