SOUTHGATE SNIPPETS - The Longevity of a Legacy

Somer sends a farewell to Southgate Coins and tells the story about the 1873-CC Without Arrows Dime.

The Longevity of a Legacy

By Somer Athari

The day was Friday July 9th, 2004.

The air was full of anticipation in the back room of Southgate Coins. I glanced through the crack in the door to Rusty's office to see his leg shaking ever so slightly. As he spoke on the phone, his face seemed composed and prepared for what was ahead. It was almost time for the "big lot." Being the pessimist of the group, I continued my work on the computer with the daily chores, preparing for a let down. Sharleen and Marie both kept jumping out of their seats to see if the main lot was up yet, but Rusty's arm was not raised, giving us the sign to get the camera.

Finally, his arm raised and the historic auction lot had begun. Sharleen, Marie, and myself stood as if little children sneaking out, at the edge of our door to see if the parents were asleep. Marie clenched the camera, waiting for Rusty to give her the heads up. Sharleen kept turning to look back at Marie and myself to see if we were as excited as she. After about a minute that seemed like at least ten, something halted at the auction and Rusty looked at us as he spoke to the girl on the phone, acting as his agent at the Bowers and Merena auction. "Why hasn't it closed yet? Did another phone caller get disconnected?" The cloud of anticipation was so thick that I wondered if we might have to evacuate the building in fear of lung hazards. But after a grueling minute or so, the auction continued and Rusty started to yell, "close it, close it...close it!" (Meaning, to end the bidding)

"I won it for $775,000!" (The price actually came to $891,250 with the 15% buyer's fee) He raised his hand, Marie took the picture, and relief rushed over Rusty's face, as I stood there absolutely dumbfounded. Did he really just buy the coin he has been talking about since I have known him? Does this mean I can take a picture with it someday? Why didn't it go for over a million dollars like he predicted?

As some of you may already know, Southgate Coins is now the home of the Unique 1873-CC Without Arrows dime. For all of you who don't know, SURPRISE! We have paid a record price of $891,250 for a U.S. dime. I know how hard it is to imagine that one coin, one little dime, is worth almost a million dollars. Of course in most cases like this, I would say that anyone who bought a ten-cent piece for $891,250 is a complete basket case. Although in this situation, there is only one ten-cent piece like this in existence, so for now I will push that type of thinking aside, but something still boggles me... Why is it that a one of a kind coin didn't sell for nearly as much as the celebrated and infamous 1933 double eagle that sold for $7.6 million, which at one time there were 12 known to exist? Surprisingly, this dime didn't sell for far over the auction price $891,250 as expected. To me, in the grand scheme of things, the price that Rusty paid for the dime was a STEAL. People are beginning to understand the rarity of "CC" stamped coins more than ever, so I am assuming the higher echelon of coin collectors out there must not have known that this dime was up for auction and/or they didn’t know the unique-ness (yes that's a word) of the 1873-CC Without Arrows dime.

So, as I wave farewell to the seven months I dutifully served as an employee at the coin shop, I think that I am much like the 1873-CC Without Arrows dime. I spent a short while at Southgate Coins, and will be off to another adventure, another collection of memories, and you never know I might be back soon in the hands of another. I have really learned a larger lesson here at Southgate Coins. Rare coins touch so many people's lives that someday I hope to touch everyone I cross paths with as well. If you think about it, coins serve the purpose obviously as money, but they do so much more. They give people the option to buy whatever they choose. To the homeless, a few coins could mean a warm meal or a place to stay. Here in Nevada, coins provide the possibility to win a million dollars in one of the slot machines. To collectors, coins serve as a certain well being and way of life, just like any other hobby that one might venture in. Collectors strive for the ultimate coin to complete their collection. It's like in the book, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, "When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it." (Page 62, Coelho) It's like fulfilling your own personal legacy.

You see, coins change lives. On a severely smaller scale, I know that when I ring a customer up on the cash register and they provide exact change, it makes me smile, which ultimately makes my day a little brighter. So, I guess in closing, with all of these articles I have written in these past months, I hope the readers learn something about the power of coins and what I have learned experiencing coins as a part of my everyday life. This 'meager' 1873-CC Without Arrows dime has changed all of us at Southgate Coins and wherever the coin may end up, I am sure it will have the same effect. So check out the change in your pocket, on your nightstand, the penny on the street (facing heads up), and think just for a moment about the possibilities of where that coin may end up and the adventures it will encounter. Don't we all wish that we could be just as audacious?