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The Man Who "Loved Silver Dollars"
An interesting fellow
Who was Lavere Redfield? Some say he was an eccentric investor. Others say he was a shrewd stock and real estate investor. Still others said he was an average guy who had a distrust of big government and bought a lot of silver dollars, an awful lot of silver dollars! Perhaps all of them are right.
Lavere Redfield was born at the turn of the century. He died in 1974 leaving behind an estate worth over 100 million dollars and one of the largest silver dollar hoards ever discovered, now called the “Redfield Hoard”.
In his senior years he drove around in an old dilapidated pickup truck. If you had seen him then, you might have thought he was still digging potatoes.
They called him the “junkman”
By scrimping and saving he was able to save a little. He began making investments, over time bringing him great wealth. During the depression he moved to California. There he began buying stocks that no one else wanted. Stock brokers used to love to see him coming because they would unload blocks of supposedly worthless stocks on him. Stocks that no one else wanted “at any price”. He earned the nick name "the junk man” from the local stock brokers. Seems Redfield’s shrewdness and timing paid off as some of them eventually became very valuable.
(“Buy when no one else wants it and the price will be low.”)
They also say he gradually began acquiring other assets and real estate at tax foreclosure sales.
Silver Dollars - Where did they come from?
What’s in the Basement – the Secret Stash
He also began storing the bags in his basement. They say he would come home with a load of silver dollar bags and drop them down an old coal chute. Sliding down into the basement they’d go, where they remained safely hidden behind a concrete wall until his death. Most of the bags were mint condition un-circulated coins. However, some were heavily marked from banging against each other as they were hauled in his pickup, or from handled at the mint or banks.
The Redfield Hoard (LaVere Redfield Collection)
How many silver dollars were there?
So, how many were there? At the time of his death over four hundred 1,000 coin bags, or 400,000 silver dollars, were found in his home. Yep, that’s four hundred thousand! (He must have had a very large basement!)
The bank vault wouldn’t hold them all.
Some say Redfield didn’t trust banks and his distrust lead him to store the silver dollars in his home. However, when you think about the space these silver dollars would have taken and the massive weight all it of, where else could he put them? He would have needed the equivalent of several personal bank vaults to store it all! His stash of over 400,000 silver dollars would weigh 22 thousand pounds!
U.S. Government minted Silver Dollar coins
Lavere Redfield's cache of Morgan and Peace type silver dollars became known as the “Redfield Hoard”. It was the largest silver dollar hoard discovered in decades. After his death, in 1976, his silver dollar hoard (collection) was sold at auction. The price paid by the winning dealer was a record breaking 7.3 million dollars. Prior to the auction, companies that were to bid on the collection were unable to look through all of the coins due to the massive number of them. They just didn’t have enough time or people to look at everything. (Some accounts say that after the sale, when the coins were individually evaluated, the real value of the holdings was discovered to be three times what was paid.)
The Redfield silver dollars were sold
Once the estate was settled and the silver dollars were auctioned to the highest bidder, the coins were catalogued and sold throughout the world. A good number of the bags he had saved were "S" mint Morgan style silver dollars produced at the San Francisco United States Mint. He also had some “CC” Carson City United States Mint dollars and even had some bags of the Peace style silver dollars. Most coins graded various degrees of mint un-circulated condition, although about 15% were said to be circulated. To sell them, some coins were packaged in special holders with labels indicating they came from the Redfield hoard. Others were put in tubes or individual holders. Then they were sold by the roll or by the lot to various investors or dealers.
So, where are they now?
Where are the Redfield silver dollars now? Although dispersed a quarter of a century ago, they might be anywhere today. Occasionally, you will find a dollar in one of the special holders with Redfield’s name on it. However, over time most have been placed in individual holders or tubes that offer more protection during storage. (Unless they are in a special holder of some type, you can’t tell them apart from other old US silver dollars.)
Imagine, today when you purchase a silver dollar, you might actually hold in your hand one of original silver dollars once owned by LaVere Redfield.
Share the passion for silver dollars
If you like silver dollars, in some ways you share the passion for them that LaVere Redfield had. The next time you admire a silver dollar, perhaps you will think about the Redfield Hoard and remember LaVere Redfield, “the man who loved silver dollars”.
Buying Silver dollars today:
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Disclaimer: Information in this article was obtained from many different written sources. Because of this, there is no guarantee that every fact in this article is absolutely accurate. We welcome additional facts on this subject. This article is not a recommendation to sell or buy.
Some images are copyright © 2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Copyright 2003 by J. Lynn – P.O. Box 56, Gibson, TN 38338
One copy of this article may be printed and used for personal use only, provided that this copyright statement and links to www.lynncoins.com remain intact. All other rights reserved. For more information on coins visit http://lynncoins.com
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Information in this article was obtained from many different written sources. Because of this, there is no guarantee that every fact in this article is absolutely accurate. We welcome additional facts on this subject.
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