David Anderson has two passions: coins and fossils.
It’s obvious the moment you step into his GoldMine Coins & Relics shop in Gig Harbor’s Olympic Square. His desk is literally covered with coins and loupes (the magnifying glasses used by jewelers and others for looking closely at details.)
And there are boxes filled with rocks, fossils, coins and gemstones piled everywhere.
“I’ve had an interest in coins and fossils since I was 5 years old,” the 45-year old Wauna resident said.
“My dad collected coins a little bit and my great-grandma had a huge steamer trunk full of coins that I liked to look through when I was a kid.”
At the ripe young age of 12, Anderson got his first job: identifying ancient Roman coins on the internet for people.
“I’d identify which emperor was on the coin and what year it was made and any other information I could find,” he said. “I charged $3 a coin.”
Anderson also has had a life-long interest in fossils and dreamed of being a paleontologist. “But I figured that wouldn’t support my family when I had one and I’d always be on the road. So now I just do paleontology as a hobby,” he said.
He has “a little bit of everything” in his shop.
“I have fossils, jewelry and several kinds of bullion –– gold silver platinum and palladium,” he said. “And coins –– Morgan dollars, Mercury dimes, buffalo nickels, ancient Roman coins, ancient Greek coins –– all kinds.”
The same goes for fossils and ancient relics. He has fossils from just about every era including megalodon shark teeth and a Roman spearhead from around 200 AD.
“I think my oldest fossil is about 300 million years old. I go to Rochester and collect fossil crabs from the Lincoln Creek formation. I drill them out of the rocks and then trade other people for fossils that they’ve found in other places,” he said
He also does jewelry repair and cleaning and polishing. “We kind of have our hands in everything.”
He loves the history of fossils and coins.
“If I have a coin in my hand that’s 2,000 years old, who knows where it’s been or who might have held it. If it’s a Roman coin, it could have been used in the Coliseum as gambling money,” he said with a laugh.
Several remarkable objects have come through his shop. One day a customer came to the shop with a 1795 $5 gold piece that ended up being worth about $5,000.
“That was the very first gold coin minted in the U.S.,” Anderson said. “The fellow’s dad had cleaned the coin and if he hadn’t cleaned it it would have been worth about $60,000.”
At one time, his shop was “totally filled up with one gentleman’s coin collection. He’d been collecting for about 60-70 years. He had everything from proof sets to full sets of pennies, full sets of dimes. It was amazing,”Anderson said.
Anderson enjoys introducing new enthusiasts to coin and fossil collecting –– like the 12-year-old boy who “comes in here three or four times a week buying everything he can. It’s not as common as it used to be, but the interest in old coins is definitely still there,” he said.
He also gives free appraisals. “If anyone’s interested in learning what their coin collection is worth, if they’re looking to sell it or if they have any fossils or rocks laying around that they have no idea what they are or what they’re worth, I can identify the things for them.“I’ve seen amazing coins from the early 1800s in pristine condition that people have had in their families for a hundred years.” “There are coins worth hundreds of thousands of dollars that are just sitting in somebody’s coin collection somewhere,” he said. GoldMine Coins & Relics is located at 5287 Olympic Drive NW, Suite B in Gig Harbor. For information visit goldminecoinsandrelics.com or phone (253) 851-GOLD.[/box]
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