David Hill, 80, owner of David Hill Limited in Barboursville, specializes in
coins and stamps. Hill started collecting things in 1938 when he worked
selling magazines door-to-door. "Everybody else was collecting things," Hill said. "It
was the thing to do then."
Hill opened his shop in the 1970s when he found that he could make money and
friends by peddling his vast collection. He had a great deal of his
collectibles on display at Sunday's coin show. Some of the items, such as
the coin sets and gold doubloons, are worth thousands of dollars.
In a display case next to some paper money from the 1920s was a brand new
$50 bill that, to the untrained eye, looked like nothing special.
But Hill motioned to a tiny star printed right next to the serial number.
That little star means the bill was printed to replace another bill that was
damaged during the printing process.
Such "star notes" are extremely rare, Hill said.
"Mistakes are usually valuable," he said.
Hill, at one time, had acquired a rare 1943 copper one-cent coin, special
only because of a stamping error at the mint.
Thirteen-year-old Theron Linville, a young collector who was helping Hill at
his booth Sunday, knew immediately what the problem had been: one-cent coins
in 1943 were made of steel.
Only nine copper coins were made in 1943, making them scarce and very
The one-cent coin could be worth anywhere from $50,000
to $100,000 today, Hill said.
Collectors of all ages walked from table to table
Sunday, examining the shiny, and not-so-shiny, coins. A father and his son
pored over a coin book they purchased from one of the dealers.
Cecil Starcher of Charleston stood at his booth in the corner of the room
with a friend, Joe Ceravone.
Ceravone, of Charleston, got hooked on coin collecting
after he bought his first coin set in 1986. He said he focuses today more on
modern coins, such as the state quarters released in the past few years.
The West Virginia state quarter, featuring the New River Gorge Bridge, was
released in 2005. The quarter has been cast in many different metals,
Some sets released by the U.S. Mint were cast using 90 percent silver. Other
less valuable sets were cast using silver-plating over nickel or other less
Starcher, who primarily does business over the Internet, displayed many
commemorative coins, from silver West Virginia University coins to silver
Barbie 40th anniversary coins.
The price for such commemorative coins is typically dictated by the coin's
weight in silver or gold and the closing price of the metal.
These prices are included in the weekly Coin Dealer newsletter, which
circulates the going rate for coins nationwide.
The coin-dealing business is much like other businesses, Starcher said.
There are things buyers should be wary of, such as false coins.
To the inexperienced collector, they are often difficult to discern from
"Before you start collecting anything, buy the book," Starcher advised. "If
you don't know what you're getting, don't get it."