After discovering a treasure of 800,000 pennies in the basement of an ancient family home, a couple set out to find a million-dollar coin, but gave up after an hour and offered the entire collection for $25,000, according to news agencies. According to KTLA, the needle-in-a-haystack search began when John Reyes and his wife were clearing out her old family house in Los Angeles.
They discovered an extraordinary bounty that belonged to Reyes’ father-in-law before his death in a basement crawl space: a stockpile of over 800,000 copper pennies. The United States lowered the copper content of its pennies in the 1980s, prompting Reyes’ father-in-law to retain the older coins in the hope that their worth would increase, according to The Washington Post.
According to KTLA, the stash was so large that it took the couple an entire day to retrieve it from the basement. Reyes told The Washington Post that relocating the haul converted their pickup trucks into lowriders. After discovering the pennies, Reyes visited his local Wells Fargo Bank branch to ask if they would accept them, but the manager indicated there wasn’t enough capacity in the vault.
When she heard the amount of the trove, she suggested they go through the coins to see if there was a treasure hidden among them that collectors would pay top money for.”You probably have a million-dollar penny in there,” she said, according to The Washington Post. Indeed, some mint-condition 1971 Lincoln pennies can fetch up to $1,000, while far older rare pennies have fetched up to $1.7 million.
Reyes set out to uncover such a treasure after doing some basic investigation, according to The Washington Post. According to the publication, the family gave up after an hour of searching through nearly 300 coins. “We had no idea what we were looking for,” stated Reyes. According to KTLA, they’re now hoping for a $25,000 sale of the entire lot, which is still nearly three times the face value of the coins. Reyes stated that he is in talks with “a really serious buyer,” who would then have the tempting prospect of discovering a treasure or two amid the 800,000 coins.