I Do Loves a Mystery

On skid row in downtown LA, bums have been coming up to people and offering old coins for a just few dollars of currency.

They include silver dollars dated 1796 and 1799, as well as others dated from the Civil War era and early 20th century.

For $20 each, the men were offering 24 silver dollars from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries — some bearing dates that would make them nearly as old as Los Angeles itself.

Where could they be from? Since some coins were still in protective sleeves, they are most probably from a robbery where the loot was either dropped by the perps, or a bum/wino came across the stash.

The big question: Are they real?

Other experts said they have seen counterfeit versions of the rarest silver dollar — the one produced in 1794. An authentic dollar coin from that year can go for $100,000 or more, so experts say it would be remarkable if a genuine coin made its way to skid row.



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