Rare coins worth billions, collectors converge at Convention Center

Giddy collectors share chronicles of currency at World's Fair of Money

Mike DeNardo
August 13, 2018 - 8:05 pm
Silvano DiGenova

Mike DeNardo | KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Coin collectors — and those curious about cash — converge at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Tuesday for the start of what's known as the World's Fair of Money.  

About $1 billion worth of rare coins and currency are on display during the event, according to Donn Pearlman, a former board member of the American Numismatic Association.

Roughly 500 dealers and collectors have set up tables at the Convention Center, each one with a desk lamp to appraise and examine rare coins.  

Pearlman said the annual meeting of the American Numismatic Association gives people a chance to appreciate money for its "beauty and the romance" rather than simply commerce.

"Money is history you can hold in your hands," he said. "Every coin, every piece of paper money ever made has a story to tell. You just have to listen for it."

Collector and dealer Brian Hendelson of Bridgewater, New Jersey, is happy to tell the story of his 1792 silver disme, once owned by David Rittenhouse.

"To have been owned by our first mint director — to me, I really believe this probably is one of the first official coins struck in the United States," he said.

Brian Hendelson
Mike DeNardo | KYW Newsradio

The coin, worth 5 cents when first struck, is now insured for $2.5 million.

"Every time I hold this coin in my hands, I get a tingle through the body. It's just really neat," he said in awe.

Among the other rarities on display: a coin presented by one-time Philly newspaper delivery boy Silvano DiGenova, now a top coin dealer.

"It's America's first silver dollar, 1794. And we recently sold it," he said. "It's actually the third time in 30 years that I've purchased and resold it."

The last time, it went for well over $2 million.

The show is open to the public and runs through Saturday.