What does a collector need to turn a low-grade cents, valued at less
than $10, into more than $1,000 in December?
A keen eye and a little luck.
Houston Coin Club, U.S. Coins Inc. (Houston), and Universal
Coin & Bullion (Beaumont, Texas) are sponsoring the
“Treasure Hunt for the Lucky Pennies," during which 100 Indian
cents dated between 1883 and 1909 will be subtly entered into
circulation around the Houston area, then hopefully find their way to
Money Show, where a sizable cash prize could await their
The coins are all graded “Good” and below, Carl
Schwenker of the GHCC said, and are valued between $1.50 and $9. (None
are of the notable 1908-S or 1909-S issues.)
only five cents—1914-D Lincoln cents—were entered into circulation.
None of them were brought in.
“If we don’t have a winner
or winners this year it won’t be our fault,” Houston Money Show
chairman Gail Brichford said.
Here’s how the promotion
will work, in five quick steps:
1.) 100 Indian cents
Every one of the 100 coins (all of which were odnated by
U.S. Coins, Inc.) will have a different number between 1 and 100
engraved onto its obverse, before they are “dropped” all over the
Houston metropolitan area via purchases made at unknowing merchants by
those running the treasure hunt. The drops will take place on Sunday,
Nov. 30, and Monday, Dec. 1, in the area bordered by the towns of
Conroe to the north, Galveston to the south, Katy to the west, and
Willisville on the east.
"To make it easier to find the 100 'Lucky Pennies,' the show
will provide the media with a list of 47 of the locations
(city/town/mall) where the coins will be dropped," Schwenker said
in an email.
2.) 100 Indian cents circulate
The coins will make their rounds until, the sponsors
hope, those with a numismatic eye spot and hold onto them before 5
p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6, the last day of the Houston Money
3.) Coin-finders bring the Indian cents to the
Houston Money Show
At the show, which will be held at the George R. Brown
Convention Center, those with one of the numbered pennies will be
given a $25 gift certificate to any booth at the show. The first five
coin-finders to bring their coin to the show will receive an
"early-returner bonus" of $200, as well. After five have
been brought in, the returner bonus will go down to $100.
4.) Coin-finders get a chance to win $1,000 more
For each of the first five coins brought in, a
random-number generator on a computer at the show will pick one number
between 1 and 100. The first time the number generated matches the
number on one of those first five coins, if it does at all, the person
who brought it in will win $1,000.
"If the first
participant doesn’t hit the number on his/her coin on the first
chance, there is a second chance, this time for $250, and then a third
chance for $100,” a release from the Greater Houston Coin Club reads.
"The next four callers/returners will go through the same
sequence of chances until the $1,000, $250 and $100 bonuses are
claimed or we run out of individuals who find the lucky
5.) Anything else?
"This promotion is designed to promote public awareness of and
attendance at the Houston Money Show and is sponsored jointly by
Universal Coin & Bullion, Inc. and U.S. Coins, Inc.,” the Greater
Houston Coin Club release reads. "They have our sincere
Those seeking more information about the
treasure hunt should call 832-909-5497.
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