Coin carvers unite to raise funds to offset medical bills for ill artist

Project results in 5-ounce silver jigsaw puzzle
By , Coin World
Published : 03/04/16
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Twenty-one hobo-nickel-style coin carvers from around the world united recently to individually carve 25 irregular pieces cut from an America the Beautiful 5-ounce silver bullion quarter dollar to auction as a unified jigsaw puzzle to raise money to help support the family of a fellow carver battling Lyme disease.

The 25-piece carved bullion puzzle, the result of a nine-month project initiated by one of the 21 carvers, Don Berry, is being offered on eBay with a March 13 closing date. The 10-day auction listing went live the evening of March 3. As of 8 a.m. Eastern Time March 4, bidding was at $1,358.33, with 23 bids placed.

Berry is president of the Verdugo Hills Coin Club and treasurer of the Glendale Coin Club, both in California, and a board member of the Numismatic Association of Southern California.

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Berry said he believes the participating carvers did an “amazing’” job with their designs and keeping the project secret for nine months.

“We all have friends in this hobby, and we all share what we know and try to be there for each other when we can,” Berry said in a Facebook post at the Original Hobo Nickel Society group. “Personally I say if I can, I will. When my daughter was born last May, I said I can so I will. I purchased the 5-ounce silver coin, sent it off to be cut into a puzzle, and recruited 21 carvers to carve what ever they wanted. I had no idea how this would turn out, and heck I could only pray that all the pieces would make it around the country and world and home safely.

“And as you all saw, they made it back, one piece at a time.”

The cause

In order to raise funds for medical expenses for ailing carver Andy Gonzales and his family, Berry came up with the idea of having a 2011 Gettysburg National Military Park 3-inch .999 fine silver bullion coin cut into 25 separate puzzle pieces for carving by fellow coin carvers worldwide.

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