Have you ever stumbled upon a hidden treasure? For one California family, their recent discovery in a historic Los Angeles home was nothing short of extraordinary. John Reyes, a realtor from the Inland Empire, and his wife, Elizabeth, were cleaning out her father’s former home in the Pico-Union neighborhood when they unearthed something truly remarkable – over 1 million copper pennies. This unexpected find has left the family pondering what to do with this massive collection of coins, each with its own story to tell.
Uncovering the Hidden Fortune
The Reyes family had been diligently cleaning out the old home, which was filled to the brim with items accumulated over the years. Their attention to detail led them on an unexpected journey when they stumbled upon a crawlspace in the basement. Intrigued, they ventured into the tight space, discovering loose pennies, disintegrated paper rolls, and crates filled with bank bags. The excitement grew as they realized they had stumbled upon an undetermined amount of pennies from decades ago.
The Legacy of the Home
To fully understand the significance of this discovery, it’s important to delve into the history of the home itself. Built in the early 1900s, the house had once served as a bed and breakfast. John’s father-in-law, Fritz, and his brother, both German immigrants, had resided in the home for many years. Fritz, a well-known butcher who worked in Hollywood, had a keen eye for investments. Recognizing the value of copper pennies, he would purchase them with his paychecks, foreseeing their future worth.
— Rod Ryan Show (@rodryanshow) June 12, 2023
The Weight of a Million Pennies
As the Reyes family began to realize the magnitude of their find, they faced a new challenge – transporting over 1 million pennies. Each bag weighed several pounds, and they needed to bring them from the crawlspace into the light. They meticulously weighed the bags and estimated the total number of pennies to be at least 1 million. With this realization, they pondered the question that still lingers – what do you do with a million pennies?
Exploring the Options
The immediate thought was to cash out the coins using Coinstar, a popular coin-counting machine. However, the prospect of paying an 8% fee and the logistics of transporting all the pennies to Ontario, California, made the family rethink their strategy. They reached out to various banks in Los Angeles, hoping to find a solution. Unfortunately, most banks were unable to accommodate such a large quantity of coins, citing limited vault space.
The Journey to Ontario
Undeterred by the roadblocks, the Reyes family decided to take matters into their own hands. They loaded the pennies onto two trucks, including a sturdy Dodge Heavy Duty, and embarked on a slow journey to Ontario. The weight of the copper pennies exerted pressure on the trucks’ suspensions, making the trip an arduous one. Finally, they arrived in Ontario, ready to explore their options for the future of these coins.
Seeking a Fair Value
With the pennies now in Ontario, the Reyes family faced the next challenge – finding a suitable buyer. They initially listed the coins on OfferUp, a popular resale app and website, asking for $25,000. If their estimate of 1 million pennies was accurate, this would amount to more than double the face value of the coins. They received offers from individuals interested in specific quantities, but no one was willing to take the entire collection off their hands.
The Search for Rarity
In their quest for a fair value, the Reyes family considered the possibility of rare coins within their collection. They understood that a single rare coin could significantly impact the overall value. Motivated by stories of people finding pennies worth millions of dollars, they meticulously searched through the bags, hoping for a stroke of luck. However, after investing years into cleaning out the home and months dealing with the pennies, they were ready for someone else to continue the journey.
Embracing the Legacy
Despite the challenges they faced, the Reyes family remains determined to honor the legacy of Fritz and his brother. They recognize the uniqueness and historical value of the collection, and taking less than their full value would go against their father-in-law’s strong-willed spirit. Fritz, a “war baby” who understood the importance of metals and materials, had strategically invested in copper pennies to build generational wealth for his family. The Reyes family is now open to offers from individuals who appreciate the significance of this collection.