Treasure TroveNick arrived at Harlan J. Berk toting a satchel full of coins. They'd been stored for years in purple-velvet Crown Royal drawstring bags, plastic containers and wilted brown paper lunch bags. The collection also included some large-sized bills -- paper money left over from an earlier era. It was an impressive hoard, but would it be worth anything? Harlan Berk, Nick and I discussed the possibilities, while Berk's right-hand man started sorting the coins with amazing speed and no apparent rhyme or reason.
- Roman Silver Coins : This kind of collection sounds pretty impressive, but not necessarily too expensive for a serious collector. Berk says you can buy a silver Denarius from 200 A.D. for $120 in mint condition.
- Original Buffalo Nickel: These coins were minted between 1913 and 1938. A rare one -- the 1918/1917 overdate -- could be worth $1,000 or more in fine condition. But circulated Buffalo nickels cost from 50 cents to a few hundred dollars, except for great rarities. Berk says the idea is to collect one nickel from every mint ever year -- a project students can have fun doing.
- State Quarters : It's hard to miss the fact that the mints in Philadelphia and Denver are churning out millions and millions of new quarters, with a special coin for each state. So far, 38 state quarters have been issued. Harlan Berk actually created the "quarter board" that accommodates collectors of these coins. It's available free from the mint and coin shops like his. The collection boards have a space for each coin and give the historic background of other U.S. coins -- a real learning experience for kids.