Steven Suralie received an 1801 silver dollar from his granddad when he was 12, sparking a lifelong passion for coin collecting.
Suralie, 60, is a retired first sergeant, formerly with the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. His collection really took off when he worked part-time at a Pittsburgh gas station at age 17.
“It was common sense,” he said, to keep the coins for their value. But over the years, his interest in coins grew, as well as the sentimental value he placed on each item. “It’s like owning a piece of history.”
He spent more than an hour Tuesday morning assessing a small sampling of his coin collection with buyer Angie Wright of the National Coin Collectors Association.
Wright, along with co-buyer Argen Dodd, is in Killeen this week to purchase items, including coins that are at least 49 years old, gold and silver, flatware and jewelry.
However, they will evaluate any items brought in.
“Gold and silver is where it’s at,” Dodd said.
There is no cap on the amount they’ll pay, all in cash. The buyers keep some items to resell themselves, while also looking for specific pieces for a bevy of collectors.
Suralie and Wright bartered back and forth over a price for his gold 1890 Carson City double eagle coin. He believed the coin to be worth as much as $3,500, while Wright countered with an offer of $1,650.
She stayed in contact via cellphone with several collectors interested in the coin, which came from the Carson City, Nev., mint, which became a museum after closing in the late 1800s.
Eventually Suralie decided to sell, accepting a $2,000 offer for his double eagle.
“I’m going to miss you,” he said, referring to the coin that was one of his favorite pieces.
The National Coin Collectors Association will be assessing and purchasing items at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. There is no fee to have items viewed and no obligation to sell.