The Ottumwa Courier

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March 31, 2008

Floris man finds coin collection in his backyard

Coins found down old clothesline pole

FLORIS — Art Cochell has discovered a coin collector’s paradise in his own backyard.

A couple years ago when he was tearing down part of an old clothesline pole on his property, Cochell noticed some antique coins on the ground that had fallen from the severed pipe.

Cochell has lived at the residence for around five years now. He had heard a rumor that the man who lived in the house prior had put coins down the clothesline pole.

When they cut down part of the iron pole, some of the coins must have fallen on the ground. Cochell said curiosity got the best of him, so he took his flashlight and metal detector and discovered more coins embedded in the ground.

Most of the coins have withstood corrosion and weathering, but with a little washing up, they could be very valuable. Cochell estimates the coins that he has already recovered are valued at $150 or more.

“I will probably put them in a collection,” he said. “I have nine grandkids that I will pass them down to later on.

“This is more than I would have ever dreamed I could find in my lifetime.”

Cochell said as he digs deeper, the older the coins are. He uses a Shop Vac to get the coins out from the pole in the ground, but Cochell said if necessary, he will dig up the entire pole to retrieve more.

So far, the collection consists of several dozen Liberty and Franklin half-dollars, several Mercury and Roosevelt dimes and older pennies and nickels, all silver coins, except the pennies. Most of them date back to 1964 or earlier and they have found coins from the 1930s.

“This is a dream find for metal detectors,” he said.

“We’ve hit the motherload.”

Scott Niles can be reached at (641) 683-5360 or via e-mail at sjniles@mchsi.com.

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