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Heritage Auctions

This Dime Minted Onto a Nail Is Expected to Fetch $10,000 at Auction

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Heritage Auctions

The most unusual item for sale at next month’s U.S. coins Heritage auction isn’t really a coin at all. It’s technically a zinc nail whose center has been imprinted with the head and tail sides of a Roosevelt dime.

Mint errors that slip into circulation, like coins struck with the wrong dates or onto the wrong materials, are often hot ticket items at coin auctions. Thousands of rare coins will be hitting the auction block at the Heritage auction in Tampa, Fla. next month, but it’s this nail dime that’s been stirring up buzz. The item is expected to ultimately sell for around $10,000, and early online bids have already reached $7500

While this type of mistake is rare, it’s not unprecedented—in the late 1970s, a handful of U.S. pennies were struck onto nails. It’s also possible that this particular misprint wasn’t a mistake at all and was created deliberately by a rebellious employee. The nail dime is undated, so little can be said about the item’s history.

No matter how it originated, the dime is still expected to go for a pretty penny once it hits the auction on January 6. And as for whether or not the coin can be used as valid currency, the U.S. Mint told AP they had no comment.  

Heritage Auctions

[h/t AP]

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Switzerland Flushes $1.8 Million in Gold Down the Sewer Every Year
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Switzerland has some pretty valuable sewer systems. As Bloomberg reports, scientists have discovered around $1.8 million worth of gold in the country's wastewater, along with $1.7 million worth of silver.

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology examined sewage sludge and effluents, or discharged liquid waste, from 64 water treatment plants and major Swiss rivers. They did this to assess the concentrations of various trace elements, which are "increasingly widely used in the high-tech and medical sectors," the scientists explained in a press statement. "While the ultimate fate of the various elements has been little studied to date, a large proportion is known to enter wastewater."

The study, which was recently published online in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, revealed that around 94 pounds of gold makes its way through Switzerland's sewage system each year, along with 6600 pounds of silver and high concentrations of rare metals like gadolinium and niobium. For the most part, these metals don't harm the environment, researchers say.

With gold and silver quite literally flowing through their sewers, is there any way that Switzerland could turn their wastewater into wealth? Scientists are skeptical: "The recovery of metals from wastewater or sludge is scarcely worthwhile at present, either financially or in terms of the amounts which could be extracted," the release explains.

However, in the southern canton of Ticino, which is home to several gold refineries, the "concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile," they conclude.

Switzerland is famous for its chocolate, watches, and mountains, but it's also home to major gold refineries. On average, around 70 percent of the world's gold passes through Switzerland every year—and judging from the looks of it, much of it goes down the drain. As for the sewer silver, it's a byproduct of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, which is a cornerstone of Switzerland's economy.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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14 Things You Owned in the '70s That are Worth a Fortune Now
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DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

From old toys and housewares to books and records, these pieces of '70s memorabilia have aged (and increased in value) like fine wine.

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