FR | EN | 

Discover all the news and articles from TNUMIS Magazine exclusively

The Redfield Collection

Lavere Redfield was an eccentric, savvy investor in stocks and real estate. He made his fortune through shrewd investments. When he died, a massive treasure trove of silver dollars was discovered in his Nevada home. The Redfield collection is indeed one of the largest treasures of Morgan dollars found in the United States and is now the delight of many numismatists.

Numismatist Lavere Redfield

The collection of a lifetime

Lavere Redfield was an American businessman, landowner, numismatist, roulette player and philanthropist. He was born into poverty in October 1897 in Utah and moved to Idaho shortly after World War I, where he worked as a potato farmer and store manager. Ten years later, at the beginning of the Great Depression, he moved to Los Angeles.

Upon his arrival in California, he decided to invest his savings and began buying unwanted stocks at a low price. He apparently had a knack for picking the right investments and eventually made a fortune.

In 1935, he bought a farmland and a large stone house in Reno. With his wife Nell, they were part of the wave of millionaires courted by the state of Nevada, which claimed no taxes.

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Redfield would procure bags of silver dollars and store them in the basement of his home. He would go to the bank to buy $1,000 bags and bring them back in his car himself.

Redfield’s treasure: a hidden fortune

Hating banks and paper money, as well as the government, Redfield chose to keep his treasure in his own home. In 1960, he was convicted of tax fraud by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. federal government agency that collects income and other taxes. He preferred to serve an 18-month sentence in federal prison rather than pay his debts. Upon his release, he returned to Reno and continued to accumulate silver dollars.

In order to remain inconspicuous, he walked around town poorly dressed. Redfield would sometimes walk from his Forest Street mansion to downtown Reno, while he owned numerous vehicles. It was never clear whether he didn’t want to spend his money or whether he preferred to keep a low profile. He reportedly begged Rollan Melton, the publisher of the local newspaper, the Reno Evening Gazette, not to publish his picture, so that people would not know what he looked like.

However, rumors spread quickly. There were many attempts to rob him and to break into his house. No one ever got their hands on his treasure of millions of dollars, hidden in the false walls of his house.

The Redfield Collection

Morgan and Peace dollars

When he died in 1974, his estate was estimated to be worth more than $70 million.

The executors found hundreds of bags of silver coins. They account for 680 bags of coins hidden in his home. A total of $407,000 Morgan and Peace dollars made up Redfield’s collection. For many years, rumors spread that the 400,000 silver dollars found in his Redfield mansion were only part of his treasure, with the rest buried elsewhere.

The Redfield collection contained Morgan “S” style silver dollars made at the United States Mint in San Francisco. There were also “CC” dollars minted at Carson City and bags of Peace-style silver dollars. Most of the bags contained uncirculated coins in perfect condition. Approximately 15% of the Redfield collection was previously circulated.

Paramount Certified Dollars

In late January 1976, the entire lot was sold to the highest bidder. The winning bid of $7.3 million was from Steve Markoff of A-Mark Corporation, narrowly eclipsing the underbidders, Bowers and Ruddy Galleries.

Markoff chose Paramount International Coin Corp. as the primary distributor of the treasure coins. This U.S. company flourished in the 1970s, before the grading services we know today (PCGS or NGC) even existed.

Paramount stored the coins in plastic holders on red or black backgrounds and graded them in two grades: Mint State 65 and MS-60.

redfield collection ms 65 paramount

Several grading services have since encapsulated and certified Redfield dollars, removing the holders from Paramount and listing the provenance on their own corporate labels. Now, the cases have become a coveted part of the Redield collection. Numismatic Guaranty Corp. now adds a label indicating the origin of the coin in addition to the Paramount case.

Sources :
Sarasota Numismatics
Coin week
Lynn coins

Last published articles

The Latin Union: a part of European numismatic history

In the fascinating world of numismatics, the Latin Union reveals itself as a multi-faceted monetary epic. This alliance of nations, created at the end of the 19th century, left its…

World Money Fair 2024

World Money Fair Berlin

Explorez le Monde de la Numismatique au World Money Fair de Berlin Chaque année, le World Money Fair de Berlin attire des passionnés de numismatique du monde entier pour célébrer…

Antique Coins: A Fascinating Journey through Numismatic History


Antique coins represent a fascinating chapter in numismatic history. They are the oldest coins in the world, bearing witness to great civilizations. In this article, we delve into the captivating…

Discover all articles