Stolen Rare Coins Up For Auction

CHICAGO (CBS) — A special auction is going on at a coin shop in Gurnee for the next 11 days. Up for auction is a few hundred thousand dollars in stolen coins and jewelry whose real owners are a mystery.

Officials say the coins and jewelry were taken by 58-year old serial burglar Michael Paulson and accomplices more than three years ago and stemmed from Gurnee to Tinley Park. Paulson was sentenced to 20-years in prison. His wife, Martha, received probation on theft charges as stolen goods were found in her home.

Harbor Coin Company of Gurnee, which was hit twice during Paulson’s spree, won the contract to hold the auction.

“As my mom says, it kind of brings it full circle,” says Angela Timmons, whose family owns the store.

Timmons says many of the more than 500 items up for auction are items that are not easy to liquidate, so, she says, collectors like this auction.

Those items include “key date coins,” such as a 1916 D Mercury dime and an 1877 Indian head penny.

Timmons says the first time Paulson and his crew hit Harbor Coin, they didn’t get away with all they wanted to. She says they “came in through the ceiling and [Paulson] fell down and broke some ribs.” As a result, she says, he was unable to break into the safe. The burglary crew was more successful a couple of months later.

As you might expect, security at the shop has sense been intensified. She says there are multiple security layers now.

Timmons says you have to put in your bid in person; bidding runs until Saturday, March 18th at 2:00 p.m. Timmons expects many bargains to be had.

Harbor Coin will receive 5 percent of the proceeds of the auction and Gurnee police will get the rest.

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