Skip to main content

Millions of dollars of forgotten coins retrieved from junked cars

Global – Some entrepreneurs can make a business out of the strangest of phenomena. Take Ronnie Shahar from Australia, who started up a company that buys old coins found in end-of-life cars at recycling yards.

Scrapped cars exported from the USA to China reportedly contain millions of dollars’ worth of forgotten pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters every year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Shahar, who has partners in 25 countries including the Portland Mint in the USA, confirms that there is definitely treasure lurking beneath the seat cushions.

Even coins that have been fed through a shredder and are ‘battered beyond recognition’ still have a value, according to Shahar. He buys them in bulk, predominantly from China where coins are meticulously sorted by hand instead of immediately being run through multi-million-dollar recycling systems.

Shahar then sells the currency back to the US government via the Mutilated Coin Redemption Program for US$ 20 per pound. The US scheme has paid out more than US$ 100 million since 2009. However, a recent spike in large coin shipments from China gave cause for customs officials in Los Angeles to begin an investigation into potential fake coins arriving from the Far East.

This as yet unresolved issue prompted US officials to shut down the programme at the end of last year. An estimated US$ 664 000 worth of Shahar’s coins are now languishing in regulatory purgatory. The entrepreneur has filed a lawsuit demanding the release of the salvaged coins. ‘No-one counterfeits small-value coins,’ he argues. ‘It doesn’t make any economic sense.’

Would you like to share any interesting developments or article ideas with us? Don't hesitate to contact us.

You might find this interesting too

When will battery metals rebalance?
Traders await import guidance as China ban nears

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe now and get a full year for just €136 (normal rate is €170) Subscribe
Share your shear stories and win a GoPro!

It’s safe to say that scrap shears are the pillars of the recycling industry. But which configurations are the future? Take part in our tech survey and get a shot at winning a cool GoPro camera!

Thousands of scrap shears are driving recycling businesses all over the world. When it comes to different types, an operator may opt for maximum tonnage or flexibility, such as a mobile set-up. An integrated baling system is also gaining popularity. Ultimately, there is no wrong or right shear; it comes down to how you’re going to use it.

Our survey is meant to map the wants and needs of today’s dynamic recycling industry. Voice your opinion here and, who knows, you may be able to capture your recycling facility in action in HD.