The "Paradise Fires" that tore through California last year are among the most devastating natural disasters in recent U.S. history.
Many homes and possessions were destroyed in the weeks-long blaze. Thousands of businesses and houses were evacuated before being reduced to ashes.
Remarkably, one man's coin collection managed to survive the flames and has now been restored to its former glory thanks to help from NGC Conservation.
A California man named Joseph Best thought his collection of coins was ruined in the fire. Many of the coins were professionally graded, meaning they were housed in hard plastic holders known in the industry as "slabs."
The intense heat of the fires were too much for the slabs to withstand. They were badly warped once recovered. Yet, miraculously, the coins protected within them remained largely unscathed!
According to sources covering the wildfire crisis, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) stepped in to help a collector in need. At no cost, the company extracted the coins from their plastic prisons and re-holdered them.
NGC is one of the two leading third-party grading services trusted by the numismatic industry. Their conservation division is primarily focused on preserving damaged coins, but this case was more of a rescue mission.
Most people will be surprised to find how resilient and durable coins can be. This is particularly true when they are composed of precious metals like gold or silver.
One noteworthy example is shipwreck coins. In many cases, coins that have spent centuries submerged beneath the ocean have been restored to their original state with only some light brushing. It is never recommended to try and clean a coin, as altering the surface of the metal is considered taboo in coin-collecting circles.
Like coins lost at sea, it appears that these coins could even earn themselves a special pedigree. Talk about a "trial by fire"!
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.
Everett has been the head content writer and market analyst at Gainesville Coins since 2013. He has a background in History and is deeply interested in how gold and silver have historically fit into the financial system.