He has a collection of old photos and he deals in coins to help other people begin or add to a collection.
Malone gets excited showing the old photos he rescued from the trash one day in Portsmouth.
The photos came from Pine's Funeral Home that was located on Ninth Street many years ago.
“When (the owner) passed away, they threw these out in a chest and I asked them what they were doing,” Malone said.
So, he took the photos and still has them today. Many of them are from Sciotoville High School and Portsmouth High School between the 1920s and 1930s, including high school football teams, girls basketball and photos of many people with old cars and some engaged in swimming, fishing and many other activities.
The young men wore ties to school and girls wore a type of pantaloons to play sports. Women wore long, skirted bathing suits.
Pieces of an old newspaper, The Echo, are part of the memorabilia. A Portsmouth yearbook was from 1924.
Malone received more old photos from the estate of Grace Eisenaugle after she died. One of her report cards from 1915 was tucked into an album.
Another item found was a program from a 1924 class play, “The Kaliko Kat,” at Portsmouth High School.
A photo of the Portsmouth Track Team of 1923, champions of southeastern Ohio, also was included in the collection.
Yet another photo shows Malone's father transporting people into Portsmouth during the 1937 flood.
“If anyone wants to put the pictures on display, I'd be glad to let them have them,” Malone said.
Over the years, Malone also began to take an interest in coins. In 1954, he was working for a vending machine company and one day someone wanted to look at the nickels he pulled out of a machine.
“He said ‘there's one worth 50 cents,'” he said. “I said ‘what, a nickel worth 50 cents?'”
That made Malone think about the value of many of the coins he was pulling from the vending machines.
He worked 25 years for the vending company, changing out coins for his collection.
In 1980, he decided to start buying and selling. He had two coin shops, one in West Union and one in Portsmouth, but Malone doesn't have a coin collection anymore, he said.
“In 1964, you could go down to the bank and buy all the silver dollars you wanted,” Malone said. “You could bring them home, look through them and pick out what you wanted and take the rest back. Now, you have to pay $8 to $10 apiece for them.”
The good ones, fine to extra fine condition, can cost about $200 each, he said.
“I wasn't big enough,” Malone said. “Today, people are looking at collections of $20 gold pieces and Morgan dollars from 1878 to 1904, peace dollars from 1921 to 1935 and looking for coins that are uncirculated. They want something that has hardly been touched or worn.”
Just like antique dealers warn against cleaning old furniture, Malone cautions people never to clean a coin. If they are cleaned, coins can be ruined, he said.
“Don't wash it, don't clean it,” Malone said. “It ruins the value.”
Many valuable coins have been in circulation, he said - including 1916 D dimes, mercury - and those in very good to fine condition are valued from $300 to $500 each.
The most expensive coins he has seen are a $4 gold Stella and a Liberty Head V nickel.
“The last (Stella) I seen on e-Bay went for $85,000,” Malone said. “I saw the 1913 V nickel in Cincinnati. There was only a few of them made. It was probably worth $100,000 at the time, it's way up now. That was in the 1960s.”
According to Blanchard and Company Inc., a retail dealer in rare coins and precious metals, the 1913 Liberty Head V nickel sold recently for $3 million. It is considered the “Mona Lisa” of the coin world.
The $4 gold Stella was minted in 1879 and 1880.
Malone said the coin most in demand is the Morgan dollar, designated from about uncirculated to brilliant uncirculated.
“Proof sets from 1936 through 1951 are in great demand,” he said. “They are made in Philadelphia and they have the half dollar, quarter, dime, nickel and penny.”
The most valuable proof set is dated 1936 and is worth about $3,500, he said.
Although he subscribes to Coin World magazine which keeps him up-to-date on pricing, he said that e-Bay and Yahoo have a lot of information.
“e-Bay has everything on it,” Malone said.
The last silver coins that were put in circulation were in 1964, he said; and in 1965 through 1969, half dollars consisted of 40 percent silver. The last gold coins were minted in 1933 and 1934 and the last copper pennies were made in 1982.
“There is a 1972 double stamped cent that's probably worth $100,” Malone said.
He advises people who want to collect coins to go to the U.S. Post Office and get information.
“Collecting coins is educational,” Malone said. “If I were starting out, I'd start collecting the state coins. If you collect pennies, collect everything before 1983. You'll have the copper content. We know that copper is going to be worth something. You never know what 50 years is going to bring.”
PHYLLIS NOAH can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 234, or email@example.com.