JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Kimball Sterling, Inc., an auction company based in Johnson City, hit what they are calling the Mother Lode.

A coin collection that had been boxed up in a Sullivan County home for decades became what Sterling is calling the best he has ever found in his 50 years of antique collecting experience.

“The people actually didn’t know what it was worth,” Sterling said. “They were ready for someone to come in there and buy them for nothing.”

Sterling says a Sullivan County woman called him about five weeks ago and invited him to see some coins she had at her home. When he got there he found several boxes full of valuable gold and silver coins, as well as old, national bank notes that were printed in the Tri-Cities region.

“I said, ‘You have a lot of money here,’” Sterling recounted. “She said, ‘Well, I thought I might but I just didn’t know.’”

There were thousands of dollars-worth of coins and currency including Carson City silver dollars, 3-dollar gold coins and even colonial coins from the 1700’s.

“Boxes on boxes,” Sterling described the collection. “You never knew what was in any box. In fact, the last box we went through out of the basement, we had everything catalogued and down in the bottom of that box was about a $1,000 Carson City Silver Dollar that we found in the bottom of that box. We just didn’t know what we were going to find and when we were going to find it.”

Sterling is keeping the collection at a secure bank until its auction on Sunday, March 5 at 2 p.m. He said there will be opportunities for all kinds of collectors to purchase a piece of the collection.

“We’ve got some $5 lots for the kids that want to come and add to their collection and we have some $4,000 lots for the advanced collector,” Sterling said. “We have something for everyone in this collection.”

The auction will be held at Kimbell Sterling, Inc. at 125 W Market Street in Johnson City. The store will open at 10 a.m. on the day of the auction to view the collection.

An auction catalogue is also available at 2017 WJHL. All Rights Reserved.