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Dealers Pay Homeless To Stand In Line For Gold Collector's Coin

DENVER (CBS4) - Coin dealers paid stand-ins, including the homeless, to wait in line at the Denver Mint Tuesday morning to snag freshly minted gold half-dollars.

The mint began selling gold 24-karat Kennedy half-dollars, dated 1964 and 2014, at 10 a.m. for $1,240 each. But because they're one per customer, coin dealers paid people to stand in line so they could buy multiple coins.

"They already gave me a mark (on my hand) and a $20 bill to go in and buy a coin," Bob Goffinett said.

"I've been standing in line since last night at 10," another man said.

A coin dealer gave him $20 and a prepaid credit card to go inside and purchase the coin. The buyers were then directed across the street by employees of Kevin Lipton Rare Coins of Beverly Hills, Calif. There they kept a ledger of the people it had hired to buy the half dollars.

"Well I think the most valuable thing about it is that it's commemorating the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's passing away, and it's just a great coin, it's historic," Harry Metrano with Kevin Lipton Rare Coins said.

Dealers are betting big the coins will be worth a lot more soon. The Mint says what the dealers were doing was not forbidden

"We don't have control over the coin dealers," Jennifer De Broekert with the Denver Mint, said. "We really don't associate and do business with them."

Denver Mint Coin Line
People line up to buy coins from the Denver Mint. (credit: CBS)

Police were on hand to keep order and not just the homeless were in line. More than 100 came from Fort Carson. They were paid $300 each by the Argent Group to buy the Kennedy half dollars for them.

Some people told CBS4 they were lured there by an ad for extras in a movie shoot.

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