Stolen rare coins pensioner's legacy

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 05:00 22/02/2013
Norman Anderson
JAY BOREHAM/ Fairfax NZ
LIFTED LEGACY: Norman Anderson's coin collection was also his family legacy.
Coins
RARE COINS: One piece in Norman Anderson's collection, which was stolen from his home while he was in hospital.

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Pensioner Norman Anderson's health was failing so he packed his legacy into three small tins with a note to his wife telling her who was to get what.

But a brazen thief swiped the collection of rare and valuable coins from his home as he lay in hospital. 

The Manurewa man suffered a pulmonary embolism last year and the blood clots saw him rushed to hospital at the start of the month.

He expected the worst so he was relieved to be diagnosed with angina and released last week.

He was ordered home to rest but when he got there he got a massive shock when he discovered the valuable coins had gone.

A thief had forced the security stays on an open a window at the front of his Orchard Grove Retirement Village home and grabbed the tins the coins were stored in.

''He grabbed his heart and I thought 'Oh God, here we go again','' Anderson's wife Salome said.

''I haven't stopped crying since this happened.'' 

She's heartbroken not just because of the effect of the theft on her husband's health but also because of the messages from him she has lost.

Inside one of the tins was Norman's final letter to his wife and some poems he had written to her which she has never read.

''That's what breaks my heart because whoever took it would have just thrown those away, they mean nothing to them - but they were for me.''

Norman was given his first two gold sovereigns by his father.

''His father had given him one of them and his mother gave him the other when he went away to World War II,'' she said.

Anderson was given the coins when he joined the merchant navy in 1961. 

''While I was away tramping around the world I added to them because a lot of the ships pay in gold - it's a tax thing,'' Norman said.

''They were a legacy for my children and they were supposed to be left for my children.''

Rare pennies among the collection are some of the most valuable and he is worried the thief will think them worthless and just throw them away.

But police believe the thief knew exactly what he was after.

''It looks like they have targeted the actual coins,'' Sergeant Benny Ostler said.

He believes the thief became aware of the coins after Norman put some of them on Trade Me about a month ago.

Police are now contacting anyone from the site who showed interest in the coins.

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''He was contacted by a buyer who said he would buy all the coins, further adding that he was out of the country at the time but would contact him on his return.

''There is nothing to say that this person is the burglar but we just need to look at those possible inquiries,'' Ostler said.

Police are also canvassing secondhand dealers and jewellers.

Anyone with information about the the stolen coins should contact Ostler on 353 8610.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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