Portland Mint key player in $100M scrap metal market

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Entrepreneur Ronnie Shahar works with Portland Mint to turn loose change into gold. Shahar’s coin exchange program has paid out more than $100 million since 2009.

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Mr. Shahar, a 46-year-old entrepreneur, was among the first to realize the potential in pocket change more than 25 years ago. Today, he buys U.S. coins in bulk from Chinese salvage yards and exports them to his Oregon-based partner, who exchanges the coins at the U.S. Mint for a lump sum.

The Mint redeems coins that are bent, burned, fused, chipped or otherwise uncountable by machine at nearly their face value, under a program established more than a century ago.

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The Willamette Week reports that Portland Mint and Shahar are suing the feds over as seized coin shipment worth $664,000.