The Shen: Augusta gets homegrown coin

Matt Cauley is perhaps the best example of his company that helps do-it-yourself investors. When he decided the Shenandoah Valley needed a commemorative coin, he went out and struck one.

Called the Shen, the coin is one-half troy ounce of pure silver, and much like the Franklin Mint, Cauley thinks it makes an excellent collectible.

In honor of the Valley's agricultural heritage, the coin depicts farmers plowing and reads "Shenandoah Valley Free Money." Not literally, of course– the Shen costs $18.95 retail. Cauley says there are a number of vendors selling them in the Valley.

The Shen, he explains, is "free" of the Federal Reserve System and "free" to set its own value. "It's a shot across the bow of the U.S. dollar, which is a fiat currency," says Cauley, lamenting that American bucks are no longer backed by gold.

According to Cauley, the Shen could be used as currency– for example, "It would be worth about $3.60 if you took it into a bank," he says. Even at the wholesale price of $11.95, that probably isn't the best use of the Shen.

Cauley suggests collecting the Shen or giving it as a gift. With a limited production run of 10,000, "This is definitely going to be rare," he predicts.

And the first striking will be even more collectible because on the reverse of the coin, which is a map of the seven counties that make up the Shenandoah watershed– Augusta, Rockingham, Page, Shenandoah, Warren, Clarke, and Frederick– Clarke County is misspelled.

Collect them all.

Matt Cauley, proud originator of the Shen, is making money. Literally


A Shen for your thoughts? A new coin commemorates the Shenandoah Valley as the Breadbasket of Virginia.