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Another thought comes to mind, however. If the precious metal content of the coins is known, you could do a search of historic prices of bullion and calculate what the lowest value was for the bullion content of the coin. It's highly unlikely that the coins ever sold for less than bullion value. This would establish a lower (but greater than $0) bound on the cost basis.

Thanks, IRA, that pretty much settles it. The gold content is known -- I have 3 ounces worth. (That was actually what I meant when I cryptically wrote: I could make a guess based on the price of gold over the last 25 years.)

What a shame. I actually have a loss in the neighborhood of about $600 or so, but instead I will likely have to declare a profit of about $700. All for lack of a slip of paper!

Thanks again,

Ken (who was surprised the receipt wasn't there, since even 25 years ago, I knew better)
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