Coin trader's deal with widow raises questions
by Wayne Havrelly, KGW Staff
Posted on May 13, 2011 at 5:58 PM
today at 9:44 AM
PORTLAND - After a long painful illness, Donna Coonrod's husband Don passed away just a few weeks ago. He collected
coins for 60 years.
"It was a fun family thing and he still was collecting until he got sick," said Coonrod at her Camas home overlooking Lacamas Lake. She claimed Ken Vilkin gave her a very hard sell after he was invited to the home to appraise the coin collection. "How about $30,000? And I mean he threw a check down so fast and started picking up the coins and out the door he's going fast, I mean on the run," said Coonrod.
Coonrod's Collection was appraised one year ago by another Vancouver coin dealer. "I would have paid at least $50,000 for the collection I appraised," said Thomas Deering of Liberty Coins. "The most important thing is when you get a collection bid on, it should always be a free estimate and you should be free to walk away at any time."
Donna's daughter Lynn Rockstad claimed to go to great lengths to get Ken Vilkin to simply return the coins and take back the $30,000 check that has not been cashed. "I even took our dear friend Gary Lucas the Sheriff of Clark County with me to talk to him and he basically said talk to my attorney," said Rockstad.
An employee at Kenny's Country Coins gave me the number of Ken Vilkin's attorney who did not want to speak to KGW in person. He called a few hours later. "I didn't know Donna Coonrod's husband had just died and actually thought she negotiated a fair price," said Vilkin. "The attacks and accusations that I mislead a grieving widow are just flat out not true."
Unit 8 Investigates discovered that in 1989 Ken Vilkin was President of a company in Los Angeles seized by the Federal Trade Commission for selling coins at greatly inflated prices. "I was young and foolish and learned my lesson," said Vilken. Donna Coonrod doesn't believe he has. "I thought I was too smart to ever get caught in a situation like this." The Coonrods have hired an attorney and are pursing action. Vilken has been doing business in Vancouver since 1994. He is a top-rated seller on E-bay.