Los Angeles police Capt. Andrew Smith said 24 of the coins have been confiscated from two men selling them for $20 apiece, The Los Angeles Times reported Friday. He said the incident marked the fourth police encounter with the coins.
Smith said the coins appear to be real but the police department plans to consult an expert to verify their authenticity.
"These coins looked real and authentic. They were old and worn," Smith said. He theorized the coins were taken to the neighborhood, which is infamous for the sale of counterfeit DVDs and other illegal merchandise, by someone desperate for drug money, the Times said.
Several similar coins were discovered in the jacket lining of a suspected drug dealer arrested in the neighborhood in August. Others were found during a search of a parolee in September, the newspaper reported.
"They were in collector sleeves. There was 24 silver dollars dating back to 1794," officer Stephen Nichols told the Times of to the parolee's coins. "They looked like they'd been taken from a private collection."