From the forgotten mouths of coin star machines he pockets them: vintage coins from past eras and pressings. "I've got about a dozen of them right now. Eventually I'll turn them in because silver is going up and up."
Vendor of the Week Al Roberts collects baseball cards and old coins. His current favorite? "An 1880 silver half." Sometimes he receives interesting coins in change selling the Real Change Newspaper.
More than the silver that passes between his hands, he enjoys exchanging words with people who buy the paper.
"I love talking to people. A lot of people stop and talk to me for 5-10 minutes. They ask me how I'm doing, if I have a place to live, things like that. 'You got enough food?' I feel a part of it. It's better then staying at home and feeling nothing."
From "the greatest city," Boston, Roberts is considering settling down in Seattle. "Before I came out to Seattle, a long time ago, I used to drink a lot. Now I put everything down so I feel better about myself. I'm not on the streets; I have a place. I feel good when I wake up every morning. I'm just hoping I can stay on the right track while I'm out here."
Roberts' favorite place in Seattle is the Seattle Center. "It's really alive over there, but it's private property so I can't get in there and sell. But this is just fine over here."
To his customers, Roberts says: "Keep talking to me, keep coming by to talk or just say hi."
Talk with Roberts in front of Bartell Drugs in Wallingford, at NE 45th Street and Wallingford Avenue NE.