Does your hobby rev you up or calm you down? Would it seem strange if I said for me it is both?
It has been a particularly hectic day here. The Internet has been incredibly slow. Updating my blog took longer than usual as a result. The printer in my desk area was not working. Naturally I needed some hard copies of some pages when it went down. Nothing has gone particularly easily. You get the idea. I am sure you?ve had a few days like that yourself.
Then I saw some photos that I had been expecting of some key lots in the Stack?s 72nd Anniversary sale Oct. 16-17. Suddenly, all was serene in my mind as I privately oohed and aahed over some of the coins.
The 1894-S dime was my particular favorite. It is a coin that I can truly appreciate. I feel connected to it even though I will never be able to afford to buy one. A recent private treaty sale priced the coin at $1.9 million, though it was a Proof-66 versus Proof-64 for the one in the current Stack?s sale. I am sure the price differential won?t take it down into a neighborhood I can afford. But I can always dream.
What attaches me to the coin are my roots in the hobby. I began in the circulation finds era. I was guided through a number of series by the Whitman albums that I filled. Some sets were easy. Some were modestly difficult. Some were downright impossible. One of the impossible sets was that of the Barber dime.
Now I would not have been able to finish the set even had there been no 1894-S dime in it. However, the cardboard plug that occupied the spot in the album where an 1894-S would be placed was there to taunt me. ?You can?t do it. You can?t do it. You can?t do it,? it seemed to say. Mintage was 24. Collectors know roughly half survive. They might even know the story of Hallie Daggett, the daughter of the San Francisco Mint superintendent at the time it was struck. She said she was given two as a little girl. One she supposedly spent on ice cream.
That story always shocked me, but it also was an inspiration. If one was spent, I might find it. I never did. I never really seriously looked. But in my daydreams there was always that tantalizing possibility, along with my more realistic goals of finding 1909-S VDB and 1914-D cents and 1916 Standing Liberty quarters and 1916-D Mercury dimes. I didn?t find those either, but I had great fun looking and learning about them.
My looking and learning continues, but in a way that is different from my circulation find days. Looking at auction lots is fascinating. If they cause me to reminisce, then they calm me down as I daydream a little. If there is a lot I am interested in, I can get very revved up about it and the possibility of owning it.
It is a two-for-one deal that can occur with every auction that comes to my attention.
Enough of this daydream. The time has come to move on to something else. Perhaps I will even discover that the printer is once again working as I need it. My blood pressure probably dropped by 10 points. It?s a wonderful experience and I owe it all to a coin that I can never own. Thank you, Stack?s.