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How did you get here?

Do you analyze why you root for the football team that you do, or why you like to read novels about the Old West?

You don’t? Neither do I.

Some things simply are better left to the serendipity of life.

I didn’t plan to become a coin collector. It just happened when I was a kid.

But once it did happen, I could plan how I would go about it. I could determine what I wanted to collect and how much money I wanted to spend on it.

I could begin to write for numismatic periodicals because I happened to be a regular reader of Coins Magazine when it started a monthly writing contest over 40 years ago called “What’s the Story?”

All I had to do was identify a greatly enlarged design element from a coin (with the rest of it masked) and then tell the story of the coin.

Interestingly, I won the monthly contest with a story of the Canadian tombac 5-cent coin of World War II with the “V” for Victory symbol on it and also with a story about a turtle from a Fijian sixpence. The first one was published three months before my 15th birthday.

Interestingly, I seemed to do better with my world coin stories than my U.S. stories. Was there less competition for those or did they capture my imagination more?

Who can say?

The top prize was a framed copy of the story and a one-year subscription to the magazine. Runners-up got just the subscription.

In all, I earned eight years’ worth of Coins. The issues were still coming when I was hired full time.

The point of this is that once the almost mystical attraction to coins was established as a force in my life, my rational side could take over and I could plan to do things that took me deeper and deeper into numismatics.

But at its very base, the attraction to coins is not something you can plan for, but once you realize you have been smitten, your brain can take over and lead you anywhere you want to go.

Where has your love of coins taken you?

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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