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Start a world coin collection in Rosemont

Today is my day to arrive at the Chicago International Coin Fair.

Will I see you there?

It is being held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill.

Doors open to the public at 10 a.m.

The CICF bourse features a wide selection of world coins and Heritage Auctions is conducting a major sale of world issues.

If you are like most collectors of U.S. coinage, you began when you encountered coins in your change.

But how do you begin collecting world coins? There’s the rub.

I happened to begin collecting Costa Rican paper money when I visited the country and actually spent some of it. It was then logical to go back and acquire older notes that were no longer circulating.

Over 20 years I have watched paper denominations disappear in note form to be replaced with coins.

The 50, 100 and 500 colones have made that transition.

How much longer will the 1,000-colones note last? That is a logical question.

It’s face value is just under $2 at about $1.85. That should make it safe for a time yet.

The exchange rate has been stable for a decade despite inflation that is higher for the colon than the U.S. dollar.

See how easy it is to become immersed in these details?

The world coin collecting hobby got its biggest boost when the veterans of World War II returned home with numismatic souvenirs. Some became collectors. Some of their children became collectors.

If you do not become acquainted with world coins and notes while you are in the country of issue, what do you do?

That’s where your own background and interests come in.

Let CICF dealers introduce you to the numismatic issues of the countries of your ancestors.

Perhaps you would like to collect large silver coins that were the forerunners of the American dollar.

The 8-reales of the Spanish Empire was the coin on which Alexander Hamilton based the U.S. silver dollar.

Perhaps modern issues are your cup of tea.

Many world coins feature designs that incorporate color, heat sensitivity and scannable devices.

Rather than rulers, these modern coins depict killer reptiles and insects, or cute and cuddly cats.

You don’t have to visit a country to fall in love with its coins. Just peruse the varied material on the CICF bourse. It might just hook you.

The bonus is that by visiting the show you can put the yard work off for another day.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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