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Coin inspires book purchase

Passing through the Chicago O’Hare airport the other day I stopped at a newsstand.

As I browsed, a new biography of President Woodrow Wilson caught my eye.

I bought it.

I believe the Presidential dollar coin program had something to do with my interest.

I cannot claim to have read a biography of every President as a result of the coin program, but I have read more of them than I probably would have otherwise.

The current book is “Wilson,” by A. Scott Berg.

I began reading it on the plane.

I have not gotten far enough to judge it, but I am enjoying reading it.

From a numismatic perspective, he is the President who caused the Federal Reserve to be created. It’s 100th anniversary is nearly upon us.

From a family perspective, he was the leader who led the country in World War I and sent both of my grandfathers to France to fight Germany.

So I have good reasons to learn more about Wilson. Up to now, I have been content with the short profiles provided as part of writings on other topics.

I have even read John Maynard Keynes profile of him in “Economic Consequences of the Peace,” as part of my economic studies.

In my own writings I have suggested that coins inspire collectors to become students of history.

After all, what is the point of owning something if all you know about it is that it is round and shiny?

Collectors quite naturally want to know as much about what they acquire as they can.

I know that the new book about Wilson probably will not inspire anybody to buy the Presidential coin sets in general or the Wilson piece in particular, but the coin could very well inspire a few collectors like me to buy the book.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."