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Just what is the perfect coin gift?

Should the United States issue a Christmas coin in a manner similar to the post office issuing Christmas stamps?

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This question comes up each year about this time. I ask it again because it is time for us to prepare the annual Holiday Gift Guide.

There will be nothing from the United States mentioned among the new issues. That shouldn’t be a surprise. The United States does not produce holiday coins as many other nations do.

That does not mean you cannot give U.S. coin as gifts. A coin collector on your shopping list will appreciate a little numismatic item or two.

This is something the U.S. Mint knows well. It sent out an email as this issue was prepared to remind recipients of its Holiday Gift Guide. It has very thoughtfully broken its product line down into gifts for kids, history buffs, dads, grandparents, military appreciation and stocking stuffers.

“Keepsakes in Gold and Silver” and “National Treasures” are other categories.

There is even a section marked “Last Chance.” Naturally, products going off sale at the end of the year can be found there.

But one thing I have learned over the years is that there really never is a last chance to buy something. If you miss it from the Mint, you will be able to get it on the secondary market. It might even be cheaper.

The main thing is to be an active collector. Buy what interests you. Buy what you think interests a potential gift recipient.

My parents gave me a $20 gold piece when I graduated high school. It was thoughtful. It was a $200 item at the time.

A neighbor was told of this wonderful gift and all she heard was I got 20 bucks for high school graduation. Naturally, that was not an accurate impression. As you might expect, I sure was happy no matter what the neighbor thought.

That’s the challenge of gifts. If you are trying to impress non-collectors, don’t bother with just any numismatic gift. Many of our standard sets just won’t cut it. Quantity will make an impression here rather than quality.

Since it is the last year Presidential dollars will be available, give a lucky recipient a box of Presidential dollars. If they are collectors, they will know what they are and love it. If they aren’t collectors, they can cash the coins in at the bank. The premiums are not that high. Price of a box of 250 coins is just $275.95 plus shipping. There are 100-coin bags and 25-coin rolls as well.

Even if the Presidential dollar coins are cashed in for face value, your using them as gifts will be remembered by the recipients for the rest of their lives unlike a check, which also must be deposited at the bank. Besides, if you buy the dollars, you just might want them yourself.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

More Collecting Resources

• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700 is your guide to images, prices and information on coins from so long ago.

• The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is the only annual guide that provides complete coverage of U.S. currency with today’s market prices.