by Bert Lehman
Editor’s Note: This feature originally appeared in our sister publication, Sports Collectors Digest, and is being reprinted with permission.
Less than a month after Baseball Treasure announced the release of its collectible baseball coins, the redemption for one of the 15 Aaron Judge gold coins inserted into packs has been found.
The honor of being the first to locate a gold coin redemption goes to David Smith of New York.
In an exclusive interview with Sports Collectors Digest, Smith said he has always enjoyed coin-style baseball products.
“When I saw what these guys (Baseball Treasure) had produced in the online rendering it just looked like a really nice product,” Smith said. “The chase is an interesting sidelight. Mainly I was interested in collecting the entire set of 30.”
He added that once it is available, he plans to purchase the folder book to display the coins he has collected.
“I just think it’s a neat product,” he said. “Well before I opened the pack that had the gold redemption, I was opening them one by one and admiring both the front and back, and I think it’s a really solid product that lived up to what I was hoping for it to be. I hope it’s a hit because it seems to me to be a neat annual collectible.”
The fact that each coin comes with a full color cardboard mount sets it apart from previous baseball coins that have been released.
“I like the fact they come mounted on a card because they are easy to handle unlike the more traditional ones where they just kind of rolled around in your pocket,” Smith said.
After being taken aback by the story of John Connor and Rick Canale, owners of Baseball Treasure, and their effort to introduce this new collectible, Smith was prompted to purchase a box of 36 packs directly from Baseball Treasure.
“It just became something that I became interested in supporting and hoping that it was something successful so they can bring it back year by year,” Smith said.
Each unopened pack contains one coin, and retails for $6.99.
Most of the coins in the product are one-ounce minted copper coins. The copper coin versions individually feature a star from every major league team. Each coin displays the player’s name, position, and etched portrait on the front, and an action image with a 2017 highlight on the back.
In addition, more rare .999 silver versions of the coins are randomly inserted one per 432 packs. The silver versions have a $50 retail value.
The Judge gold coins have a retail value of $2,000 and are randomly inserted one in 21,600 packs.
As soon as Smith received his packs of coins, he began opening them.
“I believe it was the seventh or eighth one (pack) and there it was,” Smith said.
Prior to opening the packs, Smith said he was aware there were rare gold coins available.
“I was certainly aware of that and had zero expectations of acquiring it,” Smith said. “The prospect of doing so had nothing to do with me deciding to buy them.”
Since Smith is from New York, one would expect that he would have been ecstatic that Judge was on the gold coin. That wasn’t the case, as Smith is a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan.
Because of this, prior to purchasing the coins, Smith contacted Canale to express his displeasure that only a Yankees player was included on the gold coins. This displeasure was all in fun though.
“Like any good Red Sox fan sitting in the bleachers at Fenway, (I told him) if one of these things comes my way, I’m going to have to throw it back,” Smith said. “Then the day I received it (gold coin redemption), I wrote him an email where I said, ‘I’m not throwing the thing back, but I’m going to cash it in.’
“We had established a fairly unusual back and forth between customer and manufacturer.”
An admitted baseball card collector, Smith said the fact the coins also include the team logos for each player, helped convince him to purchase the coins. He doesn’t purchase baseball cards that don’t include the team logos.
“I’ve been limited to being able to buy whatever the various Topps issues are, and now this,” Smith said. “I like the uniqueness of it and I also like the product itself. It was just a damn lucky sidelight that I happened to get the gold coin.”
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.
More Collecting Resources
• If you enjoy reading about what inspires coin designs, you'll want to check out our Fascinating Facts, Mysteries & Myths about U.S. Coins eBook.
• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700 is your guide to images, prices and information on coins from so long ago.