I had a nice talk with Jeff Shevlin at the Central States Numismatic Society convention in late April. He reminded me of the importance of the field of exonumia. He specializes in the area called so-called dollars. These dollar-sized pieces were struck for all sorts of events and reasons.
Since Shevlin left ANA as executive director he has been actively working in the so-called dollar field again and it is a section of the hobby that he brings to life.
His interest is contagious and I left the conversation wondering why I am not more serious about collecting so-called dollars myself.
The exonumia field is like that. One person makes a big difference.
If relationships and history on a human level interest you, you should collect exonumia.
This can be at a level of wooden nickels issued at coin shows, or elongated coins that are struck for special occasions.
There is a page in Numismatic News that serves to announce new exonumia issues. You won’t find Shevlin on it because his scope of interest stops in 1964.
However, a lot of others have interests that include new issues.
How do I know this?
Whenever the appearance of the exonumia page is interrupted, I get a worried email or telephone call asking me if it is being discontinued.
As long as this kind of tangible manifestation of interest continues, the exonumia page is safe, because there are people who are interested in this aspect of numismatics.
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."