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Take me away from snow

Sometimes I would rather think about warm tropical beaches than any numismatic topic.

Sure, numismatics is a great escape. I know that. It was my hobby long before it became my profession.

Even I am amazed how fresh and interesting numismatic topics are to me more than 50 years after I began my acquaintance with coins.

I once found a nearly new 1966 Panamanian 5-centesimos coin in a roll of nickels that I searched as a kid.

Sure, it wasn’t a war nickel with silver in it, a dateless Buffalo nickel, or even a date and mintmark I needed for my Whitman Jefferson album, but it was something interesting. I still have it.

I believe I found this particular coin in 1968. I can be precise because that was the year I tackled the 5-cent denomination. It was either that or give up circulation finds completely. By then there was almost nothing in change that was older than 1965 for dimes, quarters and half dollars.

Who could have known that I would eventually visit Panama – barely, though, just crossing the border from Golfito with Paul Green.

But at least I can say that I lived up to that personal tie to the country created by numismatic happenstance.

Every single coin has some sort of potential like that in it. It is up to every collector to find it for himself. And it is a reward that in some ways is even greater than the financial ones that make the headlines.

If thoughts of this kind can tie me to a country with a warm climate in February, so much the better.

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."