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Indian cents launch a lifelong hobby


From the Numismatic News 60th Anniversary Special Edition – By: Earl Quintel • Cave Creek, Ariz.

Coin collecting is a passion of mine. The interest in coins started when a friend in my eighth grade class had a few Indian cents and two “V” nickels. I traded model cars for the coins.

At a hobby store, I purchased a couple of blue Whitman coin folders; at the time they were only 35 cents apiece. In addition to those coins I had two rolls of pennies and would ask people if I could see their change. I was hooked from that time on.

After college I went to work and could afford to expand my collection. I was purchasing Indian cents by the mail at the time my Dad showed me an ad for a coin show in Bay City, Mich. The coin show was small with about 15 dealers, but I still felt like a child in a candy shop. At that time, I had never seen so many coins in one place.

During the coin show, I was purchasing Indian cents, when an elderly man started talking to me. He said, “I see that you collect Indian cents. Do you have an 1877?” I replied, “No.”

1877 is a key date, and he handed me one that was AG grade. The date was a good and readable.

2012 U.S. Coin Digest: Cents

This easy-to-search pricing and identification download is solely focused on U.S cents.

He told me, “It’s yours, and now you have one.” I said, “Thank you,” the whole time being amazed that he just gave it to me. I do not know who he was, and sadly, I never saw him again.

Currently I have a complete set of Indian cents with the 1877 one in the collection. Many times I have thought about updating the 1877, but I cherish that 1877 Indian cent. It may not be the best coin I own, but it is my favorite and I wish not to part with it.
Second favorite coin is a 1914-D Lincoln cent that I found in my grandfather’s old cigar box, which was filled with pennies. In my time I have seen and gone through many pennies and still have not come across another.

During 1961, my friend Doug and I would go on penny buying trips. We would go to many small rural towns in Michigan. On a trip to Grayling, Mich., a woman brought out $5 of pennies that were in a vault. They were dusty with old looking wrapper on the rolls.

Seeing these pennies got my heart racing. Returning to the car, I opened a roll and found that they were 1940 and older with some that were uncirculated. At the end of the trip, I had purchased $240 of just pennies.

Doug and I went to a gun show where I purchased my first gold coin. I purchased a $20 Liberty for $35. At that time, my Dad thought I paid too much and I should take it to the bank. I created several sets of different coins from circulation; it was the golden era for coin collecting.

I moved away from Michigan with my wife in 1982 and moved to Glendale, Ariz., with my coin collection in tow. In Arizona I have met many people who love collecting coins and have joined coin clubs.

In 2007, I was selected to be on the commission to select the Arizona state quarter in 2008. Being selected was an honor, and I enjoyed serving the commission, and being part of the team.

In 2008, there was an ANA show where I was working to pass out registration forms to arriving coin collectors. During this show, a man sat down next to me. This man’s name is Chet Krause. We had a great conversation, and he is truly a great man.

Currently I am the president of Arizona Territorial Coin Club and a member of the Phoenix Coin Club. I have many fond memories of coin collecting and I cherish those moments. I have many friends who are coin collectors.

We will go to coin shows and share information on different coins with each other. It creates new memories for all of us. I will continue to collect coins and enjoy the process of coin collecting.

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