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It started with a curious penny on a sidewalk


From the Numismatic News 60th Anniversary Special Issue – Bob Jaques • Hartselle, Ala.

Back in the late 1940s, as a 9-year-old in Minneapolis, Minn., I was walking down a sidewalk with a friend and I noticed a small dark round object lying ahead of my feet.

I kept on walking, but as I started to pass the object I decided to stop and pick it up. It was a penny that had an Indian headdress on the front and the words “ONE CENT”on the back. But it was very dark in color and I had to wipe it to see the date. It read 1898! Wow! That was old!

I put it in my pocket, thrilled that I had something from the 1800s. The next time I went downtown with my friends I remember walking by a coin store and seeing coins in a box. And there they were, a lot of those one cent coins with the Indian on it. I went in and asked about these coins. When I came out of the coin shop I was excited and determined to start a collection of the Indian one cent coins.

And so I worked odd jobs getting money to buy an Indian penny when I could go downtown to the coin shop.

That’s how it started for me. Now I am in my early 70s and still am active as a coin collector. I enjoy working with young folks trying to interest them in this fine hobby, and I also work as a Boy Scout Coin Merit Badge counselor. I am also the President of the Madison County Coin Club in Huntsville, Ala., where we encourage members to share their own collections with each other.

Coin collecting has been a wonderful hobby for me all these year, and I owe it all to curiosity about what was lying on the sidewalk so many years ago.

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