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Dad will be missed

My father died Sunday at 10:10 p.m. I was with him at the end. Other family members were at his side as well.

That is why there was no blog post yesterday.

At times like this, memories flood my mind. Some are even appropriate for this space.

I have paid tribute to my mother’s role in making me a coin collector, but I believe my father played his part as well.

He was born during the Great Depression. Times were tough. He learned the value of a dollar and hard work.

Those values he wanted to pass on to me.

This is a long process. Children don’t simply take orders to properly value money and labor.

My father was an accountant. His was a world of numbers and financial concepts.

Before I became a coin collector, he showed me a Series 1953 Red Seal $2 United States Note. He told me you didn’t see $2 bills often. I was fascinated. I was 6 or 7 years old.

It became mine. I don’t know if he gave it to me on the spot, or if the process took a little bit longer.

In any event, I got it. I kept it. I still have it.

In a child’s world of small allowances and candy stores, that note was a vehicle to what are now called teachable moments.

Like every child, I wanted more than I could have. But some things were just a stretch. My father would lend me money when I was in a tight spot if I would post the $2 bill as collateral with him. The understanding was if I did not pay back the loan, I would not get the $2 bill back.

I don’t know how often I did this. It was more than once, but it was not a regular occurrence.

In small steps like this I learned how the world worked.

My father might have taught his lessons too well. I not only learned the value of a dollar, I eventually learned to value all the dollars ever struck by the U.S. Mint as well.

When I discovered that silver dollars existed, I asked for some. One day he brought two home for me and two for my younger brother.

I was a bit jealous because being a budding collector I realized that I had two 1923 Peace dollars while my brother had a 1922 and a 1923.

But I learned. I still have those two silver dollars.

It wasn’t long before I was doing things myself. I had not yet reached my 9th birthday when the Kennedy half dollar was released.

My mother gave me the 90 cents required to buy two at the local bank on the condition that one would go to my brother. (Yes, the bank sold them at a discount when paid for with scarce change during the coin shortage).

In small town America, an 8-year-old like me could walk downtown to the bank by himself, wait in a long line and come home with the halves.

I had a wandering streak at the time as I explored my world and coins were part of the world I was discovering.

As I became older and progressively more independent, my father’s role diminished. But it had been enough.

After those early days I was firmly and always a collector.

Thanks, Dad.

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.”

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2 Responses to Dad will be missed

  1. epowers says:

    Mr. Harper…What a truly moving and poignant “Blog” in tribute to your Dad! My sympathy upon your loss. It was my Mother and my Uncle Ken who first interested me in collecting coins when I was about five years old. As I wrote in a previous Letter to the Editor, Mother gave me a quarter back in about 1962. It was a 1901-S and, as I mentioned earlier, it was the senior Mr. Stack, himself, who told me the value of that quarter when I sold him my U.S. Collection in 1968. My Uncle Ken began to give me Morgan silver dollars and those, too, proved to be quite valuable. When I began to collect coins again six years ago, I decided to collect World Coins (not Canada or Mexico or U.S.) This pursuit has brought me joy and gladness. But, that doesn’t mean, however, that I’ll ever forget my Mother and my Uncle’s help and support when I amassed my little U.S. Collection. We have so much to be grateful for and having parents who cared, well, it just doesn’t get any better than that. May you be comforted at this difficult time. Sincerely, Evelyn Powers, Bloomington, Indiana

  2. hrlaser says:

    I’m logged into the site, and posted this once, and it did not appear when I re-loaded the page, so I’ll post it again.. if it shows up twice, blame it on your Web site.. I’ve seen the same thing happen before..

    Dave.. my most sincere sympathies to you and your family on the loss of your Dad. My late Dad passed away in 1985, when I was only 35 years old. I was the last member of his family to see him (barely) alive in the ICU of a hospital, after he developed a massive infection after surgery. He was only seventy. I miss him every day of my life. He was my best friend. He was a highly-educated University Dean of Humanities, worked for the State of Calif, and due to forced retirement rule at age 65, he only had five lousy years of retirement before we lost him. I have tons of his possessions, including all the coins we bought together. We were never a rich family, but we weren’t poor either. Just middle class. Sure, we argued. Who doesn’t argue with their Parents, but Dad meant so much to me and I can’t even wrap my mind around the fact that I haven’t seen him since 1985. I have a bajillion photographs of him, but only two voice recordings. I could go on, but I’ll leave it a that. Again, my sympathies and throughts go out to you at this difficult time.

    Kindest Regards..

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