Note from the author: As I am on vacation this week, I repeat my column from late November last year. The message is timeless and well worth repeating.
My grandfather Louis Heller was one of those who inspired me to become a coin and paper money collector. Before he died in the 1980s, he gave me a cigar box of inexpensive foreign coins from his collection. There weren’t any silver coins among them. In fact, they still today have minimal value. But, every piece has my grandfather’s handwriting on the 2×2 holder. To me they are priceless.
When you contemplate your gift-giving this season, think about what items you could bestow that would have enduring value. While perishable gifts such as food, drink, and flowers are certainly enjoyable and appreciated, they won’t be around years from now to remind the recipient of your thoughtfulness.
Numismatic gifts, in contrast, may last for centuries. If properly stored, they can remain in the same condition as they are today. They are items unlikely to be discarded and forgotten about. They have the potential to spark happy memories time after time for years and decades. In other words, coins and paper money are gifts of enduring value.
Remember, coins and currency tell stories. They can be appreciated for their artistry, history, geography, the theme, the dat, or the nation of issue.
However, simply giving coins or paper money as gifts, while nice, may be more appreciated if you add something extra. Numismatic gifts can be more meaningful if accompanied by an album or other means of storage or a reference catalog where the coin or bank note can be researched.
Even more memorable could be your sharing the gift of your time to tell these stories. Years later, it may be the time you spend together discussing the story of money that may be treasured more than the actual pieces you give.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. In the process of giving gifts of coins and paper money and your time to share these stories, you just might be giving yourself a gift of enduring value.
Patrick A. Heller was honored as a 2019 FUN Numismatic Ambassador. He is also the recipient of the American Numismatic Association 2018 Glenn Smedley Memorial Service Award, 2017 Exemplary Service Award, 2012 Harry Forman National Dealer of the Year Award and 2008 Presidential Award. Over the years, he has also been honored by the Numismatic Literary Guild (including in 2021 for Best Investment Newsletter), Professional Numismatists Guild, Industry Council for Tangible Assets and the Michigan State Numismatic Society. He is the communications officer of Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Mich., and writes Liberty’s Outlook, a monthly newsletter on rare coins and precious metals subjects. Past newsletter issues can be viewed at www.libertycoinservice.com. Some of his radio commentaries titled “Things You ‘Know’ That Just Aren’t So, And Important News You Need To Know” can be heard at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday and Friday mornings on 1320-AM WILS in Lansing (which streams live and becomes part of the audio archives posted at www.1320wils.com).