This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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I really enjoyed the article by Philip M. Lo Presti in the Dec. 7 issue on “How do we collect?” He encouraged NN readers to write to the editor. Lo, here is how I collect.
During 1973 at 8 and a half or 9 years old, I first saw a wheat cent in pocket change. I was fascinated by it since I never saw one before. I wanted more! I wanted a collection of them. Then, at Christmas 1973, my mom gave me a starter set of Wheat cents that came with a blue folder, cheap magnifier and several 2 by 2 inch white holders.
Of course, at 9-plus years old, I never had much money so I never completed the Wheat cents. I did have all except the four rarest: 1909-S VDB, 1909-S, 1914-D and 1931-S.
At 14 or so, I began to lose interest in coins due to insufficient funds. However, later in life, I saw a bunch of old slot machines in a casino while I was in Nevada during my time in the U.S. Marine Corps 1985-1987. I remember seeing one slot machine behind a glass case full of Barber dimes. I wanted them so bad, I felt like taking off with them.
When I got out of the Marines, my fascination with coins began to come alive again. I was older and had more money, but I didn’t know where the coin dealers were. Then a friend and I went to Apache Plaza one day during the spring of 1988 and I saw a small-time coin dealer there. So, I began buying up all the varieties of Wheat cents, Indian cents, “V” nickels, Mercury dimes, etc.
However, after two years of completing all these basic sets, I got bored with them. I wanted something different. Something exciting such as ancient coins: Byzantine, Venetian ducats circa 13th-15th century, etc. After a while of collecting miscellaneous examples of such coins, once again, boredom set in. What to do?
I thought about what I should collect. I wanted a large collection, one that looks organized, but eclectic enough so as to not lose interest in it. Therefore, I decided to collect a series of regular-issued U.S. year type coins. I thus fell in love with my collection of U.S. type coins from 1929 to 2009 – the Depression years to the state quarters and territories. This is a big collection, in my view, eclectic and looks organized (81 year type sets; 485 coins). All the regular-issued cents to dollars from each year 1929-2009 by date and type when made.
I also completed a fun collection of all the regular issued cents from 1859 to 2009 by date and type (158 cents in all).
My third and most valued collection is the collection of U.S. type coins from the 20th century to the state quarters, which includes the eight basic gold coins along with the nine basic bullion types (four gold, four platinum and 1-ounce silver). It consists of 116 coins in total.
I display these three fun collections in my own customized Capitol plastic 5 by 6-, 6 by 8-, and 3.5 by 6-inch frames. I took out the original inserts, then cut out cardboard to organize the coins how I desire.
It’s a tremendous amount of fun, and I haven’t lost interest in these coins, either.
This Viewpoint was written by Daniel Jones, a hobbyist who is from Moundsview, Minn.
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