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Community Voice Responses (11/19/13)

From the October 25 Numismatic News E-Newsletter: Do you buy exonumia like tokens and wooden nickels? Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.
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2014 U.S. Coin Digest

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From the October 25 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:

Do you buy exonumia like tokens and wooden nickels?

Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.

As a topical collector (felines), I find most material in medals and tokens. They are also frequently less expensive than coins. One of my other specialties is good luck pieces, which were exclusively medals and tokens until some special coin issues came out recently.

I don’t like the implication that medals and tokens are “exo” (outside of) numismatics. Classical collectors centuries ago included medals as an integral part of their collection, and with ancient coins it’s hard to tell a commemorative medal from a coin.

However, the term exonumia is so useful, I’ve decided to create a new folk etymology: it is a contraction of “EXOtic NUMIsmAtics.”

Simcha Kuritzky
Address withheld

I make exonumia. My business is called Shire Post Mint. You can find my website here:

I make tokens that represent “coins” from fantasy places. We license with science fiction authors and then make the coins that the characters in their worlds would have in their pockets. I believe that it’s a rather new niche and it is becoming quite successful in popular culture. But many mainstream “coin collectors” still scoff at the very idea.

Here we are throwing old screw presses, hand-engraving dies and responding to the demands of genuine economic forces (just as ancient mints did). I would suggest that what we are doing is more real in the context of numismatics than 90 percent of the output of the world’s official government mints. And yet, aside from our listings in Krause’s Unusual World Coins, the bulk of the numismatic world ignores us.

It’s an interesting situation.

Tom Maringer
Springdale, Ark.

No! Never found any wooden nickels that interest me. As far as medals go, I would. If the medal was minted out of the same metal the original medal was made out of.

I do not want some cheap repro. Would you buy a repro of the American Buffalo gold that is gold plated for $29.95 regularly priced at $59.95 limited time only (last five years)?

Douglas Ivey
Address withheld

Yes, Dave, I have bought the old Civil War Era “encased postage” coinage with the advertising on the reverse. I have six examples, ranging from 1 cent through 10 cents.

Gary Modun
Address withheld

My 12-year-old loves collecting medals, wooden nickels and the elongated pennies. Lots of affordable collectibles and historical collectibles!

Randy Woods
Address withheld

Do elongated coins count?

After a lifetime of collecting, mostly minor coins and completing several sets, I have found an interest in elongated cents, especially those associated with the Century of Progress Exhibition in 1933.

Michael Chazin
Address withheld

Yes, I collect exonumia. I graduated from collecting coins to collecting Arizona and western state tokens. I collect the best of both worlds, money related coin like objects and historical artifacts from the turn of the century.

Last August the tokens of the late John J. Ford were auctioned off by Stacks Bowers. I was able to secure all the Arizona tokens I needed in my collection including a unique landmark Arizona token from Crittenden, A.T. (Arizona Territory) that commanded a price of $19,975.00. A record price for any “Good for” token.

I find token collecting very challenging. Many of my tokens are unique or very few known. In the time I’ve been collecting tokens, theoretically, I could’ve owned more 1933 double Eagles, 1804 silver dollars, 1913 Liberty Head nickels than some of the tokens in my collection.

If anybody has any old western state tokens, let me know.

Bob Temarantz
Tucson, Ariz.

Your recent request to know who buys exonumia like tokens and wooden nickels caught my attention like these things do!

My numismatic friends say that I am a proverbial magpie in regard to my collecting habits. They say that anything pretty and shiny goes into my nest.

That is not quite true, although as a collector/writer, I do have a broad interest base that includes many items that are classed as exonumia.

The link between the two major branches of quality “Good for” tokens and true coins is very compelling, and the side dishes of medallions, medals and attractive pieces of “funny money” including wooden nickels also can be historically mouth watering.

As an Australian numismatist, I often came into possession of these baubles while searching for the main treasures, and, eventually, my curiosity got the better of me, but it was not only metallic, plastic and paper that I gathered. The people who collect these things were also added to my hoard.

I believe the many-faceted personal interaction that exonumia and numismatics foster is probably far more important that the items we garner!

I have a great Texan friend of long-standing who is an exonumia guru and collects coins.

He was also curious enough to reach out for knowledge. How we connected is another story with military overtones.

He introduced me to the National Token Collectors Association (NTCA) many years ago, as a source of U.S. information and like-minded gatherers, and I introduced him to my local Tasmanian Numismatic Society (TNS) to answer some Australian questions.

It has been a fruitful and educational association for well over two decades and our inti al start as colleagues has grown to that of friends of the family and although we have never actually met in person, we have watched each others’ kids grow to adults.

Over time, I also became an honorary member of the Anchorage Coin Club and a sister club arrangement between ACC and TNS was also established and friendships developed.

Although the official link has weakened due to hierarchal changes in both clubs in the last few years, I still keep in contact.

I have a nice accumulation of Alaskan tokens of little intrinsic value that I value greatly due to the association that developed between members of the ACC and myself.

I can honestly say that I have had a foot in both camps and I feel comfortable about it.

In the early years, a few heavy packages of coins and exonumia to be used as inter-club educational aids and achievement prizes became regular exchange occurrences between the two clubs and some items were also exchanged at a personal level.

If a future Alaskan collector discovers a few Oz coins and exonumiac bits and pieces in old Anchorage collections and does the homework they may trace them back to these relationships from the early 1990s.

Exonumia was an essential part of the formula that helped me grow into a mentor in my own right, albeit a minor one, who is still accepting advice from the experts!

The hobby has brought me into contact with a few other individual international numismatists and token gatherers of some note with whom I have had a very good relationship that often covers family as well as our interests as varied as they may be.

It is with some humility that I can say that the late Jerry Remick, a great Canadian numismatist, was also a friend and mentor of mine for many years by mail and, of course, he eventually qualified as a Life Member of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society, as well as becoming a fellow recipient of the prestigious Lockwood Medal and winner of several literary awards.

These sorts of good friends, past and present, some with whom I still reciprocate information and, of course, the coins and tokens that make up our collections are now part of who I am.

Graeme Petterwood
Tasmania, Australia

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