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What I don’t know keeps me going

When I began to collect coins as a kid, there were two things that really appealed to me.

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The first was filling Whitman albums from change. Putting a collection together and perhaps finding a coin with a low mintage was great fun.

Learning about the coins I was collecting was the second factor. Now learning can be routine, or it can turn into a treasure hunt for facts. It can be like solving a mystery.

Consider the news that the Confederate half dollar and the Confederate cent will be displayed at the summer convention of the American Numismatic Association in Philadelphia.

I would have asked why only four of these halves were made. Why don’t we know who owned them? How in the world did it get into circulation? Was it taken by a Union soldier as a prize of war and simply spent as 50 cents?

We don’t know. But the possibility of answering these questions and questions like them kept me studying.

There are other stories that hit me in the gut just like this.

Last week, we reported on a hoard of 1883 “No Cents” Liberty Head nickels in the Heritage Central States Numismatic Society convention auction.

Otherwise known as the Racketeer nickel when gold plated, some of these 1883 nickels were purportedly passed as $5 gold pieces, cheating merchants.

The government sure changed the design fast enough, issuing the “With Cents” design by June of 1883.

Something motivated the quick action.

The story of the 1916 Standing Liberty quarter with the undraped breast was definitely a crowd pleaser for teenage boys. Was the country really in an uproar when the coin reached the nation’s pocket change?

I wanted to know.

Each and every day, I wake up in numismatics wanting to know more.

The older I get, I like to review the old favorite stories as well. It is a bit like listening to the rock ’n’ roll of my youth on the car radio when I am driving somewhere.

The need for information, nostalgia and the economic motive of buying and owning coins that are hard to get are all factors that keep me coming back again and again and again.

It has been my good fortune that I share an interest with many other people who think and act similarly.

What new mystery will crop up tomorrow? Who knows? Often I don’t know what will appear on the Numismatic News cover until 24 hours before it must be designed.

Being a coin collector has fulfilled many a wish that I have had along the way. The best part is that I am still wishing for things to happen that I might just see fulfilled if I keep on coin collecting. So that is just what I will do.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

More Collecting Resources

• Are you a U.S. coin collector? Check out the 2019 U.S. Coin Digest for the most recent coin prices.

• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2018 North American Coins & Prices guide.