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Pay It Forward


I became a coin collector in 1964 and a coin dealer in 1981. Beyond just collecting and buying and selling numismatic items, I have expanded my appreciation for the field through sharing my knowledge and experience with many different people in a variety of ways. If you have enjoyed the hobby and industry of numismatics and precious metals, I ask you to consider paying forward this enjoyment.

Numismatics involves the study of many fields including art, culture, finance, geography, history, languages, mathematics, politics, production technology and science. It is a hobby that can be appreciated by anyone around the world, of any age, and at just about any level of prosperity.

Many collectors already take the time to share their hobby with younger family members. That is an excellent way to pay it forward. You invariably discover that your own appreciation and enjoyment of numismatics expands when you share your time, talent and treasures with others. But, there are so many other opportunities of paying it forward beyond your family and close friends.

Here are a few ideas on other ways to pass along your enjoyment of numismatics:

• Join and support numismatic organizations all the way from local to the national level, from general to specialized niches. Consider volunteering your time as an officer of or making presentations to one or more of these organizations.

• Have you ever thought about serving as an exhibit judge, bringing your numismatic knowledge into this service?

• The Scouts still have a coin collecting merit badge, where they are always looking to add more merit badge counselors.

• Consider creating presentations to deliver to children in school classes, 4-H groups, Girl Scouts and Scouts, and other youth groups. For instance, I created a PowerPoint presentation titled, “The Rise And Fall of Rome’s Money – And What It Means For America Today” that I have delivered to dozens of high school world history classes at different schools over the years, where the students were able to hold in their hands actual coins spent up to 2,000 years ago. When making presentations to younger school students, I have been known to pass around a $500 or $1,000 Federal Reserve Note and tell them that when they go home that night to tell their family that they held these notes at school that day to see if they were believed. Only after telling their family that news did I suggest they could then tell them that Mr. Heller from Liberty Coins made a class presentation. When I do this, the class teachers almost always crack up laughing – which is the point!

• Also consider creating presentations for adult or mixed-age groups such as at churches, fraternal and community organizations, senior citizens groups and the like. I have created different PowerPoint presentations titled “Fun With Money” and “Oops! A Lighthearted Review Of Design Mistakes On Circulating U.S. Coins.” The focus of both of these programs is to present audiences with what makes the study of money interesting and enticing.

• Look for a way to help locally promote the American Numismatic Association’s National Coin Week or similar events.

If you survey the numismatic landscape, I’m sure you can find other opportunities to pay forward your enjoyment of the hobby.

Paying forward to others what you appreciate about the study and collecting of money will almost certainly add to your own enjoyment. However, there is also a financial consideration – the more potential future collectors there are, the higher will be the demand for what you might have in your own holdings, potentially leading to higher values.

By the way, if you would like to examine copies of my various PowerPoint presentations, which you would be welcome to adapt for your own purposes, just send a request to me at

Good News for Numismatists

At either the 2018 or 2019 U.S. Mint Numismatic Forum, I had the opportunity to talk with U.S. Mint Director David Ryder for a time. I suggested one means by which the U.S. Mint could increase its profits would be by striking limited extra quantities of circulation strike half dollar and dollar coins to put into circulation. I pointed out that, since the Mint was already authorized to strike these coins, no new legislation would be required to do so.

I now see that the Federal Reserve Bank has been ordering 2021-dated Kennedy half dollars from the Mint to be put into circulation. This has been done with no fanfare. Is it possible that my raising of this idea might have contributed to this development? Neither the Mint nor the Fed are answering questions about this policy change.

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 twice in 2020), 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 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