June contains so many wonderful things from Father’s Day to school ending and all of the summer fun that begins!
I write this in honor of my late father for two reasons. First and foremost because of Father’s Day and second because I was fortunate enough to inherit his coin collection which I continue to carry on and is the reason I became interested in studying numismatics (just a fancy word for coin study or collecting).
Growing up, my sister and I knew our Father enjoyed collecting many things, but only certain things and he didn’t waste his money on things he didn’t need or really, really want. At some point we began to buy my Dad’s presents strictly from his “list”. The “list” would have the comic books he needed to complete a set or the coins he was looking for to add to his ever-growing assortment.
When I first got the privilege of carrying on his coin collection, I knew some studying would be involved and study I did! Even though he and I had different interests in coin collecting, we certainly had many things in common. We both liked collecting coins from eras that carried great memories for us. He enjoyed collecting buffalo nickels and silver dollars, while I specialized more in vintage gold and modern bullion. I am fascinated with gold fractional coins because in the 1980’s everybody wanted a gold coin ring. The demand was so high, as was the price of gold, that jewelry manufacturers even created gold coin “replicas” to be used in jewelry.
The most enjoyable part of collecting for me is the history behind each piece. As a matter of fact, many historians have used coins as a way to determine the history of certain ancient societies. With summer upon us, I highly recommend coin collecting as a summer hobby for children. I personally think it’s one of the most interesting ways to learn history. You can start with something as simple as the U.S. Lincoln cent, which most of us have floating around in the car or in a jar at home. Coin collecting doesn’t have to be expensive and you will be surprised at how much history your children will ‘accidently’ learn while studying coins; and the more they learn the more interesting it gets.
For example, did you know that in 1943, due to the wartime needs of copper for World War II, the U.S. mint stopped using copper for the Lincoln cent and used steel coated with zinc? This Lincoln cent became known as the “steel penny” and was only minted in the year 1943. These “steel pennies” now sell for around 12 cents each. Not bad for a coin that was once only worth 1 cent! There were also a few steel cents accidently struck in 1944 and they have been known to sell for as much as $77,000!
Numismatics can be an excellent hobby for both boys and girls alike. I was surprised when my husband pointed out that I was the only woman he knew that had a coin collecting hobby. I was even more surprised when I was contacted by the American Numismatics Association who said that I am one of a very few women studying numismatics and that they are trying to establish scholarships to encourage women to take up the study. Thanks to my parents, I never felt as if anything educational was just for boys or just for girls and I hope you feel the same.
You may wonder if I took up Comic book collecting like my sweet father. Well, no! I actually have a complete set of Beavis and Butthead comic books from the 1990’s that I will gladly sell! Any takers?
I may not have assumed my father’s comic book fascination, but his love for coin collecting is a legacy that I will carry on for years to come. For more information on coin collecting and how you can get started, visit https://www.money.org/