Share your love for the numismatic hobby with your friends

Designs of the Times: Collecting is more than just stashing away in a safe — learn, enjoy and make memories
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 08/12/16
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Designs of the Times column from the Aug. 29, 2016, issue of Coin World

I just returned from a trip to a friend’s house where we spent a wonderful weekend immersed in our collections. It has been a long time since I have had the opportunity to share “numismatic geek” time like this. It reminds me of the reasons I collect these interesting coins.

We, all too often, amass significant collections of coins only to relegate them to the dark confines of a safe-deposit box until the time comes to sell them. Is this really how we want to collect?

The sharing of our passion with a like-minded collector will be very rewarding. It may even grace your collection with a duplicate or two.

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Do not be intimidated if your collection is inferior to your friend’s — the fun and knowledge you acquire will more than make up for the difference. I was totally outclassed by his collection in nearly every instance, but when I had a winner it really made me smile! 

The research we did on die marriages and odd die states expanded the knowledge for both of us on the different series we studied. Each collector looks at a coin differently, and what may appear to be common knowledge on one person’s part becomes new information for another.

In particular, I was able to study some of the early Draped Bust half dimes that I do not collect. He had a wonderful example of the 1801 half dime LM2 marriage, which Daniel Valentine in The United States Half Dimes had cataloged as two different die marriages (Valentine 1 and Valentine 2) due to what he thought was a die cud on the obverse. The ”cud” on his coin actually was proven to be a deep die clash of the eagle’s tail feathers! My friend’s coin was high enough grade to see other evidence of the die clash, like arrowheads from the reverse “floating” in the field of the coin behind Liberty’s head. Having two (or more) sets of eyes on a question will always give better results than studying in a vacuum. 

We spent a very enjoyable two days looking at coins and trading stories on how we obtained them. 

Memories of collectors now gone abounded, often inspired by a coin including them in its provenance. Much laughter and a few tears accompanied the stories and memories, as we made new memories of our own.

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