Recently I engaged in an exchange of emails with D.S., a highly
successful dealer in the Midwest. He read my recent Coin
World article about the appeal of collecting obsolete bank notes
of the era 1782 to 1866. I had suggested that great rarities can be
obtained inexpensively, and that every note has a story to tell.
D.S. commented, in part:
“I have enjoyed reading your articles on obsolete bank notes. It’s
nice to read about other true collectors of these wonderful pieces of
history! At age 19 I started collecting the rare obsolete and National
Bank notes the small town in which I have lived all my life. Dealers
and collectors alike told me, ‘They are too rare for a young collector
to find, and afford should one come along.’ Well I chose not to listen
to them, and this October, at age 26 I finished my collection! I am
now the second collector to have one each of the obsolete notes, and
the ONLY collector to have the complete run of obsolete and National notes.”
I thanked D.S. for his nice words, engendering this reply:
“The coin business has been good to me. This year I was able to
buy a house with a few acres. This is due to the public’s interest in
bullion. However I am growing tired of the bullion market, and other
areas of the coin market such as the new five-coin set of American
Eagles (which I did not buy). I find myself daydreaming about the days
when silver was $5 and gold $250 per ounce or so and people just
collected for fun. Those were wonderful days and I hope they return!
Looking up the ‘spot’ price and having to hurry to ‘flip’ a group of
coins before the price falls gets old fast! Reading your articles and
books takes me back to the days when coins were for collecting — for
fun! Yes, I still re-read your books, over and over! Take care.”
Take heed! Many wonderful areas in numismatics beckon with
scarcities and rarities available at very affordable prices.
Investigate a niche specialty! Tokens. Medals. Or investigate a
federal series that is not “hot” now (1892 to 1954 silver
commemoratives in grades such as Mint State 63 and MS-64 come to
And, I enjoy my set of 50 State quarter dollars — they cost less
than a dollar each in gem Mint State!
I could mention 101 other fascinating specialties.
Q. David Bowers is chairman emeritus of Stack’s Bowers Galleries
and numismatic director of Whitman Publishing LLC. He can be reached
at his private email, firstname.lastname@example.org,
or at Q. David Bowers, LLC, Box 1804, Wolfeboro, NH 03894.