US Coins

An appealing hobby

A common 1909 Lincoln, V.D.B. cent is inexpensive. It is a coin with a story and a nice United States coin to own. It is perhaps the perfect poster coin to represent numismatics in America.Images courtesy of Stacks Bowers Galleries.

Images courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries.

In the late 1960s I became an acquaintance, then a friend, of Farny Wurlitzer. Born in 1883, he was chairman emeritus of the Wurlitzer Co. and had an office in North Tonawanda, N.Y.

“You are so lucky, Dave,” he said to me. “When my company used to be the leader in selling pianos and theater organs we had many satisfied customers. However, as delighted as they might have been, they did not come back to buy another instrument. With coins, if a customer is happy, he can keep buying for years!” How true!

Here is a little check list of nice things about rare coins for you to contemplate in 2013:

? Coins can be described briefly and with certification tagging in words that everyone finds easy to understand.

? Coins are an excellent store of value. Historically a carefully acquired collection has nearly always generated a profit if held for a period of time.

? Coins are small, easily shipped and easily stored.

? The market is truly international.

? The Internet is made to order for coin buying and selling. The field will advance as technology advances.

? Coins need no registration nor  to have information filed about them.

? Coins are not taxable when held.

? A collection can be kept as private as desired.

? At the same time a fine collection of different coins can be built over a period of years.

? No special facility is required. Coins can be collected in a condo on Fifth Avenue, at a ski cottage in Montana or on a farm in Kansas.

? The hobby has many market sources, no monopolies or oligopolies, no market price fixing. It is competitive and open.

? Pleasure can be obtained by sharing a collection with others, reading about it, belonging to societies and the thrill of the hunt in seeking coins.

? An interesting specialized collection can be formed for a few thousand dollars or for millions. Value is in no way related to pride of possession and enjoyment of rare coins.

? And now, perhaps the winner: Nearly all numismatists I have met are really nice people. My best to you for a great 2013!

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,,
or at Q. David Bowers LLC, Box 1804, Wolfeboro, NH 03894.

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