US Coins

8 to 19, collector to professional: Guest Commentary

Guest Commentary from the Dec. 21, 2015 issue of Coin World:

Alexandrea Zieman’s numismatic story all started just over 11 years ago. In 2004 our family moved from Minnesota to Florida, and shortly after moving we got a post card in the mail advertising a coin show. I thought it was interesting and thought to show my daughter Alex, and said, “How would you like to go see what I collected as a kid with my Grandfather?” My daughter looked at the card and me and said, “Dad, everyone collects money.” I said “No, this is coin collecting, not collecting money for bills and food.” She then said, “Sure, let’s go.”

That Saturday we went down to the coin show in Tampa with $100 in my pocket to see what we might find to buy. After spending the whole day hunting and buying coins, we came back home broke but had a couple handfuls of bargain bin coins. 

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Alexandrea was hooked. We started going to small coin shows and flea markets almost every weekend. It was so much fun rediscovering coin collecting with my daughter. As time went on and our collection grew, Alex started to take more and more interest in not just coins but the history of coins and minting of them. She also loved meeting others that collected and wanted to hear their stories and tell hers.

A year or so after getting started we both joined our first coin club, the Coin Club of Pasco County. Alexandrea was in heaven — everyone there collected coins and loved talking about them. She looked forward to every monthly meeting. In 2007 a local coin dealer told us of a new local coin club, the West Hernando Coin Club, that just started up in our town. Alexandrea became the club’s first official member and she took so much pride in that. Loving coins and history, Alex started giving club educational presentations, and helped with club raffles, auctions, door prize drawings, and club coin shows.

In 2012, the club surprised Alex with a full scholarship to the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar that year. This was Alex’s first big adventure away from home and family, by herself, at only 16 years old. She flew out to Colorado Springs and took Grading 1 for one week. After coming home from the classes she could not stop talking about how awesome the ANA classes were. The next two years after getting scholarships from the ANA, Alex flew back out to the ANA Summer Seminar and took Grading 2 and then Grading 3 (advanced grading). 

Alexandrea also became the education director of her two local clubs. Shortly after that, Alex became a West Hernando Coin Club’s club secretary.

In December of 2014 at age 18, Alexandrea was elected president of the Coin Club of Pasco County. She was the club’s youngest and only female president ever in its history starting in 1993. 

In April of 2015 Alex was given an opportunity to interview with Numismatic Guaranty Corp. for an internship. After a long interview and even longer weekend, Alex was notified that NGC was offering her a full time job; she started in late May. Alex works as a verifier, finalizer, and now as a modern U.S. coin grader. Alex loves the challenges of working at NGC and all she has learned, and will learn, from so many experienced coin professionals. 

In just over 11 years, starting at 8 years old, Alex went from asking what coin collecting was about to working for NGC and trusted to handle and grade coins professionally at 19 years old. What’s next for Alexandrea? From what I’ve seen and knowing my daughter, the sky is the limit. The hobby of coin collecting is endless and I know she will continue to grow and effect more and more lovers of coins. 

As her father and fellow coin collector, I am so proud of her and all that she stands for in numismatics.

John Zieman is a proud father who collected coins as a kid with his grandfather, then rediscovered collecting 11 years ago with his then 8-year-old daughter. She now works for NGC.

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