US Coins

Five ways to increase your fun

Acquiring new books is a good resolution for the new year. A recent one is New Jersey State Coppers: History, Description, Collecting by Roger S. Siboni, John L. Howes and A. Buell Ish, which catalogs coppers like the coin shown.

Image courtesy of the American Numismatic Society.

Here are five ways for Colonial coin enthusiasts to add more enjoyment during this new year.

Keep better records. Take more careful notes about coins you see at auction lot viewing, on the bourse, in friends’ collections, or in museums. Write all over your books and catalogs; that’s where you’ll look for information when you need it. Print out the eBay auctions you buy.

All of that will come in handy when you want to sell something, or write an article, or are looking to start collecting a new specialty.

Buy more books. Several notable new titles have appeared in the last few months. Also, there are always out-of-print books to acquire, and plenty of non-numismatic titles can inform and expand your numismatic interests. The Internet is no substitute.

Read your books. Be honest: How many hours a week do you spend on coin dealer websites, eBay, or coin-related Internet forums? Cut back by an hour or two a week online, find a comfortable chair and read. Your new knowledge will come in handy when buying coins and making forum posts. Keep a pen handy for note taking.

Take a numismatically inspired trip to somewhere other than a coin show. Go see the tiny Old Treasury Building in Annapolis, Md., and visit the homes of minter John Chalmers and printer Jonas Green nearby. Go see the collection of Vermont coppers at the Bennington Museum. Take pictures in front of B. Max Mehl’s building in Fort Worth, Texas. Walk down the Florida beaches where coins from the Fleet of 1715 wash up. Consider visiting someplace that will make your collection a little more interesting.

Sell one coin from your collection and donate the money to a worthy numismatic charity. We all have forgettable duplicates, or even coins we paid very little for that turned out to be worth much more. Whatever pleasure is derived from owning it, you may more enjoy the act of helping the American Numismatic Society to digitize its collection or sending a Young Numismatist to the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar.

Bonus: Attend a major Colonial coin related event that you’ve never been to before. Whether it is a major Colonial coin auction (there should be at least a couple in 2014) or your first convention of the Colonial Coin Collectors Club in Baltimore, you’ll remember friends you meet and conversations you’ve had long after your acquisitions blend into the rest of your collection.

If your collecting goals in 2014 are to learn more about coins and make more friends who share your interest, there is no replacement for face-to-face interaction.

John Kraljevich Jr. is an independent professional numismatist and researcher specializing in early American coinage.

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