Steve Roach

The Art of Collecting

Steve Roach

Steve Roach, Coin World’s editor-at-large, has been deeply involved with numismatics for more than 20 years, starting as a young coin collector in Michigan. Two years spent as a coin grader, nearly three years at a major coin wholesaler and a stint as a paintings specialist at an international auction house have given Steve a rich understanding of the hobby, its market and the unique personalities and exceptional objects that make collecting meaningful. He joined Coin World in 2006 as a columnist, and has served as associate editor and editor-in-chief. He received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Michigan, a juris doctorate from the Ohio State University and is a Certified Member of the International Society of Appraisers.

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Is being a coin collecting ‘oddball’ such a bad thing?

Are numismatists oddballs, and is that necessarily a bad thing? 

Several of our eagle-eyed readers picked up on Jessica Pressler’s March 20 review of Kabir Sehgal’s new book Coined: The Rich Life of Money and How its History Has Shaped Us published in New York Times Book Review

Pressler writes that the book’s author (an investment banker) is “not unaware of his privilege, and his thoughtfulness comes across as a pleasant surprise, particularly in the latter half of the book, where he introduces a gang of numismatists — coin collectors — whose hobby in the social food chain probably ranks somewhere below gold bugs and just above Civil War reenactors.” She adds, “Sehgal is respectful, even affectionate toward these oddballs,” ending the review, “Cool story, bro.” 

Perhaps a harsh assessment.  

Considering that, generally speaking, numismatists are financially successful, well-educated and among the most interesting people I’ve encountered, as a numismatist, I suppose I’ll wear the oddball badge with pride.

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Older Comments (1)
Thanks for your comment! Sometimes the same kind of mind that enjoys intricacies of mettalurgy, sculpting, economic ---- see, I'm already defending myself. Fascinating how that happens; your article could help a lot of kids (and also have meaning for adults).

For me, I have been primaly odd my entire life, and my baseball half dollar is my favorite fiddle toy and conversation starter. Buying the Arkansas Half Dollar from a Stack's Bowers auction helped me feel more at home after I moved to Arkansas.

Nothing to defend. Coin on.