Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Heritage Collector's Corner: How a collector is made

Aug. 25
Posted by Anonymous

(Welcome back to Heritage's Collector's Corner, our ongoing reader-submitted entries about the genesis of their own collecting passion. Today's story is actually quite moving in how it shows the power that coins and a sharp mind, in combination, can have. Even more, however, it shows the deep and abiding influence a loved one can have on planting the seed of collecting. In this case a very special grandfather gives the idea to a very smart kid. These make me wish I had been half as erudite when I was a child, and makes me wish a member of my family, any member, had had similar impulses and the desire to guide me through the vast journey of collecting. You can't cry over what you never had, however, so you won't catch me losing sleep over it. Instead, I intend to live vicariously through the writer of this post, and to enjoy his story progressively more each time I read it. - Noah Fleisher)

It started in the fall of 1964, I found a large round thing in the street in front of the vacant house two doors down. My mom and dad could not tell me what it was, but mom said that Grandpa would know, as he had been collecting coins for more than 25 years, but that we wouldn't see him until Christmas.

I remembered to take my coin with me to show grandpa and to ask what it was, but I forgot all about it as soon as we got to my grandparents house and found out I had several gifts under the tree. After lunch grandpa was telling my mom and dad that, starting in Jan 1965, dimes and quarters would no longer be made of silver and that we need to start saving as many as we could, because they would be worth way more than the new coins.

I then remembered my coin. I took it to Grandpa and said that I was a coin collector like him. After everyone stopped laughing, Grandpa said I had found a large cent from England, and it was worth about a nickel.

I was asked by Grandma if I really wanted to be a coin collector. When I said "yes," she gave me some wheat pennies to start me off. The oldest was from 1919 her birth year.

Three days later they came up to our house for my birthday. I got two $1 bills and two silver dimes. My parents said I had to give one to my sister, since all she got for her birthday was two similar $1 bills.

With my 25 cent weekly allowance, and my birthday money, by spring I finally reached $5 in non-silver money. I went with mom to the bank and got a roll of dimes. At home I separated the silver from the copper, then started the whole process over again.

In the fall of 1965 I started school and, after I got to know my friends, told them - with my 40 cent a day lunch money - that I would pay 15 cents for their silver dimes with a man on it, and 20 cents if it had a woman on it (mercury dimes), plus one item off their tray at lunch. I did this for six years and only got caught once.

By 1970 no one could get any silver. In 1972, at church, I found out that the visiting preacher was a coin collector. He told me that silver dimes were worth about 50 cents and that silver quarters were worth about a dollar.

I told him that my collection was worth about $5,000.

What I didn't know was that my dad overheard me.

That night he came into my room, with his belt already folded in his hand, and asked why I would lie to the preacher and his wife. So I had to go and pull out all my jars of silver.

The next day Grandpa came over and verified for my parents what I had in my jars. When they asked where I got the idea to collect from, I said it was from Grandpa, on Christmas day, 1964.

My parents have taken my coin collecting seriously since then.

To leave a comment, click on the title of this post. To submit your story, email to CollectorsCorner@HA.com.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Great Story1 What is your collection worth now?