This time of year the news is always full of stories of people being generous to others, and invariably there will be a report of a valuable coin being dropped into a Salvation Army kettle. On December 15, in fact, someone donated a gold 1979 Krugerrand coin in this way in Reno, Nevada. Even more interesting was the report that an anonymous donor was giving $86 million dollars worth of Bitcoin to charitable causes. This is a new twist on an old story!
For the coin enthusiast, the holidays are always a good time to spread numismatic cheer. In fact, it’s tradition. The wise men brought the infant Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh, after all, and, according to legend, St. Nicholas gifted bags of silver coins to the girls of a noble family that could not afford their dowries. This is what began the habit of hanging out stocking for St. Nicholas to fill. Most parents do not fill Christmas stockings with coins, but why not? It’s hard to find good stocking stuffers.
If you have young relatives or friends you think might be interested in coin collecting, Christmas and birthdays are always opportunities. You do not need to invest a great deal of money to jumpstart this hobby for children. They are often excited to sort through a bag of coins or will be happy to have an America the Beautiful quarter folder to fill. They can then search through rolls to find what’s missing from their collection. Over time they will discover for themselves that there are differences in condition, dates, and mint marks and that these affect coin value, but to begin with the hunt is exciting enough.
The Lincoln wheat cent is another good coin for young collectors to focus on. There are so many varieties, and they can be searched for without spending very much money at all. Filling up an empty wheat folder is a great beginning challenge for a child.
Coins can also be a way to show kids tangible evidence of history. If you have a daughter or son who is studying American history in school, what better way to connect them to that than to give them a colonial or early American coin? Coins from around the world can help pique interest in geography and other cultures as well, and many of them are affordable. Even from an art perspective, the differences in coin design are fascinating. Kids love to touch and inspect coins.
This December why not go to the bank, ask for some coin rolls, and start a young child on a lifetime treasure hunt? If coin collecting has brought you pleasure in life, give the gift of coin collecting to others.
Mullen Coins would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our clients and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for being a part of our business in 2017!