Any numismatist has a story to tell, whether it be how they
began, why they collect or a story that occurred somewhere along
the way. My story is about how I began collecting.
As many children do, I had my small jar of coins that I had
accumulated over time and for one reason or another found
fascinating. They included half dollars, Sacagawea dollar coins,
wheat pennies (half of which I likely lost before they could make
it into my collection), foreign coins and any obscurities I found.
Many of these coins I found by sorting through my dad's mountains
of coffee cans of change in the garage. I would get paid about 10
cents per roll of coins I wrapped and I could keep any coins I
liked. At the time it seemed like a fair agreement.
Eventually, as time went on, I stopped sorting those coins and
essentially forgot about my jar. I would break it out once in a
while simply to see what I had or add a half dollar I received from
the tooth fairy. Time continued to roll by. A few years later, I
was sitting with my mom and she was telling me stories of how her
father would sometimes give her a half dollar when he got some.
Knowing I had some in my jar, I went to my room, took it from its
shelf and showed her my small collection. As she was sifting
through my coins, a few nickels stood out to her. She asked me why
I had saved them and I simply replied that I thought they looked
neat and stood out from the others.
I decided to research how much they were worth because they were
old (by my pre-numismatist standards). I learned about the silver
war nickels and decided to check my three nickels to see (by some
chance) if mine were that type. Sure enough, two out of the three
nickels I had saved were silver! I was ecstatic. Even though the
value of the coins was only a few dollars put together, I was so
fascinated by the fact that I had picked out those specimens simply
by their color and that you could still find silver in
The next day, as soon as I got up, I went to get some more
coffee cans and see if I could find another. After about four cans
and searching for an hour, I found yet another. I was whooping with
joy. I continued to research coins and tasked myself with learning
more about them. My love of those familiar medal disks had truly
I learned about the silver years and the different types of
minting and pretty soon I was off looking for coins to buy on ebay.
I could not stop looking. I eventually settled on five silver proof
quarters and snapped them up for $29. I felt that I was officially
Though I have now moved on to collecting other types of coins,
not just those memorable silver war nickels, I still can't help but
remember that fateful week that I began coin collecting.
Every collector has a story so never be afraid to share