CentSearcher's Blog

28 Nov 2020

The First Sparks of Numismatics

Coins-United States | CentSearcher

Happy thanksgiving everyone! I hope you had a great thanksgiving break, and plenty of new memories with your family. I was thinking about what my next topic will be for my weekly blog and with all the family history in mind right now it reminded me of how I started collecting. On both sides of the family I have grandparents who were devoted to the hobby, though I do not have much of a clear memory of them. I believe that most of the YNs out there were drawn in by a grandfathers collection, or I odd looking coin sitting in pocket change. These subtle encounters with coins plants a seed of interest into one's brain, that will continue to grow under the right circumstances. Today I'd like to take a look at how the "Hobby of Kings" came to being, as well as how I started it. Let's dive right in!

If you are new to numismatics, you may be wondering why I referred to it as the hobby of kings. Well, that is exactly what it was back then. Many people at the time made barely enough money to sustain themselves and their family, and collecting coins was something not considered even an option. That's sort of like a 8 year old trying to collect 20 dollar bills. But, that doesn't exclude everyone. There were also plenty richer families, as well as kings, that had the time and money to follow numismatics, hence the name hobby of kings. Now let's skip to the mid 1800s. This is when large cents were still being struck. But imagine having to deal with a coin almost as large as a half dollar but worth only one cent. It only makes sense to downsize the early american coppers, and that is what we see happen in 1857. Of course when the US mint announced the change with the change (see what I did there) the public went into a mad scramble to complete a set of large cents from 1793 to 1857, though the key dates were mostly ignored. This scramble ignited an interest across the nation, which would only continue to build. Quick fact, a numismatologist was what was referred to as a coin collector, though that quickly changed to numismatist. In 1858 the American Numismatic Society began in response to the trend, and many publications and clubs soon followed.

In the late 1900s, hobbies were plentiful, including stamps, coins, sports cards, and much more. So it isn't uncommon to have a father or grandfather who is associated with the hobby. My grandfather was a Numismatist, and when he passed away my dad inherited 1/5 of his collection, which is still a large lot. On occasion my dad would take the collection out of his closet, and I would admire it. I also received a few coins from him, such as a proof set from my birth year with a handwritten by him. Then on my other side of the family we have another big time collector. My mom handed down a morgan dollar from his collection, which I put in my "memory box" with other coins of numismatic value. This memory box that I had continued to expand as I added random coins that I was given or found in circulation. Finally, I took them out and decided to give it a try. My dad picked up some whitman folders, and I got to work filling them out. I went through a phase of straining hard on my folders, until I was out of resources. This is wher I had a moment of hesitation, and I admit I nearly began to pack it all up. But then, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. What does this have to do with anything? In short, lots of things. My treatment for Crohns is in a Charlotte, which is an hour drive from my house. This opened a window, for there was a coin shop in the area and so my parents let me take a quick stop there. I was in awe of the different coins in all grades dating back to the 1700s, and I never turned back from there. I have an infusion once every two months now, and that is when I take the chance to swing by the coin shop. The relationship between my condition and my hobby are very strange, but it works out. My membership with the ANA is actually also related to my condition. My infusions last 2 - 3 hours, so what better way to pass time than read the Numismatist? That is exactly what I did. In what in the hospital that I joined the ANA, and I now benefit from my membership in more ways than what I originally suspected.

Wow. I planned on making this blog a short one, but I just kept on typing and typing. I guess I had more to share than I thought. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog! How did you come to become a numismatist, or join the ANA? Let me know in the comments, or you can write your own blog in you want to go a little more in depth like me. Stay safe, and keep on collecting! Your fellow numismatist, CentSearcher


Coin Keeper

Level 3

I actually started coin collecting when I found an odd looking quarter. Unfortunately, it was only an environmental damage quarter though :)


Level 4

Health problems are hard to deal with, but it sounds like you passion for the hobby is helping. Love the local coin shop.


Level 4

Nice blog! Coin Collecting is the hobby of kings and the king of hobbies! :)

I first started collecting with blue Whitman folders, and those are some of my fondest memories.


Level 6

Nice blog. I too get to visit infusion every month or so. Different reason. My Grandpa's gave me Morgan's for gifts that I promptly spent for face value junk. I always seemed to collect something through my life. I definitely have the collector gene. Now I mainly collect Peace Dollar VAMs and MPC's. Hang in there. Thanks.

Mike B

Level 7

Great blog . We have something in common that stops me from collecting now and then. I'm glad your doing better. I'm sorry you suffer from it. But my neurosurgeons told me about coins and how it would help me with my traumatic brain injury. The hobby of kings did that. Sure we have bad days . I turn to my coins to help me. Your journey and mine are different but the same. We both love coins. He good be well and be safe . Thank you for a great story.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

I'm truly sorry to learn of your having to deal with I.B.D., but it sounds like they got it under control, so that's a good thing Like a lot of you all, I inherited coins but they were from my grandmothers. I have a pretty awesome foreign collection from them but also inherited a nice and large collection of Morgans and Peace dollar collection. But I got started on my own. My mom's family was from Buffalo and I would pick up a lot of Canadian change on my own. The when we visited the locks on the saint Lawrence seaway, a woman was throwing huge quantities of foreign coins by the handfuls and I kept them all from that time. I was about 8 and I bought an Indian cent that summer too which I still have. Back then I collected mainly Mercury dimes and Buffalo Nickels too along with everyone's favorite Wheaties.


Level 5

Thank You for sharing your journey to our royal hobby. I started at age 10 and have been going at it for over 50 years. I will admit it has not been a solid 50 years, there were some years, when I was in my teens, and when I was in my 30s and 40s when I had very divided attention and may have only bought a commemorative, mint set, or proof set but the bulk of those 50 years have been very active indeed. In fact my most active years may be the 2.5 years since I retired. Lots more time and lots more opportunity to pursue club activities, coin volunteerism, and even writing an article or two for publications. My advice to all new collectors, just keep your hand in the hobby even if college, or career, or family start taking up your time. It will be a wonderful companion for your Grandchildren and You down the line.


Level 5

Nice blog. Stories like your journey is what makes the hobby interesting.


Level 5

Nice informative blog. As you pointed out, we all have our "reasons" for being involved in this hobby, mess, stuff, (Depends on what day you ask me), and those reasons are so many and varied. It seems that a common theme are Grandparents, I know my interest started with my Grandfather, Dad, and Uncle who loved to talk and look at their coins. I was five or six when I started rolling coins for my Uncle's Varied coin machines that he had all over town, from that point on I was hooked. Take care of yourself and keep posting "Good Stuff". Later!


Level 5

Beautiful story about family and how your interest in coins started and grew. I got started collecting when the local grocery store did a promotion. They gave out a small plastic case with a board inside, that said coins of yesteryear. You could collect the steel cent, war nickel, silver dime, quarter and half. That got me started. My grandfather saved change for me to look through. Ive always enjoyed coins since then.


Level 5

Wow, thats one amazing story! You have a very clear and direct passion for this hobby, and that was very prominent in this blog. I am continually amazed at what draws new and young people to this hobby, and am glad that you wrote about your unique story. I am among those whose love for numismatics stemmed from a grandparent. TWO actually! I was blessed to receive a small started collection containing a few coins, may of which I have to this day. Once again, thanks CS, I greatly look forward to the next blog! Cheers, NM

Long Beard

Level 5

Great read. My long journey down this road began in 1974 attempting to complete the requirements for the Boy Scout badge. Although I filled the old blue Whitman cent boards, I actually began with the Buffalo nickel. Both of which I still have, along with that merit badge! Just last weekend, I pulled three volumes of cents out, not quite complete beyond 1978, to give to my best friend's son who is ten and recently took an interest finding out that I collected. If you've never done something similar, the look is beyond any value those coins could reach monetary wise. As far as joining the ANA, regrettably, I'm only a first year member. Why not much sooner I could not say, but I'm in for life.

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