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Mr_Norris_LKNS's Blog

18 Nov 2020

LKNS Featured on Coin World Podcast

Young Numismatists Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

Hello all!Just wanted to let you all know that yours truly was recently interviewed by Jeff and Chris of Coin World Magazine's podcast last week, and that the podcast was published today! If you would find amusement in hearing me talk about the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society and answer Jeff and Chris's questions about our history, what we do, and where we're going, CLICK HERE to get to the podcast, then give it a listen.Jeff and Chris start out with a discussion on the US Mint's activities recently regarding the WW2 Victory coin issues; the LKNS portion starts a little less than halfway through. However, I would encourage you to listen to the whole podcast, as they offer a good discussion of the Mint topic that seems to have so many collectors annoyed. In fact, the Coin World podcast features lots of good topical discussions and interviews. One of my favorites is their interview with Fred Schwan, someone I consider a numismatic influencer for his work with WW2 numismatics and military numismatics in general. Scroll through their episode listing and see what interests you. Make your commuting time more fun and useful by learning more about your favorite hobby.

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02 Nov 2020

New LKNS Season Off and Running

Club Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

The first Legacy Knights Numismatic Society meeting of the 2020-2021 school year is in the books. We were able to register 20 members, and although we would have room for a few more, I am very happy. Given how the pandemic has impacted how people think about social gatherings, 20 kids in an after school program is great. It's actually right in the middle of our membership average over the years since we've started. Maybe the pandemic is not as much a factor on our numbers as is the fluctuation in class sizes of eligible grades from year to year. I'll have to look into that.We started out with an introduction to LKNS for the benefit of our several new members, and as a review for the returning members who hadn't been to a meeting in a long time due to the cancellation of the last three months of in-person school events last year. Some things could be dry, especially for kids, but if you keep them involved as you go through, and break it up with a few giveaways here and there, you can hold their attention awhile longer.Normally we give out Red Books to our new members. They are usually not current year Red Books; we ask for donations of Red Books from people who want to upgrade to the latest year, because it's not so much the latest prices that we need from these books as much as the information, grading guides, mintage figures, etc. that you can find in a Red Book. I like the size of the Red Books because our students can throw one in their school bookbag without taking up too much space or adding too much weight. Because we haven't been meeting with other coin clubs, we haven't been able to gather second-hand Red Books like we used to. But we have a month to get some.\Next month we have a special presentation about elongated coins for our meeting. The Elongate Collectors Club (TEC) provided this lesson plan to us through a Miami Valley Coin Club member who attended one of the national ANA shows. They made a nice donation of some souvenir elongated cents so that every member could have a couple. I also managed to find a couple of 100+ lots of elongated cents on eBay for a great price. You see these machines across the country but you don't realize how many there are until you start looking on places like www.pennycollector.com and sorting through them by state. They are most common in zoos, museum gift shops, and other local tourist attractions. The National Museum of the US Air Force isn't far from our school and they have 3 machines producing a dozen designs. Kings Island has machines all over the park it seems. The retired designs are fun to find. I managed to find the last retired design of the NMUSAF (back when it was called the USAF Museum) that I was missing: The Apollo 15 capsule. Now I believe I have the complete "official" collection (I've come across a few others but I don't know if they were actually made at the AF museum or not).It's so much fun seeing the kids getting interested in something, learning, and having fun together over a common interest. I'd encourage anyone who loves kids first, numismatics second, to consider starting a YN club at your local school. Schools need volunteers to help interest the kids in learning and developing their minds. Numismatics definitely supports a good well rounded education through all the connections to history, science, math, economics, languages, and cultures. Put together your idea for a club and approach your local school administration. You should have a good basic knowledge of numismatics to start a club, but you do not have to be a professional at it or even know all the answers. You will learn with the kids! Being an organized person in your planning helps (I'm not great at that but am learning). Being organized in running meetings helps too, but when dealing with kids, you can't let a little chaos get in the way of having a good time! Know going in that the kids have limits to their attention span... structure is good, tyranny is not. You'll have to keep them engaged by keeping it simple, keeping it moving, and keeping them actively engaged.But always remember, the kids are more important than the coins.If you believe that, you will make a good club coordinator.What's most important to them is that you care about them, and will make a safe place for them to have fun while learning. They will surprise you with what they learn!

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04 Sep 2020

After Action Report: the "Better Late Than Never" LKNS Auction

Club Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

On Monday, August 31, the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society held its annual Student Members Only Year End Auction for our 2019-2020 school year members.Normally the auction would have happened in May towards the end of the school year, after the students had earned a school-year's worth of Knights Payment Certificates, or KPC, for their participation, to use for bidding in the auction. However, the pandemic threw a wrench in that when the school closed its doors for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Fortunately I was able to stay in touch with our members and parents through email, Facebook, the school e-newsletter, telephone, and the US Postal Service. Our student members were given a summer extension to complete projects normally due in May, which allowed several to earn LKNS medals as well as additional KPC for the auction. Activities were logged and KPC awarded, and auction items were catalogued so the students could plan their bidding.

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20 Jul 2020

The "Better Late Than Never" LKNS Auction

Young Numismatists Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

As an extracurricular activity of our school, the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society has been waiting for some word on back-to-school operational plans for the 2020-2021 school year. We finally got the official plan in writing today. Depending on how you feel about the pandemic and governmental and societal handling of it, the plans will either look like too much, not enough, or a reasonable approach under the circumstances. I believe our school is doing the best it reasonably can, and they do plan to return to the classroom in about a month. Of course this could change as the state and local situations and governmental requirements change. But if it's safe to get back to the classroom and safe to do sports activities again, then it isn't unreasonable to hold other extracurricular activities, as long as we pay attention to reasonable health precautions.LKNS missed its 2019-2020 annual student members only auction because the school was closed for the pandemic. Ohio has been gradually reopening and the state has issued guidance for reopening schools. So that the faithful 2019-2020 members who worked throughout the years to earn KPC to spend at our auction aren't cheated out of that opportunity, We will start the 2020-2021 year by holding our 2019-2020 auction.We have a pretty good collection of auction items started, even though donations were hampered a bit by the pandemic (not being able to meet with people to promote the auction and receive donations, etc). Still we will do OK and have a good time with it.Hopefully we can even turn this into some energy for renewing memberships for the 2020-2021 year.Normally we make the auction kind of a party. We like cookies (they are round and flat like coins), and we wash them down with some bottled water. This time though they will have to be served individually so that the kids aren't touching or breathing on other kids' cookies and water bottles when they get their own. It's possible we might have to skip those altogether... I hope not, because sugar-fueled bidding really makes for a great auction. :-)We usually have the kids bid with paper Knights Payment Certificates denominated in pre-decimal British pounds sterling (pounds, shillings, and pence). We might skip the paper currency this year just to reduce handling it and passing it around. Instead, maybe we'll keep a list of credit for each student.We will put all the auction items on a display table and allow them to be viewed but not handled by any but the auction hosts until the items are won. It's important to see the obverse and reverse of what you're buying, so we will still try to accommodate that.We hold the auction in a large open room, so we will have plenty of tables, chairs, and space to spread everyone out around the room for social distancing. Plus, the kids are being encouraged to bring and wear masks for school (we will see how that goes). We can probably have their won items brought to them at their seat rather than have them walk past each other. Of course, they get excited and have a hard time sitting still, so maybe walking to the table and back would be better than not. (Hmmmm, might have to rethink the cookie-fueled bidding thing...)Maybe this will be a good model for other meetings. With a little thought, clubs could find a way to meet in person again by employing some reasonable health precautions. Lots of clubs involve older people, so I wouldn't want to see any of them catch a virus; but a lack of social contact and loneliness is also taking a toll on people's mental health, and there's a link between the health of a person's mind and their body. So hopefully a safe, healthy balance can be found. If nothing else, we are all a little more aware of how germs spread and can practice good sanitation and hygiene habits in our daily lives.

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27 Jan 2019

Encouraging Young Numismatists

Young Numismatists Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

Every so often our activities and mission strike a chord with a more experienced numismatist, and he or she is inspired to help, whether that's with making a presentation on a numismatic topic at a meeting, volunteering time or resources to help with projects, or donating funding or materials.

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04 Apr 2018

Youth Club Curriculum and Activities

Young Numismatists Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

Youth Club Curriculum Ideas and ActivitiesThe first year of the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society has been highly successful. We increased our membership from 13 last year to 18 this year. All but one returned and six new students joined. One of our members has completed the ANA's Dollar Project, a handful have become Coin Identification Experts, and 15 members have joined the ANA. One of our members even made it out to the Money Museum in Colorado Springs over spring break (a long way from us). LKNS has joined, as a club, both the ANA and the Central States Numismatic Society. You can find our club in the club listings of both organizations.Part of the fun we have is because we mix up the agenda between guest speakers and activities. For 3rd through 6th graders, listening to presentations for long periods of time can be a challenge. We have had interesting speakers present to us some very cool topics and we've really enjoyed what we saw and heard. But to keep a variety we don't do that every month. So we break things up by interspersing speakers with activities. We're developing a curriculum that involves projects from outside sources, as well as projects we've developed in-house. We try to use these activities to support an agenda of developing some good basic numismatic skills that every young numismatist should have.One of our first activities is the Coin Identity Challenge, where a member is given a coin and has to identify its specific type and variety. This gets them familiar with the Krause catalogs we have on the library reference shelf in school, and learn how to use them.Another activity is the ANA Dollar Project. This one is not hard to do, but it takes some effort to complete. All the instructions are on the ANA website. This project gets them familiar with the connection between history and numismatics. It also connects them to the ANA as they send in their projects and receive back their rewards. It also earns them about $50 worth (market value) of nice dollar coins!A third activity is the Coin Grading Project. We have selected specific types of US coins for them to find in their change or collections, then have them use the ANA's US coin grading standards to determine the grade they think it is. Then they compare notes with a local grading expert; if he would grade it differently, they find out why. When they are done, they are familiar with the process and standards of grading, and they are well on their way to a nice US coin type set!Through the ANA's Coins For A's program, we have gotten 15 LKNS members to join the ANA, which has reduced our club membership dues to $0!We also have club parties throughout the year: Christmas, the Society's Birthday in February, and our Annual Awards Party in May. Sometimes we play "Numismatic Jeopardy". Then there's the very popular Members Only Auction at the end of the year. We have gone on field trips to the local coin shop, the local area coin club, and the local annual coin show.One thing I'd like to also make part of our regular curriculum is an activity that works on care and safekeeping of one's collection. We have had a presentation on this in the past, but I'd like to develop a regular activity that reinforces the do's and don'ts of caring for numismatic items.We are looking to expand our program in the next year or two, to gradually offer inclusion of higher grade levels at the school. Some of the members now are already worried that they won't be able to attend once they're past 6th grade! That's a good problem, because you know they are enjoying themselves now. Once we expand into older grades, I'd like to try to develop some activities that explore the minting process, not only so we can identify the factors that affect how coins look, but to make some of our own coins ourselves... wouldn't that be cool!These are our ideas that have worked or are our dreams, and by sharing them I hope we inspire others. If you have some cool youth club ideas that have worked for your club in the past, please share them with us!

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25 May 2017

Our First Student-Members-Only Auction

Young Numismatists Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

The Legacy Knights Numismatic Society ended the school year by holding its first annual student-members-only auction, which turned out to be a rousing success!The idea came about when I was pondering how to fairly distribute donated items among our student members. The donated reference books went to our school library to create a numismatic reference section. That way they are always available during the school year, not only for our Society members, but also the rest of the student body, as a way of perpetuating awareness of our numismatic group.But what about the other donated items? We have 13 members; what would we do with something that couldn't be divided evenly by 13? How would we match these items to the persons who actually had an interest? And what if more than one student wanted an item; how do we give everyone a fair shot at something?Thus was born the First Annual Legacy Knights Numismatic Society End of the Year Student Members Only Auction.Up front, I eliminated the idea that they would use real money for bidding. Not so much to keep the richest kid in the room from winning all the bids, but because the items up for bid were all donations to be given to the kids, or earned as awards for achievements, etc.; not sold to them.I could either have them bid using balance sheets, or I could use "play money". I opted for the latter, as it was more fun. For "security reasons", I opted to design and print my own, rather than buy some online.The auction was conducted using custom-made "Knights Payment Certificates" (KPC, Series 171), which were denominated in British pre-decimal Pounds, Shillings, and Pence: 12 pence to a shilling, 20 shillings to a pound. We used eight different denominations of notes.Now why in the world, you may ask, would I make third graders use pre-decimal British pounds, shillings, and pence? Well, because we are, after all, Knights; and shillings of one variety or another were once used in many European countries where knights lived. But more practically, the British system of £/s/d circled the globe with the British Empire; and our student numismatists, all of whom are learning to identify world coins, would be well served if they could understand that system. And besides, I just thought it would be fun to try.We had to set some auction rules, the main one being that if you overbid and couldn't pay for an item you won, you would forfeit the item, pay a penalty, and be disqualified from bidding for the rest of the auction. This forced them to think about their bids and kept us from wasting time with overbids.Each student received £6 5/- (or 125 shillings) to use for bidding. To make it interesting, I let students bring in their own items to auction ahead of the donated items. In this way, they could add to their bidding funds. One student nearly doubled his funds with the popular items he auctioned. Donated items auctioned included US and foreign coins and currency, such as an 1843 US large cent, a proof Eisenhower dollar, a BU silver US bicentennial half, US silver certificates, a German 5000 mark banknote, a collection of 1800's world coins, several WW2-era coin sets, a subset of Japanese Invasion Money, a page of four different WW2 Allied Military Currency notes, and rolls of wheat pennies. Other popular hobby-related items included a jeweler's loupe and coin collection display folders, with foldovers and storage tubes being bought outright at the end of the auction for a penny or three.If you're an experienced auction buyer you might think bidding among elementary students would be pretty tame. You would be wrong! Some heady sums were reached during the often furious-paced, cookie-fueled bidding. We managed to distribute all the donated items by auction's end. And most importantly, everyone had a lot of fun. We will definitely plan another auction for next year!

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25 May 2017

First Year Report on Legacy Knights Numismatic Society

Young Numismatists Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

I can't begin to tell you how thrilled I have been with how well this endeavor has gone.Our membership is limited to 3rd- through 6th-grade students at our school or its affiliated home school program, parents of those students, and any faculty/staff that wish to join. To give you an idea of the size of school we have, there were 15 students in the 4th grade this year; the other grades were a little larger. So we're pulling from a maximum pool of maybe 90 students. You would think we might get a half dozen members, but no: we ended the year with 13!We were well-supported by the school and the parents. The school let us use the library for meetings and their video system for presentations. The print shop made flyers for us, and the office distributed them to the classrooms. The print shop also printed poster displays for us, and created handsome certificates of appreciation for whenever we had a guest speaker. The principal and teachers oversaw the students' activities during school hours and set some rules, but didn't ban bringing coins or currency, so that helped. We got a very positive mention during a State Of The School meeting that boosted awareness. I had anywhere from one to four parents sitting in on meetings with us and assisting as needed. The IT shop even helped me out with an email account using the school's domain, which really helps you look professional when communicating on behalf of the club.My favorite local coin shop owner encouraged me to go to a coin show put on by the local coin club. My son and I went, and there we met the president of the club and other members. They offered to send guest speakers to present on various numismatic subjects.Our first meeting in February was an introductory meeting, and we covered the topic of how to identify coins and currency. We followed that up with an off-week discovery trip to the local coin shop.For our second meeting of our existence, two gentlemen from the local club came and presented to our students the most appropriate ways to handle, care for, and display their collections, including the differences between coins that go in blue Whitman folders and coins that get sent off to be slabbed. Their presentation was geared right at our members' age and experience levels.For our third official meeting, another local numismatist from the local club came and presented "Numismatics of the American Civil War."The Numismatic Knights wrapped up their inaugural year by holding their first annual awards ceremony and student-members-only auction on May 16. Each member received a medal that will be unique to the inaugural year, created from a Standing Liberty US quarter dollar mounted under a pin-on ribbon drape in a sterling silver bezel. Each member also now has their own copy of Yeoman's "Red Book" US coin guide, donated by the local coin club, along with a handful of coins to check using their new guide.The auction was a smash hit with our young numismatists! It was a great way for them to learn about auctions, bidding, and the pre-decimal British monetary system. I'll explain all that in another blog post. You have seen auctions, but unless you were there I'll bet most Americans reading this haven't seen a roomful of 8- through 11-year-olds trying to outbid each other in pounds/shillings/pence... Even higher odds that you haven't seen American kids try to do it. But they did!Local and regional numismatic clubs and associations have been very supportive as soon as they heard what we were doing. We've received Red Books donated for members' use, coins, collecting supplies, and back issues of "The Numismatist". Our local shop has welcomed our group and helped us locate and obtain things we need.We operated on a shoestring budget. Dues were $20/year but we reduced it to $10 since we started halfway through the year. $5 of it went immediately to buy a small sack of world coins for each member to keep, study, and trade. The rest went toward buying some second-hand Krause catalogs; most of the rest was from donations.I'm finding it takes dedication to do things the way they need to be done, but it pays off with results. We have a great group, with great support, and they are already talking about what we'll do with it next year!You can read more about our Society on our group's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KnightsNumismatics

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21 Mar 2017

Forming a new Young Numismatic Society

Young Numismatists Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

New member here, grateful for the opportunity to join the ANA. I've had great experiences with several other ANA members and am happy to finally associate my name with this institution.Through positive exposure to my crossover interests in history and coins, my son has come alongside me in taking up similar interests. One day he came home from school and exclaimed, "Another kid in my class collects coins! He heard I liked coins and World War Two history and gave me this!" He produced a 1943 US steel cent, which I dutifully admired before reaching into my own wartime collection. "Here... Since he likes historic coins, maybe he'll like this one," and I handed him a pre-war British penny to give to his friend. And thus the trading frenzy began.Soon my son was coming home with reports of more friends who were bringing coins and paper money to school and trading them. "You know, I'll bet your friends would like to join us some Saturday for a trip to the coin shop," I told him. Sure enough, after a basketball game, several of his teammates from school joined us in patronizing our favorite numismatic dealer.Soon afterwards, I had permission from the school administration to form an after-school club for students in the third through sixth grades. We held our first official meeting on 28 February 2017 with fourteen young enthusiasts in attendance. We are working on creating more Young Numismatists through the Coins for A's program, then we're diving into The Dollar Project.This club is a little different from other local clubs in that its membership is limited to students of our school in those four grades, their parents, and school faculty/staff. However, we have another excellent club in the area whose membership is open to the public and accepts members of all ages. They have already become an ally of ours and we hope to support them in turn.As coordinator for this newly formed young Numismatic Society, I've found that it takes a little effort and planning, but not much more than I was already interested in investing in my hobby in the first place. It keeps me progressing in increasing my own knowledge, and in making contacts and developing relationships within the numismatic community. Plus, it is an excellent way to get to know the parents of my son's school mates, a key component in forming a strong, healthy educational community for our students.Dave

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