Mr_Norris_LKNS's Blog

12 Mar 2023

A Family Album In US Currency

| Mr_Norris_LKNS

As do many numismatists, I have a fondness for history. One of the most intriguing aspects of collecting coins, currency, and other numismatic objects is the history behind the items. How did they come about? What sort of political environment surrounded their design and issuance? What was going on in the country of issue at the time? Who might have held these items or carried them around in a pocket? What about the person on the obverse: why are they honored on currency or medallic art? Then there is the history of advancement in scientific and industrial techniques that permitted the objects to be made like they were; that dives down an entirely new rabbit hole.Many who like learning about history also like discovering their family's place in it. Over the years I've developed a passion for learning about the Second World War, in part because of the four uncles of mine who were directly involved. My mother used to tell me stories about life on the homefront of her own hometown. All these stories have helped bring history to life and give it more meaning, by making it personal.It stands to reason that numismatists who like history might also enjoy genealogy for the same reasons; and an interest in both might have some crossover. For instance, my interest in WW2 history led me to follow one uncle's story through his time in England awaiting front line duty on the European continent. I wondered what kind of money he would have seen and used, which led me to acquire a few pieces of wartime coinage and paper money from England. The discovery of an ancestral veteran of the French and Indian War led me to research Coinage in use in North America at the time. Now anytime I find out a new story of a relative or ancestor's adventures, as a numismatist I'm curious of the currency they may have seen and used.

10 Jul 2018

Grading Your Way To A Type Set

Young Numismatists Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

Being geared towards new, young collectors, our school club tries to emphasize the basics of numismatics... things like how to handle, store, and protect your collections; how to identify what you have; and how to grade items for condition (and hence value). Accordingly, one of our activities is the Coin Grading Project.Even more essential to a basic knowledge of numismatics, however, is simple exposure to the breadth of items covered by the term "numismatics". I remember when I was a kid being fascinated by coin and banknote designs that I had never seen before. Franklin half dollars hadn't been superseded by Kennedy halves for very long when I was born, but by the time I was old enough to notice the design of coins in my change, Franklin halves were long gone from circulation. The first time I saw one, I thought it was amazing... and then I saw a Walking Liberty half. Prior to that, I thought the Bicentennial series was really interesting both for the historical topic and just for being different from the norm, from their dual-date obverse to their themed reverse. I really like both the Franklins and the Walking LIberty halves to this day, and the Bicentennials, although pretty common, always make me a little sentimental. Yet, how many more designs in various denominations would have gone unnoticed, if I hadn't been given the opportunity to sort pennies from my dad's change jar or hadn't been given some Ike dollars by by brother, gotten bitten by the collecting bug, and bought a US coin price guide. The 20th century saw some beautiful designs on US coins, and most of which are still fairly affordable to the young collector to this day.So this year, we've decided to expand our Grading Project in such a way that will give the students more exposure to more US 20th century coins. Last year, our students could earn an LKNS medal if they would grade 13 different, specified US coins and review their grade determinations with a local expert. Starting this year, if they complete the first 13, they can earn a second award if they grade another series of US coins, different from the first. They can earn a third award if they grade a third series comprised of still different coins. Among the three series, a basic 20th century US type set can then be assembled, with a few additional coins beginning the expansion into the 21st century. If they complete all three grading projects, they will earn an additional recognition for completing the type set.Because some 20th century coins are more difficult (or more expensive) to obtain by a young student, we start our first grading set with some of the more common or less expensive ones; most could be gotten from change, with only a few possibly requiring a trip to the coin shop. The second and third grading sets gradually get harder to find, or more expensive to buy, likely requiring a trip to the coin shop. This is by design, to encourage the collector through initial success.Repetition is key to gaining grading expertise, so we simultaneously reward the students for every coin they take through the grading process, including duplicate types. If a student only wanted to grade wheat cents, for example, they wouldn't complete their grading project, but they could still earn the same amount of money for the annual auction.In the end, our club's goal is to have members who not only are familiar with US coins from the 20th century, but who also have some knowledge and experience in grading them, as well as have an interesting collection to show for their efforts.

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