What Do You "See" In Coin Collecting?

by Doug Neiss

I am speaking only of coins struck at U. S. Mints as legal tender. Take any coin, any year, any mint: It is beautiful, it shines and glimmers, it's class! Regardless of appearance due to aging (earned or premature), despite looks brought about by mistreatment; I know that each and every coin once had these characteristics. I am one of those people that's both content and thrilled simultaneously in just knowing the aesthetics that are on facet of this adventure called coin collecting, or numismatics if you will....

I would like to enumerate some of the less obvious aspects of coin collecting but first I want to share with you my reason for "putting pen to paper." I am blind and couldn't actually see a coin if it were balanced on my nose; unless that is -- I was hit in the head with a 1,000 coin Mint Bag, and then I would see STARS anyway!

There are so many kinds and types of coins within which there are many grades, numerous varieties, rare and common availability, errors versus perfection and much, much more! Speaking for myself: I enjoy the completion of a long awaited acquisition or adding the final piece to a set, series, coin category or a personal subset collection. Along the way I have picked up, of course, some numismatic terminology but more importantly there has been a strong entry into United States history. This is keenly illustrated by the presidential figures placed for all time on various coins. Allegorical figures, symbols and icons are depicted to remind us of who we are and what we represent to ourselves and the rest of the world. There are political undertones in some of our coinage history if you investigate deeply enough. And, there's a bit of geography too.

A visually impaired person is not "numismatically challenged," he or she has to just talk to some of their friends and acquaintances and sure enough there will be a few closet-collectors who will be more than happy to advise, suggest and even help smooth some of the bumps in the road. Work into an informal friendly Q&A relationship with a reputable area coin dealer or recognized numismatist. In addition, although not necessary, access to the internet is a very valuable resource; yes-- there are many inexpensive voice synthesis units easily adapted to the everyday home computer. In summary I would say the the sense of accomplishment & completeness, historical tidbits of all kinds, having possession of something that most do not but are never-the-less very interested in, and ambling through an ever-changing landscape of old & new are great reasons for my intense interest and enjoyment! Besides, it's fun, easily modified to suit your budget and lends itself to being a legacy for those who will follow you....

Thank you very much for listening and remember, "Beauty is in the mind of the beholder."

Cybercoins would like to thank Doug Neiss for allowing us to share his article with you.

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What Do You "See" In Coin Collecting? ©2000 Doug Neiss, used with permission.