Last week I was at the Whitman Coin Expo in Baltimore, and in this blog I shared some thoughts about the new quarter eagle book I am now compiling. This week I return to answering questions sent by readers. This is from Jerry H.:
I have been collecting coins for a number of years now and have geared my collection around the birthdates of the folks in my family tree (genealogy). I plan to pass the coins and info on to my granddaughter later, when she is old enough to appreciate it.
My question is what is the best way to do this without reams of paper or the clumsiness of coin handling…is the best way to do it through computer generated software or a hands-on display?
You do not state the age of your granddaughter. When I used to teach the All About Coins class at the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs I always found that the brightest and best students were teenagers. This is their time to discover many things in the world — about life and its many aspects. If your granddaughter is, say, 12 years old or older, I would determine if she has a collecting instinct — whether it be dolls, buttons, books, trinkets, or anything else. You could even start if she is, say, eight or nine years old. I have absolutely found that for someone to become seriously interested in collecting coins, they need to have this attribute. Even among adults, someone who collects stamps, old bottles, sports cards, antique cars, or anything else is an easy candidate to collect coins. If she has no collecting instinct it would be better to sell the coins and give her money for clothes, travel, or something else.
I could recite a long list of unfortunate stories in which recipients of coins who were not interested in them sold them for pennies on the dollar to raise cash.
If she is interested in coins, give her a Guide Book of United States Coins and, perhaps, a selection of circulated old coins—such as in Good to Fine grades, an Indian Head cent, 1909 V.D.B. cent, Liberty Head and Buffalo nickels, the three Barber silver types, a Standing Liberty quarter, an album for State and America the Beautiful quarters, a Morgan dollar, and a Peace dollar. Don’t do this all at once. Perhaps start with the cents and nickels and suggest that she read about them.
Beyond that, if she shows interest, buy her some more books. The “100 Greatest” Whitman series has a lot of stories, and in particular, the three volumes on the 100 Greatest United States Coins, the 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens, and the 100 Greatest American Currency Notes might inspire new pathways. If she takes a fancy to these she will become self-propelled. Your next step is to take her to a coin show or two and give her a modest budget.
As to computers, these are dandy, and she probably already has one. Go with books first for hands-on experience, and then a computer can add information.
Best of success with your generosity and effort!