Welcome to “Hidden Treasures,” Whitman Publishing’s new metal-detecting and coin-collecting column by award-winning writer Frank J. Colletti.
I’ve known Frank for more than 10 years. We met when we started talking about his interest in collecting editions of the Guide Book of United States Coins (the popular “Red Book” price guide for U.S. coins). This hobby within a hobby, so to speak, was robust by the early 1970s, with collectors seeking one of every edition published since the book debuted in 1946. (Some 1,200,000 copies of the Red Book were sold in 1964 alone.) Frank had assembled an impressive collection and was excited to help other collectors do the same. We worked up an outline, and he shared his knowledge of special editions, limited editions, authorized editions, errors and misprints, varieties, grading, etc. In 2009 his study was published as the Guide Book of the Official Red Book of United States Coins (volume 14 in the Bowers Series).
I’ve always been amazed by Frank’s attention to detail (he’s a CPA, so that’s a good professional trait!). I also appreciate his passion for his hobbies. He loves to share what he learns.
Another aspect of Frank’s hobby mentality, related to coin collecting: He’s an avid metal detectorist. He’s written hundreds of articles in hobby magazines including Lost Treasure, sharing insight born from experience, encouraging newcomers and longtime treasure-hunters, and being an ambassador for the hobby and sport.
In this new biweekly column, “Hidden Treasures,” Frank Colletti will continue to give how-to advice, share his philosophy on good metal-detecting, and explore the history of coins you might find in the field. Have you ever passed by a “worked-out” schoolyard, assuming it’s been picked clean by other hunters? Frank will give you tips on how to find hidden treasure that others have missed. Do you feel like your beachcombing is coming up light? Frank shows you how to productively explore the shore and come away with more than sand in your flipflops. You’ll see his exciting finds, and commiserate with (and learn from) his off days. Along the way, he’ll tell you about the coins themselves — the silver, the gold, old and new, common and rare.
My hope is that Frank’s column will inspire treasure-hunters to dive deeper into serious coin collecting . . . and likewise inspire coin collectors to branch out from coin shows and their local shops, and get outdoors with a metal detector. We’ll have fun and make new friends along the way.