The gifts you give to others reflect the thought and care that you have taken to find something that is “just right.” In today’s world there never seems to be enough time to get to know people well enough to know what kind of gift they would really enjoy. As a result, it is easy to end up providing gift cards or purchasing a gift that may not be appreciated by the recipient.
Having trouble thinking of the perfect gift idea? There are many possibilities if one or more of the people on your list collects coins or paper money.
Collectible coins and paper money have many advantages as gifts. These treasures include history, artistic beauty, dates, countries, or design themes that may be important to the collector. They might have significant rarity. They might contain valuable gold or silver content. Best of all, the coins and paper money you give could appreciate in value.
As an added bonus, you will be giving a gift of long-term durability. It is not unusual for a rare coin collection to stay in the same family, passed down from generation to generation as prized heirlooms. In effect, a numismatic gift could end up being something that keeps on giving for years and even decades after it is received. That is more than you can say about most gift ideas.
If you know that someone on your gift giving list is a rare coin collector, take a little time to discuss their hobby with them. Find out if they are an advanced expert, a relative novice, or in between. Some collectors would welcome almost any item within their collecting interest, while others might have specific items they are looking to add to their holdings.
For the newest collectors, there are many things that could thrill them. For a child, a gift of a silver dollar could be just the item to spur their interest in history and economics. Perhaps you could give them the gift of a proof set or other coins from their birth year or from nations of family heritage. A somewhat more experienced collector can probably make out a list of specific coins or paper money on their “want list.”
If the collector is a sophisticated expert, it is probably best to hold off on trying to find something to add to their collection—unless they give you a highly detailed list of what they seek and enough guidelines to know where to shop for them. For example, if the recipient of your gift collects Extremely Fine Bust Dollars and has a good relationship with a particular dealer, that would be an excellent merchant to patronize.
If it isn’t possible to get a specific list, then consider other ideas. For instance, see if you can give them some supplies and accessories that would be of general use. For coin aficionados, you could provide reference books, albums, coin holders and tubes, a magnifying glass, or a storage container. For paper money collectors, you might get holders, binders, and reference books. You might even look into various software that can be used to help inventory and track the value of a collection.
Also consider giving the gift of an experience. For youngsters and the young at heart, a trip to a coin show that would allow them to shop to their heart’s content might be a wonderful treat. You could offer to purchase one item (or more) that they pick out, or establish a dollar limit. There are many shows large and small, so you are likely to find one at a not-too-distant location within the next few months. Or turn it into an even bigger gift by arranging a trip to a national or regional show. To make the experience even more special, go along even if you are not yourself a collector. You will almost certainly find that both you and the one receiving the gift will learn something new at the same time you are having fun.
For someone really special, you might consider sponsoring their attendance at the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminars in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is somewhat pricey, but many attendees enjoy the experience so much that they return year after year.
Other gift ideas could include memberships to relevant collector organizations or subscriptions to hobby publications. Here you need to double check with the recipient to avoid doubling up on something they already have and that the membership or subscription would be appreciated.
Last, if you know places that the collector likes to shop, you could ask about getting them a gift certificate. A gift certificate from their favorite shop would enable the collector to pick out the very items they most desire, with you to thank for making that possible.
Understand that the most satisfying part of giving a numismatic gift is that it may be treasured for years by the recipient, who will be continuously reminded of your thoughtfulness. Have fun shopping!
Patrick A. Heller owns Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Michigan and writes "Liberty's Outlook," a monthly newsletter covering rare coins and precious metals. Past issues can be found online at http://www.libertycoinservice.com/ Pat Heller is also the gold market commentator for Numismatic News. Past columns online at http://numismaster.com/ under “News & Articles". His bimonthly columns on collectibles can also be read at http://www.lansingbusinessmonthly.com under “Articles” and “Department Columns.”His radio show “Things You ‘Know’ That Just Aren’t So, And Important News You Need To Know” can be heard at 8:45 AM Wednesday mornings on 1320-AM WILS in Lansing (which streams live and becomes part of the audio and text archives posted at http://www.1320wils.com.