The following is a re-post from Q. David Bowers’s “Bowers on Collecting” weekly column on Coin Update.
Colonial and early American coins are among the most interesting areas of numismatics. The Guide Book of United States Coins gives an excellent overview of the series. What is the coin you would pick to represent American numismatics if you could only select one? Louis E. Eliasberg, who formed the greatest collection of American coins ever, said his favorite was the 1652 Pine Tree shilling. Kenneth E. Bressett, long-time editor of the Guide Book made the same selection and I agree.
While not everyone can afford a nice example of this coin, there are many colonial and early American coins that can be purchased from the tens of dollars into the low hundreds. This is especially true of the copper coins of the 1780s and the George Washington coins of the 1790s.
The focal point or meeting place for enthusiasts is the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4), formed by Michael Hodder and friends in 1993. Today it numbers hundreds of enthusiastic members.
Your assignment if you want to open a new door to this fascinating world: Join the Colonial Coin Collectors Club. Believe it or not, the yearly dues amount to just $31, and you get four issues of the C4 Newsletter, which might be better called a magazine.
As such an experienced and astute numismatist, do you ever tire of US numismatics? I started with US coins but quickly moved on to world coinage and am currently preoccupied with ancient coins. I don’t understand the parochial coverage of numismatics in the US, but I’m sure it has to do with political culture, nationalism, etc. I can’t understand otherwise why coin shows, experts, and collectors in the US spend so much time and effort on such a well-researched (and overdone in my opinion not to mention inflated prices for relative scarcity) country and virtually ignore the remarkable coinage throughout the world and through time. My fear is that greater happiness and research is being neglected by ignoring the rest of the world