An Enjoyable Pastime for Us, But A Collection of Coins, and Memories, for Them
March 5, 2012
by Chris Moran (The Happy Coin)
I have been talking to our clients recently about their main motivations for collecting. I’ve gotten many of the
expected answers; an interesting pastime, a way to learn about our past, hope of some financial reward, a
distraction from life’s harsher elements…a familiar list. Then I’ve gotten many of the well-known sentimental
reasons; it’s something they did with their Father or Grandfather, they remember how they felt after finding an
interesting coin in circulation, they traded a shoebox full of baseball cards for an album of pennies…that sort
My favorite answers, however, are the answers about the future. I’m privileged to know several collectors who
are investing in various coins for their grandchildren or yet to be born great grandchildren. While it’s certainly
common to hope to leave something meaningful behind for our loved ones, there is something more
interesting and deliberate about this. It’s an effort to leave not only something of financial value, at that site but also
something that was important and of personal interest and concern to them.
It reminds me of the collector from the 1800’s who carefully preserved and saved a collection of proof sets
starting in 1883. As many have already said, it’s amazing to think about the coins surviving through all the ups
and downs of the past nearly 130 years, particularly the Great Depression. These sets were auctioned last
year and aside from the money realized, the thoughts of his careful planning and instructions…all for
someone else, someone whose parents were not even born when the collection began; I can’t think of many
activities more noble, more caring, more selfless and more thoughtful than that.
What is especially interesting is the sentiment behind these collections. The specific wishes and hopes are
inspiring. One couple has shared with me their early financial challenges and worries, how the angst over the
bills, the mortgage, and the college fund…could be so difficult at times. While they enjoyed the time spent
together assembling the collection, their primary goal was to spare their future generations the same
struggles and to make their everyday lives a little easier, a little less pressure filled. They believe this goal has
added a higher purpose to their collecting activities.
It is understandable that numismatic investing is part of estate planning. While price history and past
performance are by no means any guarantee of future returns, here is some compelling historical data:
|Greysheet Bid in October 1982||Greysheet Bid in October 2012|
|1856 Flying Eagle MS65 $4,400||1856 Flying Eagle MS65 $45,000|
|1918/17-D Buffalo Nickel $18,500||1918/17-D Buffalo Nickel $240,000|
|1916-D Mercury Dime MS65FB $6,000||1916-D Mercury Dime MS65FB $34,000|
|1916 Standing Liberty MS65FH $8,000||1916 Standing Liberty MS65FH $30,500|
|1907 High Relief MS65 $11,500||1907 High Relief MS65 $42,500|
I loved my Grandparents, but I was very close with my mother’s father. Of the many things he left behind,
none were more important than his spirit of faith, compassion and generosity. But the coins he left behind are
also important, mostly because they were important to him. The care that he took in encouraging their survival
and future presence, well…it is part of my direct connection to him, his memory and his ideals. So, in his
endeavors to leave something of value behind, he was quite successful; but, if his plan was to remain alive in
our hearts and minds, successful only begins to describe his achievement.
About Chris Moran
Chris Moran is a full-time coin dealer and member of the PNG.
Visit The Happy Coin at http://www.thehappycoin.com
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The Happy Coin is an authorized dealer for CAC, PCGS and NGC, and a member of CoinPlex, CCE and CoinNet.