Long but good; The joy collecting can sometimes bring.
Long ago my wife and I would visit the Mississippi Belle riverboat casino while visiting family in Cedar Rapids. My wife loves to play nickel machines. I was an active collector at the time but back then varieties were really esoteric. During one of our family visits we all made the couple hour trek to Knoxville to watch a night time auto racing event called 410 sprint cars. They're a really great show...and insane! After the races we went into an area called "the pits" because my daughter, who was 9 at the time, was hell bent on getting close up to the colorful car #83 she was rooting for. The driver of the car went by the nickname of Hollywood. He let my daughter sit in his race car, took and gave her a Polaroid of her in the car and gave her a free signed team tee shirt. He was so kind to our daughter. She was infatuated with him. As is typical with kids all we heard for weeks was "Hollywood this and Hollywood that", lol. To this day, grown and with a son of her own, she still treasures that tee shirt for the memory it represents.
Weeks ago I was tinkering about on a coin site called escottcoins.com that I saw advertised in Numismatic News. To my absolute surprise I came upon the cool Mississippi Belle doubled die nickel token pictured. I can't even imagine how many of these passed through my wife's hands back when. Up until a few years ago we still had half a bucket of them in our nightstand! I have to add; in all my 40+ years of collecting I've never dealt with a vendor that was more personable or friendly (and guarantees everything, even raw coin grades). They really made me feel appreciated and valued...for a $15 "free shipping, free images included on a thumb drive, money back guarantee" purchase! They have good coin pictures and just recently added coin videos that are fabulous and most would likely enjoy.
Anyway, it's a neat token but here's the really amazing part; In dealing with this vendor and discussing my past experience with going to the Mississippi Belle casino (yes, they took the time to have a social discussion) Mr. E.J. Scott, the founder of the site, told me how he acquired the token. Ready for this......he used to race 410 sprint cars and stopped at the Mississippi Belle while on the road to (drum roll) the race at Knoxville! The seller of this token, the owner of this little site, is Hollywood...the driver that gave my little girl a shirt some two and a half decades ago! What are the freakin' odds? Come to find out Mr. Scott (Hollywood) has been an avid collector since the 90's and has always had a sweet spot for varieties.
He went on to explain that he and a crew member were taking a break from the road and sitting playing nickel machines. He said he fumbled a token and it plopped into his iced tea. When he dug it out he noticed it was a doubled die! So they stayed for the better part of a day just buying tokens from one cage teller, searching them and cashing them in at another. Until, he said, they were kindly asked to leave, lol! Mr. Scott said in hindsight they probably should've been a little smarter and played a few machines in between.
When I received the envelope in the mail I discovered Mr. Scott sent a second token for my daughter and a third for my grandson and sent my $15 check back with a note that says "They're on the house. Thanks for being race fans and collectors". So cool!
This was such a neat experience and brought back soooo many wonderful memories for my daughter (who is becoming a moderately passionate collector) and me. And now, just maybe, Justin will get hooked on collecting from acquiring his first "it's just like Grandpa has" coin (which is so darn cute). These beat up little tokens now have so much emotion tied to them for us. They're the most valuable worthless coins we have.
Great stuff! The multi-faceted joy of what collecting can sometimes bring.
Here's the picture that came on the thumb drive with the token. Has anyone else seen any of these around? I sure would love to find a mint state example!