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How Did You Start Coin Collecting?

TheGreatCoinRollerTheGreatCoinRoller Posts: 45
edited February 18, 2017 3:38PM in U.S. Coin Forum

I've been getting back into the hobby, picking up where I left off when I was a kid, and I realized that I was on my own when I first started. All I had was a few magazines and sometimes my parents might take me into a pawn shop to ask a few questions. Well, I got older and the coins were put away and I just sort of forgot about them. Now I'm in my 30's, I've got a family of my own, and I was just wondering if I might have missed out on something when I was a kid. You know, a mentor or something. There wasn't any internet that I could reach out to find information on, just the library...if anyone remembers those things? So, out of the interest of learning and teaching, I would like to hear your own stories about how you started in the numismatic hobby so that I might gain some insight into my own experiences and pass that wisdom on.

Thanks for sharing your stories!





  • WalkerfanWalkerfan Posts: 6,326 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 19, 2017 9:32AM

    My dad and uncle started me, as a young boy, with Whitman folders and lots of circulated silver coins (Walkers, Washies, Mercs, Roosies, Franklins and the like.)

    My interest waned in high school but, in my late 20s, the bug bit me again and I bought a lot of raw, XF & AU Walkers.

    In 2005, I started back collecting certified MS coins, mostly from eBay, and joined the registry ATS .

    In 2009, I got really serious and joined the chat boards ATS.

    In 2011, I joined the boards here.

    The knowledge, mentors and entertainment that I have encountered, since then on these boards, have been incomparable and an invaluable tool to my success.

    I, also, do a lot of reading of numismatic periodicals, research auction results & website inventories and I try to attend shows, whenever I can.

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." --Teddy Roosevelt, April 23, 1910.
  • @Walkerfan said:
    I, also, do a lot of reading of numismatic periodicals, research auction results & website inventories and I try to attend shows, whenever I can.

    I've got the Red Book, the The Official ANA Grading Standards book, but I'm looking for something a little more...um, detailed. Like, the pennies are a great place to start. Do you have a book list for things like this?


  • mt_mslamt_msla Posts: 808 ✭✭✭✭

    Cents back in the day, and a 1964 Redbook.

    Insert witicism here. [ xxx ]

  • BUFFNIXXBUFFNIXX Posts: 2,263 ✭✭✭✭

    My grandmother gave me an 1890ies Indian head penny when I was about 10 years old and boom __
    that started it all.

    Collector of Buffalo Nickels and other 20th century United States Coinage
    a.k.a "The BUFFINATOR"
  • I delivered newspapers in the late 60's and was able to go through lots of coins when I collected from my customers. I still have a Barber half dollar and quarter that I was paid with. 50 cents paid for a one week subscription to the Geneva Times.

  • jdimmickjdimmick Posts: 8,734 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 18, 2017 5:44PM

    One of My brothers used to order from Littleton coin back in the early 70's, he was on the approval program , and would let me have a few left overs. He was 13 years older than I. I was 5. My eldest brother actually got him started as he was about 10 years older than him. He was already married and out of the house before I was old enough to know him. But years later , I got to visit with him and we talked about coins and such from when he was younger. He used to work in a pawn shop before I was born while he was in college and got a lot of coins from there. He sold them to a local dealer here before he moved to California. My closet brother sold his stuff at some point in time in the 80's but never really had all that much and lost intrest. I never did. eldest brother has since passed.

  • TonerGuyTonerGuy Posts: 480 ✭✭✭

    My grandfather was in the Merchant Marine, and while passing through the Panama Canal in the 1930s, he would pick up US coins from the 1800s still circulating down there. When I was just a kid, he handed me all of these circulated coins and from that I started my collection. I am happy to say I still have all of the coins he gave me 40+ yrs ago.

  • TopographicOceansTopographicOceans Posts: 6,545 ✭✭✭✭

    Back in the day we had to get our coins from pocket change and were happy to do it.

  • BaleyBaley Posts: 21,900 ✭✭✭✭✭

    In my house as a kid, up in the top kitchen cabinet above the refrigerator, my dad kept, among other things, a couple bottles of good booze, a small stack of Penthouse magazines, the spare keys to the Mustang, and a coffee cup full of junk silver he had got from his grandma. Well, at age 7, I was exploring, and climbed up there and found that stuff. I got more interested in the other stuff a little while later, but it was that double handful of obsolete coins that fascinated the grade-school me.

    Liberty: Parent of Science & Industry

  • WalkerfanWalkerfan Posts: 6,326 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @TheGreatCoinRoller said:

    @Walkerfan said:
    I, also, do a lot of reading of numismatic periodicals, research auction results & website inventories and I try to attend shows, whenever I can.

    I've got the Red Book, the The Official ANA Grading Standards book, but I'm looking for something a little more...um, detailed. Like, the pennies are a great place to start. Do you have a book list for things like this?

    There is a Red Book specifically for Lincoln cents by Q David Bowers.

    Also, The Complete Guide to Lincoln Cents by David W. Lange.

    For Walkers the best authors are Bruce Fox, Anthony Swiatek & Jeff Ambio. All are good books.

    As far as periodicals, I like Coin World, Coinage & The Numismatist.

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." --Teddy Roosevelt, April 23, 1910.
  • dpooledpoole Posts: 5,642 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My grandmother bought me a 1954 proof set for Christmas that year. My step-grandfather was a bus driver for D.C. Transit, and came home with a bag of coins that I could go through and fill my Whitmans. Found a 1927-S and 1926-S standing lib in circulation, among other neat stuff.

    I was hooked.

  • I noticed wheat pennies were different when I dug into my change bin and kept them. I was 6 or 7 at the time, and then about 3 years later I became interested more and picked up a wheat penny book. Started filling it and it took off from there

  • CCDollarCCDollar Posts: 582 ✭✭✭✭

    @mt_msla said:
    Cents back in the day, and a 1964 Redbook.

    Ha...I still have my 1964 Redbook...take care...

    The Original "Nickel Triumph...My Led Zepps"

  • TommyTypeTommyType Posts: 4,566 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Unlike most, my youthful coin interest was limited to selling my brother S mint cents for 2 cents each. (Apparently, they were rare in Minnesota, and well, I wasn't above profiting from that fact at my brothers expense. ;)

    I was completely ignorant of coinage until I was maybe 35 years old, when I saw a TV coin sales show. I'd never SEEN a Franklin Half, and I was hooked. After being ripped off by the TV sales a thankfully limited amount, I put in the required leaning time, and here I am....

    Easily distracted Type Collector
  • HydrantHydrant Posts: 2,839 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Pennies and a piggy bank.

  • goldengolden Posts: 6,454 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My Mom brought home a 35 cent blue Whitman folder ,for Lincoln Cents, in February 1961. I started by looking through my Dad's pocket change everyday. Soon I was getting rolls of coins from the bank. After awhile I was bringing home bags of coins from the bank every Wednesday to look through.

  • HydrantHydrant Posts: 2,839 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 19, 2017 3:33PM

    Why Wednesday? For me it was always on a Friday. That way I had Saturday and Sunday to do my searching before returning the leftovers back to the bank on Monday. Wednesday just wouldn't work. Or Tuesday for that matter. Maybe Thursday. Ya, Thursday would've worked. Too late now. Oh well.

  • DavideoDavideo Posts: 1,197 ✭✭✭✭

    I collected a whole bunch of different things as a kid (stamps, bottle caps, rocks, hockey cards, etc.) and coins were an obvious thing to collect.

  • RarityRarity Posts: 1,291 ✭✭✭

    While waiting in super market in early 80s, I browsed through pages of Coin World with pictures of US coins - particularly purple, green, blue toning coins. I felt in love with coins and began buying red book, common date Franklin proof sets and years later (1990s) bought $10 and $20 gold in PCGS-64s.

  • chumleychumley Posts: 2,304 ✭✭✭✭

    bought my 4 kids each a Morgan on a PBS auction...each coin was wizzed and abused

  • SonorandesertratSonorandesertrat Posts: 5,441 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 19, 2017 4:26PM

    My paternal grandmother (1903-1983) was a coin collector. She tried to get my father interested in the hobby, but he didn't bite; I certainly did. She took me to my first big coin show (1967 ANA, Miami Beach) and every time my grandparents drove down to visit us, I received an arm full of issues of Coin World and the Rare Coin Review. There was a Woolworth's near our house then, and that store even had coin supplies and a big display case full of coins. I also went to John Albright's shop in Coral Gables, FL on occasion with my grandmother in the 1970's. He was still in business when I stopped by in 2012. I still have some of her coins and numismatic books.

    Member: EAC, NBS, C4, CWTS, ANA

    RMR: 'Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich denn aus der Engel Ordnungen?'

    CJ: 'No one!' [Ain't no angels in the coin biz]
  • CameonutCameonut Posts: 6,491 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I grew up in Racine Wisconsin in the '60's so I was close to Whitman Publishing. I recall getting a coin folder or two as Halloween "treats", the others I had to buy.

    I had an "in" at the city, where I could get bags of cents and nickels from the Racine parking meters. We used to have kids over to look thru the bags and then get a new set of bags for the next weekend. Found all the Lincoln cents in meter change with the exception of the '09s vdb, 14d, and 22 plain. Lot's of Indians too...

    Lots of "cheap" fun. Those days are long gone but fondly remembered.

    To add to the meter search, I was also given a 1961 proof set for my birthday. That got me started on proof collecting, and later evolved into cameo collecting.

    “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." - Thomas Jefferson

    My digital cameo album 1950-64 Cameos - take a look!

  • goldengolden Posts: 6,454 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Hydrant said:
    Why Wednesday? For me it was always on a Friday. That way I had Saturday and Sunday to do my searching before returning the leftovers back to the bank on Monday. Wednesday just wouldn't work. Or Tuesday for that matter. Maybe Thursday. Ya, Thursday would've worked. Too late now. Oh well.

    You placed your order with the bank on Tuesday. The bag arrived from the branch Federal Reserve Bank on Wednesday.

  • AUandAGAUandAG Posts: 22,176 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting stories.....3 of us school boys were best of friends and did everything we could together. We called ourselves the three musketeers (early 50's). Mike and Joel became alter boys but not I (I knew what was going on!). They got hooked on coins when they were allowed to count and sort the Sunday offerings. Father Cavanaugh got them into coins as he was a big collector himself. They got me hooked. We bought a red book and shared it! My two newspaper routes (one morning and one evening) got me all the change to look through that I needed or could afford to keep. All three of us would go to BAC on Saturdays with a few bucks and buy rolls of pennies and sort right there in the bank and then turn them back in for more to search through. Fun times.

    Registry: CC lowballs (boblindstrom), [email protected]
  • ElmhurstElmhurst Posts: 652 ✭✭✭

    About age 10, and continued through high school . Looked at many hundreds of coins , many complete crap, and also spectacular ones that I could never afford then. But that developed by eye for coins. This can't be replicated via Internet photos and auction catalogs.

  • Back in the mid 60s my family would go to south Texas for vacation. We stayed in a hotel in Laredo and would go across the border and buy something like a chess set. My mom and older brother would go into a Mexican bank and trade a $20 bill for 20 Morgan and Peace dollars. They got one that was worth about $15 and was a nineteenth century coin. I could not believe the profit. Mom also brought rolls of pennies home from the bank and we would go through them. Shortly thereafter I got a paper route and began to take the silver coins out in 1965. Collecting has been in my blood every since.

  • ChrisRxChrisRx Posts: 5,607 ✭✭✭✭

    Found a Franklin half dollar on the side walk when I was around 6-8 years old. I thought it was the neatest thing then my dad showed me some coins he kept. He had a nearly worn off date, polished standing liberty half dollar I still remember that all got me started.

  • KellenCoinKellenCoin Posts: 1,171 ✭✭✭✭

    There were two factors that got me initially started in collecting: my grandparents and my parents.
    Two of my grandparents used to be very frequent travelers. Whenever they came and visited us, they would give me any foreign coins they had. I would take the foreign coins, knowing very little about them, and simply throw them into a jar. Eventually, my jar started overflowing, and I simply got tired of having them in a jar. Thus, for Christmas I got a coin collecting binder, pages of 2X2 pockets, and 2X2s in every size. I put all the coins into the binder, and that is how I started. So, my coin collecting was partly started because of my want for organization.
    My parents were the ones who got me started on the 50 State Quarters program. I eventually filled my own folder and my parents filled theirs. When I got more involved in numismatics, they gave me their folder. I dumped out all the coins in their folder, and starting filling it with only quarters from the Philadelphia Mint, and my personal one with only coins from the Denver Mint. So, my parents and the 50 State Quarters Program were another reason I started collecting.

    YN Member of the ANA, ANS, NBS, EAC, C4, MCA, PNNA, CSNS, ILNA, TEC, and more!
    Always buying numismatic literature and sample slabs.

  • roadrunnerroadrunner Posts: 28,195 ✭✭✭✭✭

    1962 - 2nd grade show and tell.

    I was blown away when a class mate had a cigar box full of his father's coins, some of them gold. From that point on I was fascinated with old coins.

    Barbarous Relic No More, LSCC -GoldSeek--shadow stats--SafeHaven--321gold
  • ConfusedOneConfusedOne Posts: 19
    edited February 20, 2017 9:33PM

    I started when my father introduced me to it. My father in turn was introduced by his father who worked at a bank and he would always give my father a bag of pennies that he would help sort through. My hobby of coin collecting dwindled until High School where there was a coin club where I began collected rarer coins from coin shows. To this day I still collect coins and I believe I am most drawn to it due to the addiction of collecting and the historical aspect of it.

  • AUandAGAUandAG Posts: 22,176 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Welcome ConfusedOne! Enjoy your visits here.

    bob :D

    Registry: CC lowballs (boblindstrom), [email protected]
  • mrcommemmrcommem Posts: 992 ✭✭✭

    My cousins started me collecting Lincoln cents in the mid 60's. We would get several rolls of cents from the bank, look through them for dates 1940 or older. My brother found a 1914-D one day from a roll of pennies from Steak 'n Shake. It was in F to VF grade. I found many coins to partially fill the first Whitman Lincoln book. I finally bought the 09-s vdb, 09-s, 14-d and 31-s a few years ago to complete the album. Also, finished the Jeffersons, Roosies, Washington Quarters and Franklin Halves. Only found about one-third the Mercury dimes and Buffalo Nickels. I took a break from it when I went to pharmacy school in the late 70's early 80's. I picked it up again in the mid 90's when I decided to collect a set of Classic Commemoratives, then U. S. Type the Dahlonega and Charlotte gold. I am now hopelessly infected with gold fever.

  • pennyanniepennyannie Posts: 3,937 ✭✭✭

    In the early 1970's my aunt worked at a small bank. Every birthday and Xmas I would get a coin. Before 1975 it was a brown or blue Ike. I think 1975 brought me the unc red envelope bicentennial 3 piece set and scored at Xmas with the silver kids. I got common Morgan's after that until 1982. Did not do anything until 1o years ago. I was doing a search for something on eBay and I typed it I wrong and a screen full of Morgan's popped up. The rest is history

    NGC registry V-Nickel proof #6!!!!
    working on proof shield nickels # 8 with a bullet!!!!

    RIP "BEAR"
  • Rob85635Rob85635 Posts: 1,209 ✭✭✭

    In 1988 I was just out of the Army when a friend of mine told me of a job at the savings and loan he worked at. I was looking for work so I got a job as a teller. They sent me for a week long school in Tucson and the next thing I knew I was a banker.

    I worked my way up to Teller II, then new accounts and vault teller. When I became the vault teller I really got interested in coins. I had always known that some older coins were silver but really didn't pay much attention. When I became the vault teller one of my jobs was to bag customer rolled coin when we got too much. That unmistakable white band in the roll of coins in my palm as I would dump them finally got me thinking.

    I started pulling every single silver out before I would bag the coins and I would buy them at the end of the day. That's what started me collecting. I left that job during the savings and loan debacle and now I fix computers... Hmmm... I can retire in 4 years, perhaps a bank somewhere needs an old retired guy to be a vault teller.

    Rob the Newbie
  • spy88spy88 Posts: 771 ✭✭

    I realize I'm 'late to the party' here but this thread brought back many happy memories.

    I'm not sure what really kick-started my interest but back in the early '60's, I'd go to the local bank (only thing separating the customers from the staff was a mini swing gate), plop down $2 for 4 penny rolls. They let me sit at a officers desk where I'd go through them, replace any I took out, and do it over and over til I'd done their entire stock. Always put my name on the roll but after a time, they told me not to bother. Guess it was a sign they trusted me.

    I'm sure I found numerous 'good' dates/mm's but the one I really remember was the '09-S. Sold it for around $30. Thought this is the way to riches! Ahhh! If only I'd kept at it.

    Everything starts and everything stops at precisely the right time for precisely the right reason.
  • philographerphilographer Posts: 877 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 16, 2018 2:36AM

    My coin collecting has been off an on for my entire life.

    While I have my Lincoln cent folders from when I was small, I don’t remember filling them. What I remember was my parents trading in precious metals in the late 1970’s in Birmingham, Michigan. We would go to the coin store with bags of silver, which were counted in the automated machine in the coin shop. (Probably Abbott’s, looking at a map.) The back of my Dad’s closet held a plastic paint bucket filled with a huge canvas bag of silver and a roll of Krugerrands. (He got a newsletter from “Investment Rarities”, and one from Howard Ruff called “Ruff Times”.) The end of money (and civilization) was upon us. 😜 I used to look through the bags at the Kennedys vs. Franklins vs. Walkers. My mom, an antiques dealer, rescued a lot of fine silver from the melting pot. While crappy coins were melted, so were many great pieces of history and art (e.g. colonial and Martele silver)

    Coins must have rubbed off on me because when I was 25 I bought three coins which would not be impressive to many...all generic...a $20 MS 63 Saint, a $10 MS 61 Liberty, and a $2.50 MS 61 Indian. This was around 1993 and I will tell you that the prices in these grades where much different then, as was the value of money. My goal was to make a treasure chest for my wife and me. I still have these coins and have no reason to sell them. Someday I will give them to my son and perhaps he will keep them, but I am aware that they are touchstones for my memories, not his.

    I've been a casual accumulator from 2007-2010, and 2017-present. I focus on US gold, and am refining what I have. I have a mishmash of items. I’d like to focus on more interesting coins. I have a number of generic pieces, few “wow” items. What I’m wrestling with is how much to spend on this hobby. It’s a journey. Very easy to buy things, takes much more time to sell them. Pick right is my lesson learned.

    Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

  • silverpopsilverpop Posts: 4,987 ✭✭✭✭✭

    my first trip overseas back in the late 1990's got me interested in collecting



    23 yrs to my brown eyed princess on 8/11/97

    the worst foe lies within the self

  • Namvet69Namvet69 Posts: 3,979 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Late 1950's in Brooklyn, lunch break walk a few blocks to Liberty Ave to a Manhattan Bank buy a few rolls, go thru them and back to school. Never stopped. Peace Roy

  • morgansforevermorgansforever Posts: 8,096 ✭✭✭✭✭

    1999 silver proof sets started it. Then read all I could about Morgans and it's all history from there.

    World coins FSHO Hundreds of successful BST transactions U.S. coins FSHO
  • AlexinPAAlexinPA Posts: 1,049 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My dad gave me a 192dollar when I was a kid.

  • CCGGGCCGGG Posts: 1,147 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 16, 2018 5:45AM

    I stated with Whitman folders and the blue book (I could not afford the red book) and pocket change. I only collected pennies, nickels and dimes since quarters and halfs were too much money just to put in albums. That was 55 to 60 years ago. I can remember wanting a 50d nickel but I never found one in change. I quit collecting in my early teens and picked it up again in my ~mid 40's but my interest had changed to Morgan dollars and the key's from other series.

    BTW, I finally got a 50d nickel about 50 years after I started looking for one. PCGS slabbed MS66.

  • OKbustchaserOKbustchaser Posts: 4,978 ✭✭✭
    edited October 16, 2018 6:26AM

    I was 8 and playing in the park accross the street from the house when I found the coin that hooked me forever--a 1917 type 1 quarter in what I later learned was XF condition. Whoohoo, naked boobs! After 50 years of being carried as a pocket piece (before being retired) it now looks like this

    Since I started off with naked boobs is it any wonder that 60 years later I am STILL known as the "Bustchaser"?

    Just because I'm old doesn't mean I don't love to look at a pretty bust.
  • OldhoopsterOldhoopster Posts: 1,170 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I was about 5, and for some reason that I don't recall, my Mother and Aunt wanted me to look at my Uncle's collection. Shortly thereafter, my mom bought me a Lincoln Cent Folder (it wasn't Whitman, some cheaper brand that was available in 1970). I was hooked and stayed with it ever since. I can remember taking coins to show and tell in elementary school inc. an 1865 3 Cent Nickel I got as a birthday present. In High School I joined the local coin club, and once skipped out early on a Friday with a buddy to drive to a show in Pittsburgh. I even did some mail order in the Coins Magazine and Numismatic News classified ads in HS. In college, I joined the EAC and CWTS (although my interest in early copper has waned) and learned a little about Bust halves from the basketball coach. There have been numerous lulls where I haven't purchased many coins, but I've always been trying to read and study them.

    Member of the ANA since 1982
  • mt_mslamt_msla Posts: 808 ✭✭✭✭

    Lincoln cents from circulation as a child; same as maybe 95‰ of kids I'd guess.

    Insert witicism here. [ xxx ]

  • thisistheshowthisistheshow Posts: 2,664 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I love these posts, hope they continue.

    My grandmother collected coins. I sat at her dining table as a young kid and went through coins with her. She grew up during the depression and saved every "penny"-but not before checking each one to pull out the wheats. I don't know the extent of her collecting. I think it was mainly from circulation. But I do know she had a few Morgans that she gave to my mother which I will be getting when my mother passes. I've never seen them but I will treasure them for sure.

    When I became a teenager I forgot about coins. Fast forward more than 20 years, and I was doing some research on my 401k. I somehow found a link about PMs. It was all new to me. I started down the silver rabbit hole. I found a couple LCSs. After a few visits, if I remember correctly, I got curious about the 90% I saw. I started researching that, and eventually grew to love numismatics. That was a few years ago......and here I am.

    Thanks for reading!

  • metalmeistermetalmeister Posts: 4,115 ✭✭✭✭✭

    From my parents. Coin collecting was very popular in the 1950's and 1960's as you all know. I was just a normal kid doing what normal kids did back then. Rode bikes all over without helmets till the dinner bell rang. Train sets, black and white TV and of course Coin collecting!

    email: [email protected]

    100% Positive BST transactions
  • bobsrbobsr Posts: 362 ✭✭✭

    When I was 7 in 1954, I collected coke bottle caps. Every day as I walked home from school, I would stop at various stores and clean them out. One day my dad came into my room and told me I had to get rid of them. He couldn't park the car in the garage as it was half full of garbage bags full of bottle caps. In the following discussion, I told my Dad that as I had no job and he didn't give me an allowance ( a fact I mentioned several times,) I didn't have money to pay for anything and the bottle caps were free. He pulled a handful of change from his pocket, dropped them on my bed and said "Collect money son, you'll never be broke" I took a paper route delivering The Chicago Times in a small town in Rural Il. And collected from change given me in the 1950's era ( mostly pennies), I bought my first rarity, a 1914D penny in an old leather pocket folder with the penny in a clear plastic holder on the left and a picture of the coin and its certification on the right side for $12,00. My entire family thought I was out of my mind. I have those 22 coins from my Dad in a framed wall plaque on my bedroom wall and he was right. I have the only hobby in the world where I can spend every cent I have and have money left over and I'm NOT Broke.
    Bob Sr CEO Fieldtechs

  • WaterSportWaterSport Posts: 5,946 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Reported here on the forums many times before but here ya go...

    I got started collecting when I was about 14 back in 1967. I was with a group of friends walking back from our local shopping plaza in Arlington, Virginia now called the Ballston Commons. We saw a “coin shop/antique shop ” had opened up and walked inside and met the proprietor named Zita Lindsey.

    She got us all collecting Lincoln and Indian head cents very quickly but I cannot remember how. Later I was able to work for her cleaning brass lamps and moving furniture as part of her antique side of business. She offered to either pay me in cash with an hourly wage or earn the equivalent value in a coin. Being a stupid kid I could not comprehend the number of hours it would take before I would own a 1909 S VDB, which I remember at that time, would have cost me $100. I mean I needed cash to go to the movies and buy other useless long forgotten junk.

    But once we were hooked we had plenty of rolls to search and at that time, we occasionally would pull an Indian Head cent. Even the local deli owner would hold his silver coins and whoever came in the store that day was able to buy them from him.

    Once I got older, college, married, etc, etc., I would find myself bored one day and pull out the blue Whitman folders still missing ALL the key dates. I would go get some rolls to search. Eventually I was employed and had a coin shop in front of my bus stop in downtown, DC. The owner would allow coins to be set-aside on layaway. So I was able to pick up the 1909 S, 1931 S, etc. But still could not afford the biggies.

    So one day a colleague who knew I was a collector informs me his soon to be bride told him to sell off his collection as she wanted to live in a house and not some small apartment. He had no car so I drove him to the 5-6 coin dealers in the Northern Virginia area. I had no idea nor had I seen such coins as he owned. He was a type collector and flew all over the country to shows to make his purchases. His previous wife had died and collecting was a way to keep him occupied. He had all the good stuff and the dealers he visited wrote out large checks for the coins he had. When he was done selling he gave me a box of collecting supplies he had left over including Capitol Plastic boards. So I moved my cents to the Capitol Plastic boards which made them look better even if they were circulated examples.

    About 1999 my father-in-law informed me he had inherited some coins and since he was a stamp collector, I could have first crack at what I wanted. My son who was about 7 was impressed with all these coins and he got the bug and I was re-bitten now that I had some disposal income and a thing called the Internet and Ebay.

    I was blown away with Ebay and that many coins I could only dream about were available for auction. The first coin I bought was an uncirculated 1922 D cent. Now I wanted to upgrade those Capitol Plastic boards and fill the missing holes. My 1914 D came from my sister who lived in Kansas. She had a penny jar that I found the coin in. After her husband died she asked if I wanted to buy it, which I did for $80. The last 2 coins, the 1909 S VDB and the 1922 Plain I bought from Cybercoins. Eventually all the coins were upgraded to uncirculated specimens but then I learned the hard way about cleaned coins. About 2001 I learned about the PCGS registry and slabbed coins. Eventually I was buying slabbed coins to avoid junk and soon got in the registry. As they say, the rest is history.


    Proud recipient of the coveted PCGS Forum "You Suck" Award Thursday July 19, 2007 11:33 PM and December 30th, 2011 at 8:50 PM.
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