For my 5,000th post, I decided that a bit of self-indulgence was in order. This post is about me and not about any particular commemorative coin or medal! Sorry!
From time to time, I've been asked to describe what type of collector I am. I've often described myself as a "collector of the periphery." I've never worked on a set of Lincoln cents, "Buffalo" nickels, Winged Liberty Head/Mercury dimes or Morgan dollars
- I've always needed to pursue a less traveled path with my collecting to keep me interested. Hence US commemorative coins, coins of the US Territory and Commonwealth of the Philippines and commemorative medals (US Mint and otherwise) have been my primary appetite, with a side of Canadian commemorative silver dollars.
Of course, collecting US commemorative coins is not really all that far afield, but the manner in which I pursue my collection is a little less common. The coins are the easy part! It's been the collecting of the associated ephemera, related medals, related books, vintage coin holders, etc. that have given me the most enjoyment and have made my pursuit less than common. I don't know any other collector who has put as much time and energy into collecting the "stuff" that goes with the coins as I have. I'm sure they're out there - I am confident I am not even close to being unique - I just haven't met them yet. But I'd like to! Speak up if you're one!
At my local coin club, I've been kidded about my preference for higher grade coins. It's true, I can't argue. In fact, I would prefer to have a picture of an attractive example of a rare coin in a book or auction catalog I own vs. buying an actual example that is low end (i.e., worn slick, damaged, harshly cleaned, etc.) just to say I have it. This doesn't mean I don't respect those who build collections of lower end coins, because I do! This hobby is big enough for all of us and we all need to collect what makes us happy. To me, that's the definition of a true collector - one who collects what they enjoy! And I enjoy interacting with all types of collectors - I almost always learn something new from each! (Except those collectors who believe they are the be all and end all of the hobby and that what they collect is the only thing worth collecting. They're no fun!)
Quick story: Years ago, I attended an auction of tokens and medals in Baltimore. As I sat in the audience with a friend, I was amazed at how the price for a particular Hard Times token escalated into five figures. I wasn't surprised that a truly rare token could garner such a price, but was simply dumbfounded that multiple collectors were willing to pay such a price for one that was worn, bent, environmentally damaged, etc. The piece was downright ugly! Give me a nice picture in a book!
After years of collecting, I believe I've progressed beyond being a collector, and now consider myself a full-fledged numismatist. I spend a fair amount of time researching what I collect and I particularly enjoy sharing what I have learned with others. In addition to writing posts here on CCF, I've also written many articles for other venues, have created dozens of exhibits for display at national/regional/local coin shows (remember them?), given talks / presentations about coins/currency at national/regional/local venues and have even helped staff Q&A tables at local shows and malls. I've certainly enjoyed answering questions here on CCF over the past nine years (though I'll admit I get a bit disappointed when I realize the question was only asked so that the person could learn enough to sell the piece).
Occasionally, I chime in to correct some misinformation that someone has posted. I don't do it all that often, but sometimes the error is too significant to ignore and let slide. I only do this when I am 99.99% sure of the accuracy of my correction - I don't want to add to the spread of misinformation! I hope I haven't offended anyone by adding a clarifying post to a discussion. If I've offended you in the past, please know it was not personal, it was just my effort to support the dissemination of accurate information and educate fellow collectors.
I guess I'll stop there, though I could go on and on. (Some of you probably feel like I do so when you're reading many of my posts!
) Suffice it to say, I enjoy sharing what I know with the community here on CCF. It's a place that has quite a few extremely knowledgeable contributors that never fail to impress me - I enjoy learning from them. Hopefully, I've been able to help educate a few of you who are reading this. If not, give me another chance! Post #5001 might be the one for you!
One last thing - I want to say "Thanks!" to everyone who has engaged in the discussion within one (or more) of my posts and for the positive feedback. It is always appreciated and encourages me to keep going. I'm not going to list names here, but there have definitely been some CCF'ers over the years that have gone above and beyond in supporting my efforts - I believe you know who you are - to you I send out a "BIG THANKS!" for all of your encouragement and support!
Until my next post...And because I had to include at least one coin image (or four)...