Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Children and Coin Collecting

By Christina VanGinkel

When many people think of collecting coins as a hobby, they assume you are referring to a collection that is worth a lot of money. They would be right in many instances. However, many people collect coins as 'just' a hobby. They enjoy finding different coins, looking up their unique differences, maybe looking for coins from different countries that have filtered into our pocketbooks via cash registers all over the good old USA. There is also always the chance of finding a coin that is worth far more than its face value, sort of like a lottery in waiting. For kids, coin collecting can be a great way for them to learn the value of collecting, to see how something as simple as money, can vary greatly.

My own three children, two of whom are now adults, each have what I refer to as a coin collection. In each one, you will find silver colored pennies, Susan B. Anthony Dollars, Wheat Pennies, Buffalo Nickels, Bicentennial Quarters, and Sacagawea Dollars. They also have paper two-dollar bills, and most recently, they have each been collecting the quarters that represent each state. My husband is also collecting the state quarters. Each of my children also has a collection that includes a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter from the year that they were born. When they were small, and we first assembled these, they thought they were cool, and now that they are older, they still like the idea that we took the time to look for and collect each of these coins from the year that they were each born.

When my mother was still alive, her favorite thing to do with any of her grandchildren when they would come over for a visit, especially when the weather did not permit heading outdoors to the park, or to play a game of kickball, was to dump out her change jar, and sit down with them and look through the pile in search of rare coins. She subscribed to several different magazines and journals on coin collecting, and she was capable of whiling away many a rainy afternoon with the kids by searching for treasure among a heap of common coins.

So popular a hobby is coin collecting, and knowing that it is one of the easiest hobbies to get kids interested in, book publishers have taken all of this to mind and have published several good books on the subject, just for kids. If you have a youngster who you think would benefit from such an intriguing hobby, pick up one or two of these to get them headed in the right direction.

Coin Collecting for Kids, by Steve Otfinoski

Coin Collecting for Kids, by Steve Otfinoski, looks at the same concepts we used to get our kids interested in coin collecting, including learning about the many different coins the U.S. has minted throughout the years. The book also included slots for saving coins, so they can immediately begin their collection, including my own favorite, Birth year coins! It also has room for them to collect the currently popular state coins. For any kid just starting this collection, this is the perfect way for the kids to get a bit of a lesson on each of the sates at the same time, as each corresponding slot also lists the each state's nickname, motto, flower, and bird. The book is spiral bound, and sturdy enough that it will be a welcome addition to any budding coin collector for many a year to come.

Whitman Coin Collecting: Starter Set

The Whitman Guide to coin Collecting is included in Whitman Coin Collecting: Starter Set. It has information on beginning a life in this fun and interesting hobby, mint marks, how to grade coins, how to spot counterfeit coins, tips for searching for valuable coins, and much more, making it the perfect beginners guide.

At the same time, be sure to provide them with a few piles of change to dig through every now and then. Because when I asked my kids what one of their favorite things about coin collecting was, all three of them responded that it was, without a doubt, the time spent with my mom, and I, looking through our change jar! If a hobby can make spending time with your parents and grandparents fun, then it is definitely on my list of hobbies to recommend to youngsters everywhere!

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