Everybody has a story as to how they got involved in coin collecting.
Here’s a brief story of my first coin and how I began my long and enjoyable journey into coin collecting…
The 1941 Lincoln Wheat Penny
It was October 1992.
Mom had been giving me some small change as spending money in exchange for little tasks and chores I was doing around the house.
One night, she handed me something like a dollar in change. Some quarters, nickels, I think a dime, and then some pennies.
One penny stuck out to me.
It was heavily worn, and had two stalks of wheat on the back. Funny… I was always used to seeing the Lincoln Memorial on the back of all the pennies I’d seen.
I was holding a 1941 Lincoln wheat cent, and it was the oldest coin I had ever recalled seeing in my own hands.
I was 11 years old.
Was I Rich?
One of the first thoughts that ran through my little head was ‘how rich am I now?!’
I called out to Mom, telling her what I had found.
She seemed quite impressed. I thought the coin I was holding was worthy of placement in a museum. The coin is 40 years older than I. I was already aware enough of history to realize it dated back to the beginnings of World War II and was made back when my grandparents were much younger… and before any of my aunts or uncles were alive.
Surely, the coin had to be rare and valuable, right?
Well, the next day, I opened the Yellow pages (remember, this was before the days of going online to look things up) and started calling local coin dealers. I was excited about my find and wanted to know just how many thousands of dollars my worn 1941 penny was worth.
As you’d guess, within three phone calls, I’d confirmed my coin wasn’t worth thousands of dollars, but — rather — about 5 to 10 cents.
Coin Collecting Added A New Member To Its Ranks
But I wasn’t crushed at all. In fact, it was too late. Coins had already hooked me. The history behind that old coin intrigued me.
I wanted more of these old pennies.
I begun searching through all the change in Mom’s purse and and the countless pennies in Dad’s change bucket.
I wound up finding a 1950s wheat penny in Dad’s hoard of pocket change.
I found a 1946 penny a couple weeks later in Mom’s purse change she received at the post office.
By Thanksgiving, Mom took me to a local bookstore and picked me up a copy of a coin price guide, complete with mintage figures, so I could learn more about the value of wheat pennies and also about buying and selling old coins.
My coin collection, also, continued to grow.
In the ensuing years, I have bought, sold, and traded many coins…
…But I still have and always will keep that fateful 1941 penny that unlocked the door to a hobby I will surely enjoy for a lifetime.