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Adams Again
May 12, 2008

I have not purchased any First Spouse gold coins. The sixth one, which honors Louisa Adams, comes up for sale May 29 and I won't buy that one either.

I decided at the beginning that putting together a set of half-ounce gold coins was going to require more money than I was willing to put into it.

However, that does not mean the series has not been beneficial to me - or could be.

I bought a book on my last vacation. It is called "Ladies of Liberty" and it is written by Cokie Roberts, a television reporter and personality.

It is a book that I doubt I would ever have picked up were it not for the existence of the First Spouse series. Vacations being vacations, I did not get very far into the book.

The book is not solely about First Ladies, but they feature prominently among the gallery of personalities that helped establish the norms and practices of the early days of our republic.

My start got me through Abigail Adams. I will finish it, but I am not quite certain when.

History is important and Robert's chosen topic helps the reader to remember that the Founding Fathers were not sitting out on a mountainside somewhere gazing down on us mere mortals, but were husbands and fathers doing their best for their families and their country with a lot of help from their wives.

Perhaps it was fate that would have me stuck at Abigail Adams. I wrote a column last year in Numismatic News taking a poke at her husband, John Adams. I received a letter of rebuke from Brad Karoleff who urged me to read the David McCullough biography. I did so.

That topic came up again at the Numismatic News table during the Central States convention last month in Chicago when another reader wanted to dispute my take on John Adams.

Even though he disagreed with me, I take it as a compliment that almost a year after I wrote something, he was still treating it as a current event.

Such is the power of our history. Such is the power of a coin series that makes us think about our history.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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