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Nobody Tells Collectors What to Do
June 28, 2011

When I was a kid I avidly collected Lincoln cents from circulation. It was great fun to take the two Whitman albums and fill them hole by hole.

I completed the 1941 to date holder. That was logical. None of the coins in it was rare. Some, like the 1955-S were devilishly hard to find, nevertheless. I saw only one in my many searches. Fortunately, one was all I needed.

I never did finish the 1909-1940 album. The big three, 1909-S VDB, 1914-D and 1922 plain stood in the way. I would never find them in circulation and even at the prices prevailing in the mid 1960s, I wouldn’t be able to come up with the money to buy them.

Oddly, the realization that I would not finish the Lincoln cent also turned me away from the Indian Head series. They are not related. But in my mind they were.

For a time, my grand plan, if a child can have grand plans, was to keep going with cents. A friend of mine at my earliest stages of coin collecting had an 1889 Indian Head cent. That seemed positively ancient at 74 years of age compared to my 8 years.

How I envied my friend that coin. I promised myself that someday I would work on Indians.

However, other than dabbling with a few stray Indian cents that came my way from the early 1900s, I never did redeem my promise to myself. I never even owned an 1889 let alone the keys of the series, 1877, 1908-S and 1909-S.

Why not?

Even a coin collector is sometimes mystified as to why his interest changes as the passion cools, but that’s the beauty of the hobby also. You can do what you like. There is nobody to tell you what to do.

I like that.

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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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