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What's the Most Important Coin?
October 30, 2008

What's the most important coin in your life? No, I am not asking what is the most expensive coin that you own, although I suppose your answer to the first question could be the second.

I have been working on a holiday gift guide insert for Numismatic News and quite naturally I hope that some readers will plan on giving coins for Christmas.

Gifts of this kind can awaken an interest in the hobby, but the giver probably doesn't know what specific coin might do the trick.

For me, the coin that got it all started was a 1909 Lincoln cent. There is nothing special about it. It had no collector value when I found it in 1963, but it was the spark that set the blaze of my numismatic interest.

I probably would not have even looked at the date on the cent except I was going through every cent in the house as the result of a comic book ad that I had read that promised to pay good money for certain cents dated before 1940.

I wanted in on that action.

I might have been 8, but even then I knew money made the world go around and I wanted to go along for the ride.

Well, I found that cent. My mother noticed my sudden interest in coins and before you know it I was in a hobby shop buying a Lincoln cent album. She didn't even wait for Christmas. That was fortunate for me. It was the perfect gift at the perfect time.

I still have that cent and I consider it to be the most important coin I own, though it has no significance for anyone but me.

How do you define the most important coin that you own?

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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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