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A Movie Full of Coins. Wow!
June 14, 2010

I watched a movie on DVD called “Dear John.”

It wasn’t one of those box office major hits and will not likely be a movie with a large fan base.

I was startled by it because coin collecting played a major role in it. It was the one true connection between the lead character and his father.

It was a remarkably good representation of coins offered in a non-hobby context, though the public probably won’t see it that way because the father character was portrayed as being somewhat autistic.

The coins weren’t stolen, phenomenally valuable like a 1913 nickel, and the plot did not hinge on what they were so much as the life of a collector.

The father told the lead character’s girl friend that it was actually his son that got him started in collecting. We later come to find out that this was because the son at the age of 7 found a nickel obverse muled with a cent reverse in change after buying ice cream from an ice cream truck.

Coin dealers came into play, one was honest, one was not.

We had a quick look at Bryan money, a Morgan dollar as well as a well worn Standing Liberty quarter. The Sacagawea dollar was mentioned.

When the son hit the rebellious teenage years, this was signaled by a fight between the two characters where the son exclaims in anger that he is not going to a coin show with his dad because, “You go to a coin show every weekend.”

There was a visit to the Philadelphia Mint.

You get the idea.

How can a movie with so much numismatic information not end up feeling like an ANA club program?

You will have to watch it and see.

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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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