The Gold and Silver Mine – How I got my start with collecting

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Gold and Silver Mine Gold and Silver Mine

Readers of this column know that my intent is to educate and to share my knowledge about coins and collectibles. I enjoy doing this because there is so much to know and I like to share my experience with others.

My fourth-grade teacher started many of her students on the road to stamp collecting by offering stamps as rewards for academic achievement. Coin collecting started when we moved to New Jersey. My neighbor collected coins, so rather than convince him to collect stamps, I joined him and added coins to my portfolio. My collections were basic; the stamps being just what relatives would save off old correspondence plus some approval packets I purchased through the mail, and coins being limited to what could be found in circulation and from rolls obtained from banks. When I got a job with Acme markets as a cashier while I was still in high school, I was able to add to my collection by buying coins and currency I received from customers.

Stamps proved beneficial from an educational standpoint (horrors, don’t use the “E” word) because most were issued to commemorate a historical event, helping me with history, and foreign stamps raised my interest as to the location of the country that issued the stamp, thus aiding me with geography. Also, the engraving that went into the design of the early stamps were works of art on tiny pieces of paper. There is still a soft spot in my heart for stamp collecting, although it is a hobby with nowhere near the appeal it once had, because the younger generation is not interested in collecting stamps.

Coins fascinated me because of the many different designs and odd denominations utilized over the years. And currency (with the exception of modern currency) our paper money of years past are extremely wonderful works of art, collected for their beauty as well as rarity.

Over the years I’ve been able to transform a part-time hobby into a full-time business, one I enjoy very much and look forward to doing every day. It is a business that requires constant study and research, as there is so much to know. But gaining that knowledge is necessary to being successful.

Because I enjoy sharing my knowledge, I would encourage any readers with questions to stop by my office here in Brigantine on Saturdays, whether to help identify an item or to answer a question as to value. There is no obligation on your part and no charge for me to give an opinion, so feel free to stop by.

Douglas Keefe is the president of Beachcomber Coins, Inc. He and his wife Linda operate Beachcomber Coins and Collectibles, located at 6692 Black Horse Pike in the old Wawa building just past the former Cardiff Circle. They also have satellite offices in Brigantine and Absecon. Between them they have over 70 years experience in the coin and precious metals business. They are members of The American Numismatic Association, The Industry Council of Tangible Assets, The Numismatic Guarantee Corporation, The Certified Coin Exchange and the Professional Coin Grading Service.

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