It's been a long time coming that I write this blog, considering I drafted it originally back in the spring of 2015. I'm writing perhaps from the perspective that only a younger numismatist can (I'm currently 20 as of this post). This post may seem longwinded, and no one may read it, but I feel like I should share this story with anyone who potentially may do so. Back in January of 2014, my father and I were rummaging through the remnants of my grandparent's ceiling, knowing that contained inside was a shoebox filled with my Pappy's coin collection. After some searching, we discovered the box, and within the WWII cigarette tin and eyeglass case that his coins and bills were housed in. Keep in mind that both of my grandparents at the time were still alive and well, but they wanted us to go ahead and find them while we could. After some weeks of organizing and categorizing the pieces, I told my Pappy that I was done going through them, and that I would get him the money for everything as soon as I could. He told me, "No, you take those home with you and put them in with your stuff. Do what you do with them, just keep them in the family." As a man who'd suffered two major strokes in his life, my Pappy often times had difficulty speaking, but on this night was able to speak clearly for whatever reason. After telling me this and me making sure that this was what he wanted, my Pappy, father, and I all began to cry. I was in no way expecting him to entrust all of these coins to me, but for him to do meant the world to me at the time.
In May of 2016, during my finals week as a freshman in college, I received a phone call from my mother. Her in tears, I already knew what happened. My Pappy had passed away, one night before I was to come home and see him. While shaken up, his health had been failing for a while, so it was in no way unexpected. He was a man of faith, and this gave me comfort to know where he would be going, and that I would have a chance to see him again one day. With all this, I harkened back to the coin collection he'd given me just two years prior. Interestingly enough, throughout the entirety of his visitation and funeral, it was only when I thought about these coins and the connection I had with my grandfather through them that truly brought me to tears.
From a numismatic standpoint, the majority of the pieces would seem negligible to most. Numerous worn wheat pennies of later years, some random Canadian pieces, worn buffalo nickels and so on. The memories associated with them, however, is what makes them priceless. Only once when I was a child did my Pappy ever show these coins to me, and I so vividly remembered that being the first time I had seen a Buffalo nickel in person. The more interesting pieces of the stash are the ones that now mean the most to me. A 1912-S Barber Half, the first and only I currently own, was a piece I took with me to the funeral to show my family out of a sheer desire to share this memory. A 1942 Manchukuo Chiao, most certainly received during my Pappy's years served in Hawaii during WWII. And perhaps the most interesting, a December 2nd, 1862, $5 Confederate States of America bill. Pinholed and torn, this bill was given to my Pappy by my grandmother's grandfather shortly after their marriage, meaning that this piece has now been handed down in my family for five generations. After flattening it out from its years in a folded state, I put the bill in a holder, labeled proudly as piece from my Pappy's collection. All these things and more that he had given me mean absolutely everything to me, especially now that he has passed away. All of his pieces reside in one box, together, at my home, and looking upon always brings a tear to my eye. The whole point of this blog post is this: numismatics, and the joy that coins can bring, can always be a family affair. It can bring people together, and spur new collectors on (as both my grandfather's did with me). The task my Pappy gave me to keep his coins within the family go without saying, and I hope that I can share the memories and joy he gave me with my future children and grandchildren, for many years to come.