As a coin collector, I've been through a lot. Day in and day out, I'm always looking at my coins, evaluating costs, grading, and always looking at more. But where does it all start? For me, it started when I was just 5 or 6. My grandpa had a foot-and-a-half tall jar that he would put all of his change in. I don't know how he accumulated it all over the course of just a few months, but it would be filled to the brim. Whenever Valentine's Day would come along, he and I would sort through it, putting all of the quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies in their rolls. Whilst doing that, he would always point out to me the coins that he grew up with (E.g. Wheat pennies, 40's coinage, and pre-1964 silver coinage). We would set those aside and put them in little baggies or boxes that I would label "special." I still have the wheaties and, of course, all of the Canadian money that got in there.
My grandpa wasn't a collector by any means, though, actually, he was the exact opposite. When given the golden opportunity, he turned it down in the worst way possible. When he was about 10-or-so, his grandfather gave him a full book of Indian Head Pennies. He didn't decide to cherish it or keep it dear to his heart like most kids would do with presents. He decided to go to the local convenience store and buy 1 (singular) Baby Ruth Candy Bar. When I was told this story, I just about started crying. When I asked my grandma if she had ever collected coins, she took me over to the 7-foot-tall bookcase that they have in their office. She showed me two Whitman coin folders. One was Lincoln Cents starting in 1941, and the other was Mercury Dimes. Also, she still had her 1963 Whitman Redbook! So, that's my start-up story. Now, I go down and see my grandparents in Texas every summer. We go to antique malls all over the state looking for the best of the best.
I started with the ANA less than 6 months ago. When I discovered Young Numismatists and Coins for A's, I just had to join. I started off with the Coins for A's. From there, I got a one-year free gold membership! The ANA Young Numismatists is probably one of the most important things that I've ever encountered. My entire family is fascinated by my coins, and with the help of the ANA, I can much better explain numismatics and share with others stories like these.