thatcoinguy's Blog

13 Oct 2021

Q&A #5: coinsbygary

Young Numismatists Exchange | thatcoinguy

Hello fellow YNs and YNH!

Coinsbygary is absolutely amazing. If you take a look at his blogs and collections, you not only notice his ASTOUNDING photography, but also the beauty and prestige of his sets. He has won over seven NGC Journal Awards, making him a truly detected and literate collector.

Me: How old are you?

Coinsbygary: 63

Me: What is your favorite coin?

Coinsbygary:Being born in 1958, I have never lived in a time where gold coins were used in daily commerce. As a youth, I dreamed of the gold coins I'd own listed in the back of the Redbook. Chief among those coins was the Type 1 Liberty Head double-eagle. Also, coins with a provenance like shipwreck coins and treasure hoards fascinate me.

Me: What is your favorite error/variety?

Coinsbygary:Any coin with doubling like my 1853 arrows and rays half-dollar double-die reverse.

Me: How did you start collecting?

Coinsbygary:As a young boy, I had a cousin who had a paper route that cherry-picked coins from the money paid to him by his subscribers, and he showed me some of his finds. I became interested in collecting coins, and like many people, I started collecting Lincoln Cents plugging holes in a folder. One time my parents were remodeling the kitchen in our house and knocked out a wall. Inside that wall, I found a 1919 Lincoln Cent. It was like finding hidden treasure, and I was hooked.

Me: How long have you been collecting?

Coinsbygary:Off and on, depending on my life situation for about 50 years. When my children were growing up and going to college, I had much less money to spend on coins, but I still collected. When I was in the US Navy, I collected the circulating coins of every port we visited.

Me: What is your favorite collecting story?

Coinsbygary:I love US-type coins and have always wanted one of every significant coin design and denomination. When I was a YN, I bought an 1876 20-cent piece advertised in a numismatic magazine as XF. I always doubted this grade and had it graded VF by a third-rate grading company about 15 years ago. As time passed, I became interested in NGC's registry. I cracked the coin out of the holder and sent it to NGC for grading. The coin came back to me in a flip improperly cleaned. In those days, there was no such thing as details graded holders. I was furious because in all the years I owned it, I never cleaned it. I subsequently mused in a post about selling the coin and buying a fully graded coin. Fortunately, another collector responded to my post, suggesting that the coin had sentimental value and that I should reconsider selling it. The coin did have sentimental value, and I kept it. Years later, I sent it back to NGC to be encapsulated in a details-grade holder. To my delight, the coin came back to me as a fully graded XF-40. Maybe that dealer advertising the coin in a mail-order ad so many years ago knew something that I didn't. Now I will likely own this coin for the rest of my life.

Me: What is your advice for future numismatists/YNs?

Coinsbygary:Dream big! As a YN, I wore out the binding of my Redbook, dreaming of buying the gold coins in the back of the book if I had the money. In fact, I bought my first gold coin, an 1881 half-eagle, as a teenager! I paid for it by working as a golf caddie at $3.85 for 18 holes, $1.50/hour as a farmhand, and $2.10/hour as a dishwasher in a restaurant. Today, I own many of the coins I dreamed of then. Don't stop dreaming! At my age, I still dream of owning a Stella!

Keep collecting,




Level 6

Great interview! Gary is tops when is comes to photography! Thank for sharing with us! ; )


Level 4

A great inspiration to everyone here.


Level 5

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words. I am humbly honored by all of you. Numismatics combines my love of photography, writing, and history. I also like the spirit of knowledge sharing and the camaraderie that is the cornerstone of numismatics. I have always told my children growing up that they were never dumb or stupid. That people didn't know more or less than one another but that they knew differently. When two or more people share their knowledge, everyone grows in knowledge. I have never seen this concept so prevalent as I have seen it in numismatics. You have all contributed to expanding my knowledge base. Thank you all. Gary


Level 4

I can’t wait for Gary to see all these awesome comments telling him he is actually great. He’ll probably just be his modest seat and comment, “You’re just saying that!” We are not just saying things Gary. You’re a fantastic dude.


Level 6

Gary has helped so many people on this site and others, including me. He is a true asset to our community and a mighty fine dude.


Level 5

Very nice. Great story. Thank you


Level 6

Amazing man. His photos are the best. Check out his work on his NGC Registry sets. Thanks. Good job.


Level 7

Gary is very humble. He has won many awards for his sets. Writing articles. His blogs are probably the best. He took pictures for my article on the Coventry set. I was honored to have him do it. And at the same time hes a regular guy. I'm proud to call him a friend.. If you need pictures , Gary is the one.


Level 6

Thanks for sharing.

AC coin$

Level 5

You have a seplendid resume. Great interview ....Great teacher

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