A Summer of
By Dr. R. S. Bartanowicz
numismatist and his spouse smiled as their
7-year-old grandson Karson stepped off the
airport tram and start running toward them at
full speed. Hugging his grandmother, he looked
over to our numismatist. "Granddad I brought my
coins," he said. "They're in Dad's suitcase."
Our numismatist grinned as he saw his son Bill
plodding along pulling the suitcase. "It isn't
funny, Dad. You try carrying 20 pounds of coins
through the airport and setting off every metal
detector. Karson insisted that the coins are too
valuable to put through checked baggage."
Unable to suppress a grin, our numismatist
looked at his grandson and asked, "Karson, did
you explain to your father that your coin
collection is going to put you through graduate
school?" Karson smiled. "Dad says that I'm going
to Texas A&M on a football scholarship. I'd
rather collect coins."
"You win, Dad. I can see that you and Karson are
going to be spending the month sorting coins and
going to coin shops." Our numismatist patted his
son Bill on the back. "Don't worry. Karson and
I'll throw the football around a bit. The
football scholarship will be Plan B, and who
knows, maybe Karson will do both."
Our numismatist felt a tug. "Grandma said we can
get hot dogs. The hot dogs really taste good at
Munching contentedly over the hot dogs his son
Bill said, "By the way, whatever happened to my
baseball card collection and my Brooks Robinson
"As I recall you attached it to your bike so
that the spokes hit it to make it sound like a
motorcycle." His son faked shock, saying, "So
that's what happened to my college fund. Karson,
let this serve as a lesson, listen to your
grandfather. He's a very wise old man."
Well this is the third summer that our grandson
Karson is spending a month with us. As with most
youngsters, Karson likes to stay busy. His
schedule involves swimming, piano lessons, video
games and, of course, coin collecting.
The coin collecting has become an enrichment
activity that involves searching through bags of
world and domestic coins. Along the way we visit
coin shops where Karson is instructed in proper
etiquette and respect.
And, of course, there is the "Big Kuhuna," which
is going to a coin show. This requires
instruction in self control - no running up and
down the bourse pestering dealers. It involves
careful consultation as to what is affordable
and what isn't. To a little kid, it's all
overwhelming. But we all have to learn, and
Karson knows that if he behaves a reward is most
likely in order.
All of these things amount to spending time
together and involving the youngster in
activities. It is this involvement that makes
things fun vs. being a mere spectator. So with
all said and done, our numismatist is a genius
and his grandson Karson is the model of decorum
and a dedicated numismatist at age 7.
Well, as shocking as this may be, the above
isn't totally true. There have been ups and
downs but overall Karson has done pretty good
for a 7 year old. He's still a young lad who has
a lot of demands on his attention span. On the
other hand, he does like coins and is quite
generous in giving extra coins to kids his own
He met some kids from overseas at the swimming
pool and discovered that he had coins from their
home country. He promptly brought some coins in
the following day for his new friends.
His generosity also extended to his summer piano
teacher who also instructs in the harp. He and
his grandmother quickly found a large Irish coin
with a harp on it, which he proudly presented to
his music teacher. His music teacher was
particularly impressed because she had never
seen a coin with a harp on it.
The point of this is that Karson has shared his
hobby and interest with others who have
appreciated his efforts. Pretty good for a
little kid, huh?
So where are you when it comes to getting young
people engaged? First of all, there's no sense
trying to force or create an interest when there
isn't any. On the other hand, asking young
people to help out can perhaps light that fire
whether it is sorting/organizing coins or making
lists. And, of course, there always the state
quarter book to fill up, which fits in nicely
with a geography lesson. Oops, we don't want to
forget the Presidential dollars, which work in
nicely with a history lesson or two.
Anyway, Karson and I will be working hard on his
graduate school fund. The jury is still out on
his football scholarship to Texas A&M. In the
meantime we can still collect coins - even if
not for profit.
P.S. Our other son Jim has two children who I
need to indoctrinate into the world of coins. My
work is never ending.