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A Summer of Coins
By Dr. R. S. Bartanowicz

Our 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 the airport."

Munching contentedly over the hot dogs his son Bill said, "By the way, whatever happened to my baseball card collection and my Brooks Robinson rookie card?"

"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 age.

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.


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