Coins hold history lessons
by Joseph Bakes
The Arizona state
quarter debuted June 2 The breadth of the
offerings and exhibits at the 33rd Garden State
Numismatic Association convention last month in
Somerset gave testimony to the broad appeal of
And the efforts of the organizers to involve
young collectors was testimony to their
enthusiasm for the hobby.
"Coin collecting, even paper money, has to do
with the history of our country," said Bill
Horton of Keyport, a past president of both the
GSNA and the American Numismatic Association.
And with geography and language, said Dave
Bailey of Staten Island, the new president of
"The expression 'Hold history in your hands' is
certainly true" about coin collecting, said
Bailey, a retired history teacher.
While most young collectors start out putting
pennies and nickels of various years into slots
on cardboard folders, he said that for as little
as $3 they could own a coin minted during the
Roman Empire. He pointed out a beautiful 1
denarius Roman coin graced by Faustina, the wife
of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Dating to the second
century A.D., the coin was on sale at the
convention for $60.
"I like old," Bailey said, recalling that he was
able to collect pre-Revolutionary War coins as a
child "for pennies."
Jim Majoros of Toms River, president of the
Ocean County Coin Club, organized the young
numismatists' program at the convention, at
which each participant was given a slabbed New
Jersey state quarter in uncirculated condition.
He pointed to exhibits by young collectors on
U.S. coins honoring George Washington and coins
depicting animals of Africa. Young collectors
can play mix and match with coins such as the
state quarters, Majoros said.
For more information on the GSNA and its
constituent clubs around the state, go to