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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 coin collecting.

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 GSNA.

"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 gsna.org.

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