By Jef Rietsma
The current state of the economy may imply
otherwise, but David Binder said 2009 will be a
good year for money — at least for those who
Binder is a numismatist, a coin collector, whose
fondness ranges from rare pieces to complete and
uncirculated sets of coins.
While Binder, 46, isn’t alone in his love for
money, his passion for collectible pieces puts
him in a class by itself.
When the Three Rivers resident was a kid and his
friends were collecting baseball cards and comic
books, Binder was sorting through rolls of
pennies, organizing them by date, mint or
wheat-backs from Lincoln Memorial-backs.
When the United States Mint during 1999 unveiled
the five quarters in the initial batch of its 50
State Quarters program, Binder correctly
predicted a new generation of numismatists would
2009 will see the release of six new quarter,
four new penny back designs, and four presidents
featured on new gold dollar coins. Binder said
he expects the appeal to younger prospective
collectors will continue.
“There are varying opinions about so many
designs coming out in one year, but most
collectors agree if it introduces a new audience
to the hobb, then it’s not a bad thing,” Binder
said, going out of his way to note the U.S. Mint
is marketing the gold presidential dollars
A member of the Kalamazoo Numismatic Club and
organizer of a twice-a-year coin show in Three
Rivers, Binder said until the U.S. Mint stops
making $1 bills, any type of dollar coin in the
United States will fail to gain mainstream
He said Canada eliminated the paper dollar in
1986 and its residents had no choice but to
accept $1 and $2 coins in the same manner they
handle quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies.
According to Binder, U.S. retailers oppose $1
coins because most cash register drawers don’t
have a compartment for them, but taking pennies
out of circulation, he suggests, would eliminate
“As long as we’re given a choice, the $1 coin
will never catch on in the United States,” he
The popular 50 State Quarters program concluded
this year with the release of the final five
states admitted to the United States.
In 2009, backs of six newly designed quarters
will feature the District of Columbia and five
U.S. territories: Puerto Rico, Guam, American
Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
On deck for the third year of the presidential
gold dollar coins are the busts of William Henry
Harrison, John Tyler, James Polk and Zachary
The back of the penny in 2009 will have four
different designs to commemorate the 100-year
anniversary of Abraham Lincoln appearing on the
one-cent piece and the 200th anniversary of his
birth. Binder said the reverse side of the penny
starting in 2010 will be redesigned again with a
new, permanent design.
Binder, who assembles industrial saws for a
living, said there’s talk about continuing the
commemorative quarter concept for 11 years
starting in 2010 by featuring U.S. National
He speculated that the appeal of the 50 State
Quarters program to children stemmed in part
from the fact the quarters could be obtained at
an even exchange rate, contain information of a
geographic nature that most children are
familiar with and they have been collected just
as enthusiastically by adults.
A penny saved
His introduction into coin collecting started as
a 9-year-old, when a neighbor whose lawn he
mowed offered him a $20 bill or a 1931 penny
featuring an “S” for its San Francisco minting.
The penny at the time was worth about $30.
Binder said he remembered his neighbor putting
both currencies on the table and asking the
young man to make a choice. A price guide the
neighbor shared with Binder verified the value
of the penny.
“I was 9 and didn’t feel I needed the bill so I
took the penny,” he said. “The old penny was
something that excited me … I don’t know if the
redesigned pennies in 2009 will be received with
the same intrigue.”
The highest-priced coin he had on display at the
Three Rivers show earlier this month was a 1914
Denver-minted penny, rare because 1914 was the
third-lowest year of mintage of the penny in
Denver, he said. The asking price: $695.
The next show Binder plans to organize in Three
Rivers will be the third Saturday in May at
Three Rivers Middle Schoool.