By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek …..
Do you have a coin collector in your life but don’t know what to get them? Fear not fellow traveler, CoinWeek is here with five numismatist-approved gift suggestions that you don’t need to be a rare coin expert to get right.
1. Coins & Collectors: Golden Anniversary Edition
Q. David Bowers’ Coins & Collectors is a landmark collection of numismatic stories compiled by the author over the course of his storied 60+ year career. When it comes to bringing the hobby’s most influential figures (and the coins they pursued) to life, nobody comes close to the “Old Professor”.
Whether the collector in your life hoards silver bullion or seeks out early American coppers by die variety, there’s something in this copiously illustrated 404-page hardcover edition for them.
When we wrote about the book shortly after its release in October 2014, we were so impressed with it that we gave it CoinWeek’s prestigious Editor’s Choice Award. Only two books reviewed in 2014 received this honor.
Coins & Collectors carries a suggested retail price of $29.95. It’s possible to find it online for a few dollars less.
2. Intercept Slab Box for 25 Slabs
Environmental contaminants pose a major threat for the long-term preservation of coins. Coin albums and even third party grading company coin holders offer little protection against the harmful effects of copper sulfide.
When Intercept Shield™ coin preservation albums and capsules debuted in 2000, they set new standards for durability and environmental protection.
Unfortunately, at the time they were priced at about 30% more than conventional storage media, which caused many collectors to shy away from them. Today, thanks to the rising prices of competing products, Intercept Shield Albums aren’t much more expensive than Dansco albums or coin albums from other brands. Same goes for the entire range of Intercept Shield products.
We highly recommend the Intercept Slab Box. It’s a practical gift that every coin collector can use.
The current generation box holds up to 25 coin slabs and is engineered to snugly fit coins graded by both Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). An older style box, still available at some merchants, holds 20.
Each box is fitted with a patented Intercept lining, which purifies the atmosphere inside the box and eliminates environmental threats to copper, bronze, silver and gold coins.
3. A Classic Idea: American Silver Eagle in a Holiday Themed Holder by H.E. Harris
The American Silver Eagle is the most popular silver coin made by the U.S. Mint, and it’s been a big hit with collectors and investors since its debut in 1986. It consists of one ounce of .999 fine silver, and has a legal tender value of $1.
Wayne Herndon at Wizard Coin Supply says that holiday shoppers love to give them as gifts to family members and friends.
To turn this medallic memento into a holiday item, Wayne suggests the frosty holiday-themed cases made by H. E. Harris & Co. Once inside, the coin is protected from wear and abuse.
A Silver Eagle in a holiday-themed case makes a great stocking stuffer. You can make it even better by adding John Mercanti and Michael “Miles” Standish’s colorful American Silver Eagles: A Guide to the U.S. Bullion and Coin Program, now in its third edition.
4. Precision Magnifiers
Serious numismatists know that quality glass is essential for studying coins, tokens, and medals up close and personally.
Our two favorite magnifiers are German imports made by companies known the world over for outstanding optics. The first is Eschenbach’s 3×6 Precision Folding Magnifier 23 mm, which provides crisp, distortion-free magnification at 3x, 6x, and 9x thanks to Eschenbach’s proprietary optic achromatic color-fault correcting system.
The loupe retails for a hefty $205; however, Wizard Coin Supply offers them for $153.90.
The second magnifier on our list is another triplet: the Zeiss Pocket Loupe. Like the Eschenbach, the Zeiss Pocket Loupe is a double-folding loupe with 3x, 6x, and 9x magnification. Its glass is treated with Zeiss T multi-layer anti-reflective coating, which the company claims minimizes distracting environmental glare and enhances clarity. A sturdy polymer shell provides shock protection in the event the loupe is dropped.
At 22 mm, the Zeiss is slightly smaller than the 23 mm Eschenbach, but its crystal clear optics make it a favorite tool of many of the industry’s most seasoned coin graders. It’s also a touch cheaper, having a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $140. You can shave a couple bucks off the price by picking it up from Wizard.
5. Memberships to the American Numismatic Association and the American Numismatic Society
A great way to enrich the collecting experience is by joining a numismatic club or organization. There are many excellent local and regional clubs that might offer the collector in your life a great in-person experience, but two national level organizations are worth your consideration. They are the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the American Numismatic Society (ANS).
The American Numismatic Association is a federally chartered nonprofit educational organization dedicated to teaching and encouraging people to study and collect money and related items.
The 25,000+ members of the ANA enjoy numerous benefits, including a copy of the outstanding monthly magazine The Numismatist, use of the ANA’s Dwight N. Manly Numismatic Library, and access to a wide range of educational programs held every year at ANA headquarters and two ANA coin shows.
Individual ANA membership costs as little as $14 per year for collectors under the age of 18, and $28 for adults.
The American Numismatic Society is a nonprofit organization based in New York City dedicated to the study of coins, currency, medals, and related topics. It boasts a large research library and an impressive collection covering more than two millennia of numismatic history. The ANS also publishes the high-quality quarterly ANS Magazine, the tri-annual Colonial Newsletter, the annual American Journal of Numismatics, and a host of high-quality books and monographs.
Membership in the ANS starts at $50 for students and $75 for Basic Associates. For $20 more, members receive a copy of the American Journal of Numismatics ($75 retail value).
Both organizations provide tremendous support to the collecting community and each offers a compelling value proposition for the cost of membership.
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Well, that wraps up our list of five can’t miss numismatic gifts for the collector in your life. If we were to recommend anything else, that would be to save CoinWeek.com in your browser’s bookmarks. CoinWeek is an invaluable resource for news and information about coins and collecting. We’re also free!
Have a safe and fun holiday season!