Question: Concerning your recent column from a woman who said her son wants to collect coins from all over the world: Maybe I can help her. I have a lot of foreign coins that I will give to her son. I have traveled all over the world and always end up with pocket change. I hope I can help the young fellow.--E.S.D.
Answer: Many generous readers have contacted me regarding the mother's request. I suspect there are probably hundreds and perhaps thousands of young people who would benefit from numismatics. Such a hobby is educational and also potentially profitable. The study of coins is historical and opens up all sorts of educational vistas. Current issues contain likenesses of leaders and national heroes plus dates and denominations.
It can be entertaining to try to complete a set, and it can lead to a lifelong pursuit that will provide hours and hours of constructive diversion. Any youngster who expresses a desire to pursue numismatics as a hobby, and even those who may not be aware of such a thing, should be encouraged to follow through.
Collecting foreign coins is a good way to get started because they are comparatively inexpensive, especially contemporary issues. Some neighborhood coin dealers encourage young collectors by having "goodie" boxes that are fun to rummage through. Others are directly involved in youth activities. Perhaps a local dealer will be able to suggest a worthy youth or organization that will accept your foreign coins.
Another avenue to pursue is coin clubs, which proliferate in this area. More than 50 are listed in the most recent issue of the Numismatic Assn. of Southern California quarterly. Many of these clubs actively encourage junior numismatists and would be a good resource for someone wishing to donate coins to youngsters. Lorna R. Lebold, NASC president, has indicated in the past that she would be happy to provide a list of clubs for this purpose. She may be contacted at Box 5173, Buena Park, Calif. 90622; telephone (714) 527-0962.
She and other members of the Numismatic Assn. of Southern California are probably preoccupied this week with the group's 33rd annual coins show (see Coin Calendar).
Q: I have a 1920 cent. It is a little tarnished. Could you tell me its value?--J.A.
A: More than 310 million cents were minted in 1920, making it a very common issue. Your cent would have to be uncirculated for it to have more than nominal value. It has to be seen to be evaluated. If uncirculated, it's probably in the $10-to-$15 range.
Gold is always popular with collectors. World gold, which predates U.S. gold by hundreds of years, will have a chance to shine when the Guia Collection of World Gold Coins is offered March 22-23 in New York. The auction will be in connection with the Metropolitan New York Convention and will coincide with the Norweb Collection sale on March 24-25. Highlights of the Guia Collection include a 1768 5 doppie from Sardinia (pictured), only three known; rarities from Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Austria and other European states. Catalogues are $10 from Auctions by Bowers & Merena, Box 1224, Wolfeboro, N.H. 03894.
More than 2,500 ancient and modern coins of the world and the United States will be offered in a mail-bid sale conducted by Coin Galleries, a division of Stack's. For a catalogue or other information, contact Stack's at 123 West 57th St., New York, N.Y. 10019; telephone (212) 582-5955.
Today, Friday and Saturday--The 33rd Numismatic Assn. of Southern California Coin Show, dubbed "Classic '88," will feature an auction by Bowers & Merena, plus dealers, exhibits and educational forums. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at the LAX Hyatt Hotel, 6225 W. Century Blvd. Admission is $1. For information, call (714) 527-0962 or (213) 821-7000.