November 10th, 2009

Cool Geeks

Editor’s Note: This is the first post from guest blogger Mandalae Pearl. She and her dog Casey live in Simi Valley, California. She is currently perfecting her “happy numismatist” dance.

Musings from the Edge

There’s nothing ironic or edgy about coin collecting, so when the Mint recently announced a new collection of national parks coins, I did my happy numismatist dance in the privacy of a locked bathroom (after midnight).   A new set!  Shiny, untouched, celebrating America.  And  yeah, okay, I share a hobby with my grandfather, but I’m not so far gone that I don’t know what people think;  I just wish I had that Diablo Cody-esque way of turning my geekishness into cool freakishness.  Whatever.

When I first started, I collected the state quarters because I enjoyed acquiring things with little pieces of history on them, and those multi-labeled steamer trunks take up too much closet space. Then I realized that collecting coins was actually collecting little pieces of history, so I expanded my scope.  Even then, unlike anime or nail polish or Disney DVDs, everything fit perfectly into the tall, narrow maple chest I bought to hold my bras and underwear.

My grandfather is another cup of Brita-filtered water.  He’s on the watch for old coins–coins smeared and smudged, worn as an old set of treadless radials on a 1971 Toyota Corolla wagon.  “Pennies” so depleted and dingy, Abe Lincoln could be Seth Rogan … or Martha Washington.  I mean, I get it.  The thrill of the hunt, or maybe nostalgia.

But I like pretty things: new books, not used;  platinum instead of silver;  Brad Pitt (clean shaven, of course), not Woody Harrelson.  I like collecting new because I enjoy mint-condition coins.  The designs are clear and sharp, and I love looking at them.  Ordering (shopping!) online or from catalogs? Yes! Picking through a pile of linty change at the end of the day? Not so much.

I don’t approve of the new cents, though.  Poor Abe’s legs are as gangly as those on the bizarre insects that bounce against the walls all summer, hoping to bump into a mosquito.  Darn things are the dweebs of the insect world–they should take their bumbling to the bathroom in the dead of night, like any other self-respecting nerd.

Coin collecting