April 8th, 2011

Feeding the Coin-Collecting Beast

Have you seen this coin? A lot of kids probably haven't.

Why don’t more kids collect coins?

I’m asked that question at least twice a day. And at least twice a day, I’m able to give a different reason. 

Video games. Expense. Aesthetics. Availability. 

I can even break it down into subcategories: Kinect for Xbox 360. A quarter costs $5. And so on. 

One columnist recently wrote that he believes kids these days don’t collect coins because they don’t come into contact with them in their daily lives. 

There’s more to it, but I’d have to agree. They buy things with debit or credit cards. Kids don’t have paper routes and they don’t mow lawns or babysit anymore, so they’re not getting paid in cash. When and if they see a cent, it’s in the “Take a penny, leave a penny,” dish at the local convenience store. 

Which brings me to my point—almost. 

Why CAN’T kids come into contact with coins every day? If they’re not seeing or using them in transactions, shouldn’t we adults—as parents, grandparents, friends, or mentors—expose them to coins? 

As a child, I was exposed to a variety of hobbies. I showed interest in gymnastics and diving, dinosaurs, art of all media and collecting records. Yes, vinyl. 

My parents did everything they could to foster my interests, and then some. I have memories of going to car shows with my dad and watching my mom take tennis lessons. Neither activity thrilled me, but I was aware they were out there should I change my mind. 

My 4-year-old is curious about EVERYTHING, and I feed the beast daily. Soccer, cooking, earthworms, ballet. You name it. If she wants to try it, I let her. 

I was never exposed to coin collecting inside the home and I never gave it much thought later on. I would find Canadian dimes or cents mixed in with my change I received at McDonald’s and set them aside, or I would count my parents’ loose change. But I was more interested in listening to a Bay City Rollers album before gymnastics practice.

Would I be a collector if someone had sat down with me and helped me learn more about the coins? Hard to say. 

Now my daughter has taken to accumulating coins. If they’re lying around, she squirrels them away and eventually goes through them. She does this because she knows coins are money, and [her] money can buy the latest “Tangled” toys. On the few occasions when I have sat down and told her about the California quarter, for instance, she asks, “What can I buy with it?”—and I take a deep breath and remind myself that she is 4. 

Will she ever be a coin collector? Hard to say. 

But at least she’s being exposed to it at home. I’m not sure that many kids are these days.

Blog . Coin collecting