|I didn't know it at the time but when I was around eight years old, my aunt noticed that I had a fascination with coins. Little did I know, she was a collector herself.
She gave me a mint state 1900 Morgan "0" US dollar and told me if I could show it to her in one year and in the same condition, she would give me another one. She did; this time it was a near-mint-state 1884 Morgan dollar. That was followed by some fifty-cent pieces and all kinds of Canadian decimal coinage. By the time I was 10, I was collecting loose change and known at the local bank as the "collection kid". I would borrow $50 from my mom then trade it in for $50 in rolled change. I would spend weeks going through it all. Whatever I found, I used my allowance to replace these "valuable ones". Not bad, all at face value. I did that for a few years. My goal, "keep the best five" of all denominations I could get. That got me many near-mint-state cent coins of the day and went a long way to fill many blanks in my catalogue.
My first real collector coin came when I saved up to buy the entire 1976 Olympic proof sets which included the gold pieces (remember I was a kid).
Around the same time I worked at the local A&P. I occasionally gave the head cashier a couple of bucks to save all the silver and old notes for me. On payday, I would get paid in old currency.
I remember in the early 80's when silver prices went into orbit I had a chance to sell my entire Olympic set (little did I know). I didn't care what it was worth, I held on to them.
I've been on the RCM mailing list since 1976 and ordered everything in their catalogue from 1976 to about 1998 (my mistake - I haven't purchased anything from the mint since).
I worked around the province of Ontario, eventually ended up in Toronto where I finally settled, got married and began collecting full-time again.
Like many of you, I turned down the offer to purchase the 1911 silver dollar at auction. While I still pick up the occasional piece, (the elusive 2000P quarter is on my list), I really haven't focused on anything above the dime in years.
I can say that until recently I have traded but NEVER sold any coins from my collection. I sold one of my 1921 5-cent pieces and some superfluous gold coins to purchase a new car.
I underwent a divorce which my coin collection played an integral part of the discussion. I'm happy to say that a big bulk of my collection remained in my hands.