Clifford Mishler submitted these recollections triggered by a coin image in last week's issue. Thanks!
In scanning through this week’s edition of the E-Sylum, I was drawn to the picture of the ancient (?) coin shown in one article.
The coin depicted, a 1299 AH half dollar size copper one Pysa from Zanzibar in what is today Tanzania, is similar to the coin in my collection that I credit as having drawn my interest to the coin collecting discipline at the age of ten in 1950. The story of how that came to be is a bit too long to relate at this time, but I can share background sketch.
In 1950 I made a new friend in a new community to which I had been drawn that summer as a consequence of my father’s new business involvement. My new friend was a stamp collector. He undertook to interest me in that discipline, which did not take. However, in scanning through a stamp publication he shared with me, I came across a small advertisement from the Tatham Stamp & Coin Company of Springfield, Mass., offering coins on approval.
I wrote away for an approval selection, thinking at the time that if my friend thought I was taking up coin collecting, he would quit bugging me about stamp collecting. It worked. He quit bugging me, but the bonus was that it led me to the coin collecting discipline.
Among the coins included in the approval selection received by return mail was a similar example of the Zanzibar one the article said was dug up in Australia by WWII soldier Maurie Isenberg. I was virtually mesmerized by the coin, thinking it was about 750 years old, and that it must be a great bargain because it could be mine for less than a dollar. It immediately set me to discovering where Zanzibar was, what monetary system it represented, and anything else that might be pertinent. Along the way I discovered that my newfound treasure was only about 70 years old and of minimal value.
That single coin, however, led to my embarking on what has now been a nearly 63 year passion, a lifetime of enjoyment, and a very rewarding career. I still have the coin tucked away in one of my accumulations, and over the years have frequently passed it around as a show and tell item when talking before coin clubs or other groups. It was, I like to recount, the best investment in numismatics that my father ever made, even though it would command little more in today’s marketplace that what he forked over to purchase it for me way back then.
I have come to believe that the fact that I became a committed coin collector as a youngster motivated me to become a better student, particularly in the disciplines of history, geography, economics, mathematics, political science and such. Those qualifications, coupled with developing the ability to craft words and thoughts into understandable form, in turn paved the way for the development of a writing and publishing career that has been very enjoyable and rewarding. I cannot imagine that my father could have made a better numismatic investment, at least not on my behalf.
That coin as shown in the article we quoted was not actually one of the ones dug in Australia - it must have been the folly of a reporter or their assistant. But I'm glad it led to this great story!
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
ANCIENT COIN COULD REWRITE AUSTRALIAN HISTORY
Presidential Coin & Antique Co., Inc.'s Auction Eighty-Three of Tokens, Medals and Political items will be held in conjunction with Whitman's Baltimore Coin & Currency Convention at the Baltimore Convention Center, June 20-23, 2013.
Hardcopies $6 - contact Joe Levine at Jlevine968@aol.com
or view the catalog online
Wayne Homren, Editor
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