My father had a thing about coins. He searched for them, and hoarded them and requested certain ones when he went to the bank. Dad told me his attraction to coins started back in the days when he didn’t have any. Pennies mattered and he never forgot his mother counting hers at the dining table, long after her children were in bed. My father was one of those people who could spy a dropped penny a mile away and then go out of his way to claim it.
“Find a penny pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck.”
With every abandoned coin he found, my father would proudly declare, “I am richer than I was the day before.” Dad was someone who could find a lost dime in the sand or a dingy quarter in a broken sidewalk. My father checked the date on every nickel and dime and quarter and penny that passed through his pocket.
Some of them were keepers.
When state quarters were introduced, my father began collecting them and putting them in books for his grandchildren. He was always searching for Delaware or North Carolina or Massachusetts to complete a set. He would ask the cashier at the grocery store to check her quarters and he sweet-talked the teller at the bank to keep an eye out for the ones he needed. Dad would randomly ask people to look through the coins in their billfold or in their pocket, always prepared to make a trade. He put together over twenty state coin collector sets and had many more in progress when he passed.
Dad loved his coins.
He liked the weight of them in his hand and the feel of them rubbing together in his pocket. Dad knew the places where coins were minted and the years that coins changed and still had the coins that were in his father’s pocket the day he died. He also remembered working at ten years old to help support his mother and brother and sisters.
He always got paid in coins.
For the complete column, please see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.