Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 6
The coin connectionThe Santa Maria Coin Club's show is brimming with treasures for collectors of all levels
BY JOE PAYNE
With standardization of coinage in ancient Rome, there came a tradition we still use today: Printing the faces of politicians into often precious metal. Although our coins circulating today aren’t forged with precious metals such as gold and silver, coin collectors still pass around precious metal coins as well as coins that are purely collectibles.
The Santa Maria Coin Club, a local group of coin enthusiasts that meets on a regular basis, is holding its annual sale event. The Santa Maria Coin and Collectibles Show will feature not just an array of different coins, but also other collectibles, including sports memorabilia like trading cards and even Beanie Babies.
“We are primarily coin collectors, but we fill the room with all kinds of collectibles to get different people in,” said Edgar Cohen, show chairman for the Santa Maria Coin Club.
Cohen has been a member of the Santa Maria Coin Club since the 1980s when he moved to Santa Maria. The coin club had already been in existence for quite some time, attracting collectors from all around.
“We have members … that come from Nipomo, Santa Ynez, and Lompoc,” he said, “but it’s still called the Santa Maria Coin Club.”
Local collectors show their varieties of coins at the club’s special sale event every year. From non-circulated mint coins to historical coins, many kinds can be found at the show.
“I think I started collecting like everybody else does with Lincoln pennies, and then Indian pennies, and buffalo nickels,” Cohen said. “And the reason you do that in your early years is an interest in collecting.”
After the initial interest, Cohen explained, the investment side of coin collecting kicks in.
“It’s a way of putting some money away,” he said. “Especially in my early married years, because I have five children, and the only way to save money was to hide it as a collectible.”
A single coin might not sound like a lot of money, but it is a small, relatively risk-free investment, as most coins appreciate in value over time, especially those that are still made with precious metals.
“In our coin club meeting last month we had the standard guide, the American Redbook,” Cohen said. “I had a book from the 1950s, and someone had one from the ’70s, and someone from the 1980s, and one from today. We looked at one coin and we looked at how much it was worth in each book, and we saw that over the period of those books, the coin only appreciated.”
The Santa Maria Coin Club meets the third Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Atkinson Community Center, 1000 N. Railroad Ave., in Santa Maria. Meetings often include trivia contests on coins, a coin raffle, or even guest speakers.
“There is a good community of coin collectors here,” Cohen said. “We have between 20 and 30 [people] for each meeting, and we have a good time at the meetings.”
While many collectors have a pointed interest—perhaps coins from a certain country—a collection can snowball once it starts.
“What happens a lot of times when you are involved in coins is someone may want to sell everything they have,” he said. “So over the years you accumulate a lot of material that you wouldn’t necessarily collect.”
For history buffs, many of the coins at the show will be from various countries and some from centuries past. Cohen will be selling and displaying ancient Roman coins and 15th century coins found in sunken Spanish ships.
“It’s an interesting hobby and it’s an interesting collectible,” he said. “Over the years you meet people who collect the same things you do.”
Arts Editor Joe Payne enjoys a nice shiny Kennedy half-dollar. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.