Friday, August 3, 2012

day 3. coin

a sampling of my collection
There is definitely a story to tell behind today's photo.  I've been a coin collector since about age 12.

It all began in the sixth grade. I had to complete a report and create a poster on a foreign country. I chose Ireland. To help us with our research, we connected with a pen pal in that country.

Did you ever have a pen pal as a child? Remember when we would write letters with a pen and stationery, or even just notebook paper, and put stamps on envelopes? In this day and age of electronic communication, letters are few and far between. Now we connect with each other via email and social networking instead of writing letters. It's cheap and convenient. But that makes me a little sad because I remember the excitement of receiving hand written letters in the mail from my pen pals. I think I'm going to start writing more letters and encourage my kids to do the same.

Irish pound note from Ruthie
My pen pal from Ireland was Ruthie. She would send me postcards of Ireland, pictures of her and her family, and of course... money. I was fascinated by it! It had more than one color, interesting Gaelic writing, and a watermark! American money looked pretty boring compared to the Irish pound. My interest in foreign currency had begun.


I never really considered starting an official collection until we had exchange students at my high school. They came from Sweden, Finland, Germany, Switzerland and Iceland to name a few. My family was a host to three of them (by the way, I can still count to 10 in Finnish). It was so interesting to hear about their cultures and traditions, and they were very helpful in expanding my collection. They would not only bring me coins from their home country but surrounding countries as well. They helped me fill in most of Europe. And this occurred when there was a wall dividing Germany and the Soviet Union still existed. I have coins from both.

My family made a few contributions. My sister traveled to France. My husband went to Costa Rica and Dominican Republic. On his last trip to Belgium, he brought me back some euro banknotes and coins. Together we have traveled to the Bahamas, Jamaica, Mexico, and Canada. And the English pounds in my collection are from my trip to London. But I owe the most to my cousin Louise who loved to travel. She helped me add China, Japan, India, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Botswana, South Africa and many more. She also gave me an album for Christmas one year so I could organize them. It's presently overflowing.

What started out as a collection by chance turned into a hobby. There are over 40 countries represented in my collection. I wish I could say I have visited them all...... someday I will.

Do you have a collection? What do you collect?

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