Money never seems to come out of style, as one expression goes. Jingling, jangling, shimmering things, in addition to finding use in vending machines, for some, coins carry with them an aesthetic and historical value as well.
For local numismatists interested in such things, for more than four decades the Minot Coin Club has been the monthly go-to for discussing, trading, and examining coins and currency from around the world. Beyond that though, the club's vice president Josh Hummel explained that around Minot "there's just not a lot of options." Which is why the club has decided to hold its 1st Annual Coin and Collectible Show on Sept. 14, at the Town Hall meeting room at Comfort Inn, near Dakota Square Mall.
"As it stands today, I'm very excited," said Hummel, who is organizing the event. Seventeen of the show's available 23 tables are already reserved, drawing in dealers and collectors from around the state and as far away as Wisconsin. A relatively new activity for the club, members turned for guidance to the Bismarck-area Capital City Coin Club, which held its 44th annual show this year. In addition to the tables, the show will also feature door prizes, silent auction, as well as free gifts for all children ages 12 and under.
Photo by Dan Rudy/MDN
With all of that money floating around, there will also be a pair of officers from the Minot Police Department in attendance as security. The department has an off-duty policing program where officers can volunteer for additional shifts as extra jobs become available, getting compensated for their time by an event's organizers.
Like many hobbies do, Hummel's own interest in coinage began early on.
"I first started when I was six years old," Hummel explained, inspired by his father's interest in silver specie, the Morgan silver dollar in particular. With Liberty's head on the obverse and a svelte-looking bald eagle on the coin's tail end, these were minted between 1878 and 1904, and again in 1921. While Hummel's childhood fascination was followed by a 20-year hiatus, it has since been revived in recent years.
There's an art to collecting, with serious numismatists not just having to consider the condition and price of an item, but to also keep a keen eye out for counterfeits as well. Particularly valuable coins can fetch a high enough price to make the fraudulent effort worth it. One such target is the Philadelphia-minted 1895 Morgan silver dollar, of which even a badly battered coin might be worth around $29,000.
"Not very many were minted," he explained. "They're very rare."
Another part of what makes these special is that the batch were all proof struck, which Hummel described is a means of minting that requires multiple strikes to the coin surface, ending up with a shinier, more striking piece of change. Counterfeited Morgans and deceptive replicas abound, making their purchase a tricky affair.
"I've actually held one in my hand," Hummel said of a dud dollar. "It's really hard to tell sometimes."
With the upcoming show, the club aims to hopefully spark some interest in their interest. Speaking for himself, Hummel would like to see that "it's not going to be a hobby that dies out," and is pleased to see his own children have begun taking an interest.
Mostly, the club is a social occasion. "You meet a lot of interesting people with interesting stories," he said. "That's why it's so exciting."
Those interested can check up on the club's doings through its Minot Coin Club page on Facebook, or stop by the next meeting Aug. 27 at 7 p.m., in the basement of the Minot Public Library. Would-be vendors can also inquire about booking a table at the show by emailing (firstname.lastname@example.org).