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Collectors – Coins, Sherlock Holmes and Cats (2011)

Collectors – Coins, Sherlock Holmes and Cats (2011)

“You are a connoisseur and collector…”

– The Adventure of The Illustrious Client (ILLU)

Sherlock Cat

Are you a “joiner”? Do you belong to several organizations or clubs that cater to your special interests in a variety of fields? Well, you are not alone. Americans are notorious for club participation. You name it, and there is probably a club, and a publication or two, devoted to that topic. It doesn’t matter how esoteric the subject might be, there is bound to be a corps of others sharing the same interest.

Take for instance Sherlock Holmes Fans. Did you know that there are over 100 societies devoted to the long departed detective? Those enthusiasts hold regular meetings, discuss all of the Doyle books, and for the benefit of those of us who prefer coins, they even keep records of all of the different kinds of coins mentioned in the canon of Holmes literature. If your taste in collecting and rumination leans toward Sherlockian things, you are in luck. There are plenty of others who share your passion.

Jefferson NickelCoin collectors are the same. There are hundreds of clubs and organizations that cater to the interests of those who dabble in numismatics. Some of the more popular clubs limit their special themes to tokens, medals or copper coins. One of the most focused groups is an association of people who concern themselves with the number of steps showing on the building seen on the back of the Jefferson nickel. It seems that the number of steps has been changed from time to time, and a study of that progression in the design is of interest to those who would form a complete set. As limiting as those cliques sound, consider this: The Encyclopedia of Associations lists 62 bird organizations; 279 for horses; 92 for cattle, and some 19 Star Trek clubs for Trekkies.

Phil Mickelsom
By Jim Epler from San Diego, USA (Phil Mickelson) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Societies give us a sense of who we are, and belonging to an affiliated group with a common interest gives an anchor and feeling of solidarity. Whether it is the Jim Smith Club, the Cat Fancier’s Association, Twins, or Left Handed Golfers, there is something beneficial in joining with others with similar interests. Coin Collectors’ Clubs are no exception to this phenomenon. Belonging keeps us in touch with each other and gives us an opportunity to share information and experiences. Clubs give us the chance to grow and expand our interest while banding together with others who understand and appreciate our special interests.

This article originally was published by the American History Society in February 2011 and is reprinted here with the permission of the author.

Kenneth Bressett has been a leading voice in numismatics for over 60 years. He has served as the editor of the authoritative Red Book since 1962. He received the ANA Medal of Merit, the Ferran Zerbe award, and was elected to the National Numismatic Hall of Fame. He has authored dozens of published works on ancient coins, paper money, English, and United States coins.

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