The other side of the coin

James White

Marietta, Georgia– The Greater Atlanta Coin Show hosted their second coin show of the year on Sunday at the Joe Mack Wilson ballroom in the main level conference room of the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel and Conference center.

The coin show attracts hundreds of collectors who buy, sell or trade coins with licensed dealers. Many of the coins here featured are worth thousands of dollars and can only be found at events like the Greater Atlanta Coin Show.

The mintage at the show has been printed from around the world however, a vast majority of the coins on display were minted in the United States. The histories behind each of these coins are rich, vibrant and tell a story from a chapter of history.

Some of the coins collected are called commemoratives, or coins that weren’t meant for use on the market but rather celebrate and honor the American people, events, institutions and places according to the US Mint.

Some of the coins being collected were worth well over five thousand dollars. Conversely, there were coins that were also being sold for their face value as dictated by the U.S. Mint.

“It’s common to find coins worth over $1,000,” says Joe Meyers, Ph.D., who has been selling coins since 1976. Meyers, who buys, sells and appraises coins, is a licensed numismatists located in Athens, Georgia. More people trade coins than you think, it starts as a kid collecting coins in a jar. A few coins are even worth more than $1 million, says Meyers who started collecting coins when he was a child.

For many of the people who are interested in this unique hobby, collecting coins is a pastime as well as an underlying motif for their everyday lives. If one takes interest in collecting coins they will eventually find that the market is robust and can be lucrative.

“I’ve been collecting coins my whole life,” says Richard Hickman, 58. Hickman, who has been dealing coins officially for 38 years as a hobby, is a retired fire fighter from Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. His station was comprised of three cases he had set up on a table in the far right corner of the densely packed room.

Hickman had as much as $60,000 worth of tradable coins in each case with a bright lamp or a fixed magnifying glass used specifically for coin inspection.

Marion Garrett, a dealer from Douglasville, Georgia, started trading coins in 2004. He saw the potential in coin collecting when he sold his entire collection of coins to pay off his student loans after he graduated from college. “It’s an enjoyable hobby,” says Garrett. The prize coin in his display was  a commemorative worth over $24,000 which features the picture of a bald eagle.

“It is the only coin printed in U.S. history that has the proper name of an animal printed on it, Challenger,” says Garrett.

Challenger has flown during the opening ceremonies for major sports events like the World Series and the Daytona 500 with Garrett handling him.

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