Hobbies
6:09 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Young and Old Collect Ancient, Unique Currency in Kalamazoo

Credit Nancy Camden

A Kalamazoo club meets at the 12th Street Baptist church in Kalamazoo to follow their passion of collecting old money.

The Kalamazoo Numismatic Club was founded in 1960 for collectors of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money and related objects. The president is Roxanne. (Members are known by first name only for security reasons.) 

Numismatic club members George and his grandson Andrew
Credit Nancy Camden

“Some people like the history. Some people like the art work. Some people love to just collect every mint, every coin, every year of a particular style,” she says.

Roxanne’s oldest piece is a Roman coin that dates to 250 BC.  

One would think a coin that old would be expensive. But it depends on how many there were, what the metal was that they were minted out of and how good of shape they are in.

It’s good to know what you are doing when buying from dealers.

“For the price of a membership, we got a lot of education here," says club member Mike. "A lot of people come in and talk, a lot of knowledge.”

People collect what they want to collect. Mike collects Irish money. He has Irish gun money from back in the 1690’s and got even farther back with hammered pieces that date to the 1100’s.

He likes to know the reason the coins were made, the history. George is 89. His 18-year-old grandson Andrew became interested in numismatics from looking at his grandfather’s collection and now he is the major collector in the family.

His most prized collection is a Walking Liberty half dollar registered set that is number 18 out of 250 in the world. The meetings regularly include an auction.

“They’re selling their own stuff,” says Roxanne. “They’re making room for a new passion.”

Currently the club has 92 members, but with collectors getting older and few young people interested, Andrew says there is concern both locally and nationally for the future of his ‘great hobby.’