There’s nothing easier than the Lincoln Memorial Cent, the Jefferson Nickel and the Roosevelt Dime to begin to develop a child’s interest in collecting. Because the coins do not have to be in perfect condition and because they are everywhere makes it an easy teaching tool. The very fact that you can pay face value for a “collectable” also comes in very handy. Very little in the way of supplies is needed. Certainly, a folder for each coin would be ideal so that kids can see their progress in what they have been able to collect as well as determine what their next step should be. As their progress grows, so does their enthusiasm for this venue of collecting. Children at the age of 10 are usually able to begin to handle the responsibilities that coin collecting entails. In addition to collecting and seeing their own progress, using collecting as an educational benefit of learning history is an added bonus.
The Lincoln Memorial Cent Penny was minted from 1959 to present day. The obverse shows the bust of Abraham Lincoln while the reverse shows the Lincoln Memorial. The metal composition of the Lincoln Memoral Cent Penny from 1959 to 1982 was 95% copper and 5% zinc. Due to the rising costs of copper, a change was made in 1982 with the metal composition of 95% zinc and 5% copper. The design remained unchanged but the metal content is about 20% lighter than their previous counterparts. This one point alone will teach children something of value about the Lincoln Memorial Cent Penny. Throw in the history about President Lincoln, the history of the country and why the design was changed from the wheat to the memorial, you have a perfect opportunity to teach lessons that they sure won’t learn in any classroom or have near as much fun learning about!
The Jefferson Nickel has been minted since 1938. The design has remained unchanged until recently when the new Jefferson Nickel designs came out. As their responsibility increases, buying some rolls directly from the U.S. mint of these new designs would make a great gift. The obverse of the Jefferson Nickel shows a profile of President Thomas Jefferson and the reverse shows Montecello (1938-2003). Why the commemorative design change ist an interesting point of reference when learning about the Jefferson Nickel and should be pursued as an added education benefit of collecting.
The Roosevelt Dime has been minted with an overall unchanged design since 1946 although the metal composition has changed over the years. The Roosevelt dime from 1946 to 1964 was comprised of 90% pure silver as were quarters, half dollars and dollars of the day. Because of the fact that there are no ultra-rare dates within the Roosevelt Dime series, completing a set in with very good conditioned coins is absolutely attainable, affordable and quite rewarding for new collectors.
ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF STUDY
There are quite a few books on the market that would be excellent for children as they start their adventure in coin collecting. A trip to the library for research is an added benefit, one that promotes reading and comprehension. Coin shows are something that may or may not interest a young collector just starting out. The array of coins available, outside of the beginning collection of the Lincoln Memorial Cent Penny, the Jefferson Nickel and the Roosevelt Dime, will probably be overwhelming. The internet is full of information. A search in any search engine will bring up tons of information. Printing some age appropriate materials to reference while looking through coins is a good way for childen to have their own materials that they can keep with their collections. Online auction sites will have many examples of the Lincoln Memoral Cent Penny, the Jefferson Nickel and the Roosevelt Dime. Use these online auction sites to compare conditions, dates, mint marks and to see if the seller is missing a point of interest or has a point of interest the kids didn’t know before.
TOOLS NEEDED FOR CHILDREN TO GET STARTED
As stated previously, a coin folder for each of demonimations is desirable. 2×2 cardboard holders are an additional option that can be used to hold duplicate examples or particularly special examples as the child determines them to be. Even if a Lincoln Memorial Cent Penny, a Jefferson Nickel or a Roosevelt Dime has no pariticular added value, explain to the child why but encourage them to put the coin in a 2×2 holder anyway because even if it doesn’t hold any particular value of monetary worth, it does hold a value to the child. These holders can be bought in bulk for about $5. Folders can be had for about the same price.
A magnifying glass to check for dates, mint marks and damage is actually something that is strongly suggested. It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular, expensive or even lighted. Something they can hold in their hand to closely inspect their coins will make them completely involved in the selection process of which coins to save and which coins to set aside.
Recommended reading – Coin Collecting For Kids by Steve Otfinoski and Those Amazing Coins, A Kid’s Guide To Collecting by Kevin Flynn and Ron Volpe and Kelsey Flynn are two that can be considered. These can likely be found at the library and/or found at many online retailers or stores. I always advocate checking books out that you may be considering buying at the library first before considering spending money to keep it permanently. It’s a great way to try before you buy so to speak.
If you are a coin collector, you know the value of your own collection and can probably even tell the story of where each one came from. Why not pass on that passion to your children or even a child you know. If you are not a collector as an adult, this may very well be something you and your child can learn about together. Once a child sees that a little loose change is more than seeing it as a piece of bubble gum, you will have accomplished a solid start to a life long love of learning and collecting