It is not often that I talk about my Christian faith on a coin forum, but in this instance, the two are intricately entwined and inseparable. So follow along with me as I chronicle an improbable journey culminating with three new coins for my collection.
Oftentimes the lines between the important and the most important things in life become blurred and the important overtakes the most important. Moreover, that transition can be so subtle that we are often not aware of it.
Every Year in the month of January, my church observes a month of prayer and fasting, and each year I participate in this at some level. This year however, I felt strongly led to fast from buying ANY coins during the month of January because over the past year I had been overextending our family finances to buy coins. A month long abstinence from buying coins would help me to determine how important collecting coins had become in my life. Subsequently, if I found that my priorities were out of order, I could then put coin collecting back into its proper perspective as a distant third to God and family. This also meant that I would have to pass on any coins from my want list that became available during the month of January. Not coincidently, it is on this point that three coin purchases I made on February 3 get very interesting.
In January I needed three coins for my Wilhelmina 10 Gulden set to reach a goal of every coin grading MS-65 or higher. Two MS-64 examples of those coins, the 1925 and 1926, had been in my collection since its inception almost four years ago. Like many of you, I receive e-mails from E-Bay of new items on my want list. However, 99% of the time I find nothing of interest. Nevertheless, on Monday January 28 a new listing with a closing date of February 3 appeared for a MS-65 1925 Wilhelmina. I thought, praise God, if this listing had been posted a week ago I would have had to pass on it. Over the next week there did not seem to be much interest in the coin, probably due to its high opening bid. Then Sunday morning February 3, I woke up to find in my want list a MS-65 1926 Wilhelmina as a BUY IT NOW. I had to pinch myself to see if what was happening to me was true! Four years I have waited to upgrade these two coins and now in one day I could have both! The BIN was a tad high, but after a four-year wait and a lower graded coin to subsidize the purchase, I didnt waste any time in snapping that coin up. Later that day I won the other coin as its only bidder. Now my set of eleven coins has six top POPs and only one MS-64 left to upgrade.
If those two coins were the layers of the cake, this coin is the icing. Not long ago I discovered a Guatemalan one-peso coin that I found attractive and desired for my Inspirational Ladies set. An E-Bay search produced two BINs, an 1895 MS-64 for $400 and 1896 MS-62 for $275. Oftentimes, the Numismaster Price Guide lists the values of world coins only up to MS-60, thus making it difficult to gage fair prices for high-grade world coins. After about a month of watching the listing for the 1896 MS-62 coin recycle, I thought that I would buy that coin after my fast. That was until a true auction 1896/5 MS-63 listing with a closing date of February 3 appeared on my want list. Interestingly, the one thing I could determine from the Numismaster price guide was that the over date was $35 more valuable than the plain date at MS-60. Subsequently, I set up a snip for the coin at $305, which is what I would have paid for the other coin plus $30. At the end of the auction, I won the coin for $155.50 with postage! I now had a coin that was presumably scarcer and had a higher grade for more than $100 less than the other coin. Then I realized that had I not been on the fast, I would have certainly purchased the other coin and missed the blessing. There is then a lesson in this for me to be patient and wait.
In summary, I believe that if I honor God in my commitment to him, he in turn will honor me. More often than not, he will not honor me by allowing me to buy more coins, but he will always be faithful and bless me in other areas of my life. You see, its not about the stuff, but about the relationships, and whether its my spiritual relationship with God or my relationship with my family and friends, my relationships are more valuable to me than all the coins in the world. This truth then is the lesson of the fast.
So until next time happy collecting, and look for a Coin of the Month column on my Guatemalan peso coming soon.
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