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Gift suggestions?

9 posts in this topic

Full-time comic collector here with a question...


My father-in-law turns 75 this summer, and I have been trying to come up with something I can give him from me (not from both of us). Preferably something that he will personally get enjoyment from, not something that's for both he and my mother-in-law. Sort of a "man-to-man" kind of gift...


Anyway, he collects all kinds of stuff, not really a completionist at all. He's just one of those guys who likes neat stuff and there doesn't have to be any rhyme or reason to it. He's got everything from antique firearms to tin beer signs to barbed wire to ironwood sculptures. So I thought it would be nice to get him something from 1928 (the year he was born). If there were decent comics from then, it would make my life easy, but that's ten years before Superman and not really a standout era for comics.


I'm looking to spend around $250-300 total, and thought I could come up with something for him in coins. But my coin knowledge is pretty limited. I can rattle off most of the breakpoint-years when designs changed, and have a few Flying Eagle cents and some nice Walking Liberty halves, but that's about the extent of it...


Any suggestions would be appreciated. I have a couple months to work with, but I don't know whether I'd be better off trying to get one coin in MS65, or a few in 60, common mintmarks vs scarce ones, which denominations to focus on... He's the kind of guy who will be happy with most anything that looks nice on the shelf, but I'd still like to do what I can...


Thanks in advance


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Personally, if he isn't a coin collector, then I think he would probably enjoy several lower grade coins than one high grade coin. It usually takes an avid collector to actually care or notice the quality difference that can have a major affect on price.


If he is going to touch them and perhaps carry them around, then you might want to consider nice AU (About Uncirculated) coins. If they will be kept preserved then uncirculated are more appropriate. Neither of these grades will have much investment potential.


You also got to keep in mind that many of the coins from this year went on for several more years with the same design. It is very likely that he used these in change. For this reason alone, it may not excite him.


For coins dated 1928:


Wheat Cents: Probably nothing special. You can still find these later dated coins in circulation. Probably wouldn't excite him. Not too expensive in uncirculated.


Buffalo Nickel: Probably nothing special and likely wouldn't excite him. Not too expensive in uncirculated.


Mercury Dime: Probably nothing special and likely wouldn't excite him. Not too expensive in uncirculated.


Standing Liberty Quarter: Near the end of its run. Not too expensive in unc.


Walking Liberty Half: Only the S-mint was made and a nice looking uncirculated one will run $500+.


Peace Dollars: 1928 (P) is a key date for the series and will run you $200 for a low grade uncirculated one. The other choice for this series is the S-mint, but those usually are weakly struck and don't look too hot. They run $80 in low unc.


Gold coins: Only made for the $2.50 Indian and the $20 St. Gaudens. Both are cheap dates, but the $20 has close to an ounce of gold in it, so the price will be high. For $300 you could get a nice $2.50 Indian in uncirculated.


Consider going back earlier. You can go back to the early 1800's and still find OK condition coins for under $50 each.


Try finding an online coin site (coinfacts.com is good) and see what coins you think look nice and what he would like. From there you can figure out the prices. Usually that site has a bunch of prices.


Perhaps put together a set of coins that are "odd". You can get a set consisting of a half cent, Large cent, two cent, three cent silver, three cent nickel, and twenty cent rather cheaply. Yo can also get a Trade dollar for under $100. These were made in the US for commerce in Asia. You could also get a $1 gold piece rather cheap (they are SMALL).

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I have to agree with much of what Greg has already told you.


For a non-collector, as your father-in-law sounds, I think he would appreciate the look of a gold coin more than the look of silver or copper. Since he was just a child when the Depression was in full swing, and gold coinage had been largely removed from circulation, he will likely never have spent a quarter eagle ($2.50 gold coin) and so this coin might very well have severe novelty to it in his eyes. This design, along with the half eagle by the same sculptor, is the only American regular issue coin with an incuse devices. That is, the design is in relief that is sunk below the level of the surrounding fields. Since gold coins handle wear very well and still retain luster, an EF or AU piece would look mighty nice. These are bid at around $150 in this condition. This denomination is about the diameter of a cent. It also has a classic Americana design with a realistic Native American portrait on the obverse paired with a handsome, standing eagle on the reverse.


If you decide to go with a theme that uses this date then you might want to include a Buffalo nickel in AU along with the quarter eagle. These can be had for $15 and again, to a non-collector, it would look tremendous.


Lastly, I like the idea of the odd denomination type set that Greg had mentioned. Most people have no clue that the US issued half cents, large cents, two cent pieces, three cent pieces in both silver and nickel, half dimes and twenty cent pieces. Each of these types can be bought in problem free, circulated grades for less than $30 while the twenty cent piece would be closer to $100.


Good luck and feel free to ask anything else! smile.gif

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How about a birth-year set of coins from 1928?


You would be looking for a Lincoln cent, Buffalo nickel, Mercury dime, Standing Liberty quarter, Walking Liberty half, and Peace dollar. Mint-mark wouldn't matter...just the date, so you wouldn't have to spring for the expensive Peace dollar and you could get all of them in, or close to, Uncirculated condition and still be within your budget.


I think what you're up to is a great idea...best of luck with it in whatever direction you go.

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A gold coin seems fitting since you're not looking for a set and a quarter Eagle would add to his hobby of collectibles without breaking the bank in nice condition.

Everybody likes gold.

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lighthouse, a year set would be a most excellent idea, although in AU-MS that could be pushing your limit. A nice quality coin of his birth year would also be a hit for sure. I have done this with many of my relatives, all of whom are non-collectors, and they have loved it! For all it was fascinating for them to see the type coinage that circulated during the year of their birth. Tom and Greg have excellent points in their posts, but I have found ( in my family at least) that the birth year idea (whether as a set or one nice coin) was something they truly enjoyed getting. Another idea to go with this is to do some research on the design/designs and type up a small paper telling a bit of history on how the coins or coins came into being, or as in the winged liberty dime, it's "misnomer" status and what the designer had initially intended the design to mean. You may even look for a coin with a hint of clash markings, and again, a little note explaining on the how and why of such a happening. Nothing needs to be detailed too much but yet enough to make it an interesting and learning experience for him. As a collector of all sorts he may appreciate a little "insider" info on his coin present!!!! As collectors, these are times where we are given the opportunity to share our enjoyment of our hobby and do a bit of "teaching" to those who may not understand it. This is a good way to introduce a "newbie" to coins!!!! 893applaud-thumb.gif

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I see a lot of people calling in that are not really collectors and they are looking to put together birth year sets which the idea seems to appeal to a lot of people and is a nice gift. Those coins have been out of circulation for a while and it may bring up old memories and still peak his interest and you could just pick up each denomination to keep you in budget. Hope all works out and you get a great gift maybe from one of the good ideas posted here.

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