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Digital Subscriptions > COINage > December 2018 > Coins Inspire as Holidays Present

Coins Inspire as Holidays Present

Uncut Currency Sheets Make for Creative Gift Wrap

In 2017, my wife, Karen, and I went to hear Wynonna Judd and the Big Noise in her excellent Christmas show. It got me to thinking about a new way of giving gifts as the holidays approach.

One of her songs was “Grandpa, Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days.”That got me thinking about my first interest in rare coins, which was sparked by my grandfather, “Red” Lievens, nicknamed Red for the color of his hair. When I was growing up in Louisiana, beginning about the time I was 7, “Red” began giving me an uncirculated silver dollar for every “A” on my report card and separately for birthdays and holidays. In the early 1960s, he got uncirculated silver dollars at face value from the bank.

I was intrigued by the design on those old Morgan silver dollar coins and set out to learn more about them.This inspired me to pursue the path of a lifetime of pleasure in a hobby and then a career that has been a source of endless satisfaction. As time goes by, I’m more and more impressed by my grandfather’s intuitive understanding that coins made of precious metals carried a certain “heft “ that said they could always trump paper money of equal face value. Dollar bills from the 1960s are still worth $1, but uncirculated Morgan silver dollars are worth a whole lot more.

The Judd song, “Grandpa, Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days” won a Grammy in 1987 for “Best Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.” It was a number one country and western hit and gave voice to America’s longing for the kinder, gentler way of life they’d known in days gone by. Here’s a sample of the lyrics:

Grandpa, everything is changing fast We call it progress, but I just don’t know And grandpa, let’s wander back into the past And paint me the picture of long ago

(On YouTube, see: song simply – and fondly – recalled a time of traditional American values – marriages that usually lasted a lifetime, fathers who were steadfast in supporting their children, and families that bonded by bowing their heads in prayer.The silver dollars I got from my grandfather were part of that value system – old-fashioned coins whose worth was completely real, not just symbolic.

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