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Digital Subscriptions > COINage > December 2018 > NUMIS MATIC


The Morgan dollar, a longtime favorite for holiday gift-giving, is among the best-performing of classic numismatic gifts. Today’s wholesale price for the 1879 Morgan is around $60.
The Numiscope, a counterfeit-detection tool priced at $155 when it was rolled out in 1963, was a popular wish-list item.

Yes, Virginia – in 2018, there is a Santa Claus in numismatics.

At least there are many coin collectors who both give and receive wonderful numismatic gifts during the holidays. Gift -giving trends have changed much since the early 1960s, when the popularity of the coin collecting hobby reached its zenith.

Back then, young budding numismatists may have received a Whitman coin folder, uncirculated set, or proof set alongside their Slinky, Lionel train set, or Chatty Kathy doll during the holidays. Other hobbyists received a roll of uncirculated 1950-D nickels, a Scan- O-Matic lighted magnifying device, or Penny Whimsy: A Revision of Early American Cents, a book by William H. Sheldon that introduced the Sheldon numerical grading scale essential to hobbyists today.

Fast-forward a decade, and a coin collector in the early 1970s may have received a proof Eisenhower dollar fresh from the United States Mint. And, let’s face it, those 40% silver Ike dollars in their large, mint-issued, faux wood grain cardboard boxes seemed ready-made for gift -giving. Another ideal numismatic gift during the 1970s would have been a standard-issue proof set, also packaged in an attractive display case and sleek outer cardboard sleeve. Then there was the threepiece 1776-1976 Bicentennial proof set, featuring individually encapsulated coins in a velvet-lined bi-fold cardboard panel. A 1970s holiday may have also seen an array of other fun stocking stuffers, including a pet rock, Stretch Armstrong doll, or Star Wars toys.

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