Griffs Notes 2/15/07

My Valentine’s Day present to my wife and daughter was so popular last night that I got sent back for more of them today: chocolate covered strawberries. And to my surprise this second visit to Godiva ended up being a trip down memory lane. In my change after buying the berry reinforcements, I got two of the new Presidential $1 Dollar Gold Coins. And for some nostalgic reason, I seemed thrilled about it. The woman looked at me like I was crazy, but almost immediately I realized why the sudden euphoria had come about.

Granted I may be the only person in the country who is excited about the new coins, I feel compelled to stand up for the little commanders in chief because coin collecting can be a great thing to do with your family. (Although, I will admit that the US Mint’s “Sacagawea” coins were pretty much a flop with most Americans.)

When I was growing up (yes, I realize there are many of you who would argue this is an on-going work in progress), I collected coins with my parents. Every year on my birthday, my dad bought me a “mint” set of that year’s coins in a commemorative enclosed casing. In fact, I had them going back to the year that I was born – 1970. I remember endless hours of organizing, labeling and hunting for rare coins – Indian Head nickels, copper pennies and old Silver Dollars. And I was blessed with the true love and patience of a mother who drove me on countless trips to the coin shop or flea market in my quest for bounty before I was old enough to drive.

Truth be told, most of my coin collecting these days is spent rolling up modern quarters and dimes to make ends meet. I do this particular kind of collecting with my wife late at night when the bills are stacking up and it really isn’t that much fun. But today, for a brief moment, I remembered that burgundy red box that my parents and I worked so hard to make something of a treasure chest. Little did I know at the time that the real value that we were putting in that box were the memories rather than the money.

I suppose if I still had that box, I’d write my eldest daughter’s name on it and pass it along. Or maybe I’ll just hold onto to a few of the coins that I have kept here and there and wait until the right moment to surprise her with them. Then again, who knows what the future holds – my daughter seems more inclined to collect expensive American Girl dolls than boring old coins. (My parents would call this poetic justice.)

Our new gold $1 dollar coins are actually quite cool looking. Aside from being a little heavier and more intricate in their graphic design, there are inscriptions on the side of the coin. It reads, “E Pluribus Unum… In God We Trust… 2007.” Each President from Washington to Ford will be eventually released on the face of the coin, so if you collect them from now until then end of 2016, you’ll have the whole set. My daughter will be 14 by then, and if the least of my teenage nightmares are the missing years of the Presidential $1 coin – I will be a very lucky dad!

Wish me luck – she’s getting two more strawberries tonight… and two George Washingtons.

Currency comes and goes, but memories last forever. It’s up to you to make something of it. Thanks, mom and dad.

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