Friday, August 07, 2009
Looking for change the other day, at McDonald's (okay, okay, not healthy, but every once in a while I do hit the drive through [or is that thru?]), I came across a 1924 version of the coin above. According to this website about German coins, it's not really worth much. Mine looks like it came over the hard way, to say the least. And then, when it arrived in the US, it was mauled by dogs, run over by a car, and then ended up in my glove compartment underneath a hamsa with the word "mazel" in Hebrew and my keys.
Not only am I fascinated that a German coin from 1924 popped up in my coin box, I am also interested in how much there is to be interested in. There is some German coin expert somewhere. Probably more than one, at this moment finishing up his shift at the video store or investment bank, just waiting to get home and research, fondle, or shine his 1924 aluminum-bronze Weimar 50 Reichspfennig. As aesthetic objects, they are beautiful, some of them--I like the expressionistic wheat ones(the aformentioned 50 Reichspfennig) simultaneously calling forth industry, agriculture and art.
I think our current state quarter designs will stand out in the future for numismatists, though I just learned on wikipedia that numismatism is the study of currency, so coin collectors are just called plain old coin collectors. There is the lesser known exunomia, which is perhaps what a luggage tag collector might be doing. And it seems there are further rabbit holes of notaphily and scripophily, which sound like ringworms.
My point? Just that there are so many things to know things about. It's overwhelming. There's an expert on everything. I had a friend in NY who was a liver pathologist, and he was one of only like 40 in the world. 40 people who specialized in diseases of the liver, even though everyone has one; that's not even one per country. Is there a pathologist in the house? I bet there are more exunomiacs. That's actually kind of sad. Sure, the liver's kind of the catfish of the body, but everybody needs it.
Well, I guess it's time for me to go back to being an interested dilletante, who'll pay a little more attention at Coinstar.