The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

October 9, 2008

Local club marks its 50th anniversary

DANVILLE — If you have old silver dollars, don’t even think about polishing them.

In fact, you should take them — and any other collectible currency you have lying around — to your bank safe deposit box.

Then, go through any change you have and look for quarters, half dollars or dimes that pre-date 1964, because the coins contain more silver than modern ones.

Sound like some last-ditch defenses against a pending economic apocalypse?

Maybe for some.

But for coin collectors, this is just what they do.

Treasures

Numismatics is the study of coins and other currency. The passion for the study began organizing locally a half century ago.

The local group of numismatic fanatics, the Danville Coin Club, celebrates its 50th anniversary this fall.

President Barbara Russian’s first piece of advice for anyone who has some old coins is to leave them alone — because their value goes down if their patina is polished off.

“Dealers are very particular,” Russian said. “Reproductions are everywhere.”

The club now has a record number of members — about 30, who meet once a month every month except August and October.

Much of the renewed popularity in coin collecting has come from the issuance of the state quarters.

The youngest member of the club is six years old. The oldest and last founding club member, Ray Vanbuskirk, is 93.

Russian joined the club about 20 years ago, and has been president for nearly as long.

Among her favorite parts of her collection include a gold certificate from the 1800s, which she paid about $20 for.

The auctioneers she purchased it from didn’t realize its true value.

“They thought it was play money,” she said.

But the un-circulated certificate, which is real, is now valued at $700.

Russian’s collection also contains Confederacy paper money and an 1863 Civil War token.

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