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The Fourth Side of Every Coin

Tom Becker


Letís see, we have the obverse, reverse and the edge. Thatís only three. There is no "fourth side." What is this nonsense?

For me, the "Fourth Side" is the special, often multiple, meaning and importance coins of many kinds will always carry with them. For some, this includes historical significance, cultural importance, numismatic value, and many other considerations. I donít mind being included in the group that appreciates coins for these reasons, but Iíve also enjoyed the very personal side of coin collecting.

When I was nine years old and really getting interested in coin collecting my elderly aunt, she might have been fifty at the time, who worked for the post office most of her life, asked me to find the best coin in the accumulation she had saved for many years. I will never forget the look of pleasure on her face when I presented the coin to her, me being the expert appraiser. I can only guess how astonished I looked when she said, "Tommy, Iíd like you to have it as a gift." No, the coin wasnít a great rarity. Now, come to think of it, maybe it was. To me, this coin will always have a value that exceeds any monetary worth.

I remember in 1967 seeing the Canadian Centennial coin sets the first time they were displayed at a show. It must be remembered that at the time these new coin designs were a radical departure from what collectors could expect to see in North America. A small bird flying at you, a bounding rabbit, the sleek fish, a big cat stalking prey, the classic howling wolf and then the magnificent Canadian goose. In my opinion, these are among the most Canadian of coins. Trains, planes, and bears will never replace these magnificent original designs. Instead of egotistically celebrating the accomplishments of select individuals, the new coins expressed an appreciation for the land and all inhabitants. If you look at each of these coins you may notice that in every case the animal is active. Back in 1967, as a 19 year old, I was quite active as well. I had to own one of these sets! When I showed my new purchase to my father and he opened the beautiful red leather case his response was, "Wow!"

Since them, Iíve bought and sold many of these centennial coins. I can honestly say Iíve never been able to look at one without thinking about the "fourth side."

 

Tom Becker is a regular contributor to the Canadian Coin Reference Site, you can direct your questions directly to Tom easily by E-mail:tom@tombeckeronline.com or visit Tom's website @ http://www.tombeckeronline.com

 




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