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Unusual Holiday Gifts for Kids

Tom Becker

Because we understand the value of the hobby, we'd all like to see young people become interested in coin collecting. Based on my experience, some times the best results are obtained by being a little devious. This is the plan I would use with the seven to twelve year old group. My guess is the following shopping list can be filled for about the price of one of the latest and greatest video games.

A Magnifying Glass
My choice would be a pocket size folding type. 5X magnification is sufficient. An inexpensive model is adequate and can be found at most coin shops or hobby stores. A magnifying glass is a unique and clever tool that can be used in hundreds of ways from helping to extract a sliver to investigating a science project. My first exposure to a magnifying glass was when my mother used one to help me see the dirt that was still on my hands after I said I had washed them.

A Map of the World
My pick would be one of those poster size or larger maps made to hang on the wall. Kids love to decorate their room and there are many less desirable wall hangings. Both you and the child may be amazed at how other kids will react to seeing such a thing on the bedroom wall. Young people are no different from us. They love to be different when a lack of conformity ends up being “cool”. Having a current map of the world around the house can help with schoolwork. Parents can use it as well. When they tell the kid they are going to be sent to Timbuktu if they don't take out the trash the place will be easy to find.

A Dozen Interesting World Coins.
I used to suggest buying a couple handfuls of world coins from the local dealer's junk box. I'm talking about the $5 a pound sort of stuff. It seems current kid's are more difficult to impress and less interested in quantity. This should give us hope for the future of mankind and also provides a chance to have some numismatic fun. The coins you select are entirely up to you. I've found a coin from Turkey will drive most kids nuts and then provide great satisfaction when they figure it out. A neat animal coin will make them think more about the beast than the country of origin and suggest the dual purpose of most money.

The obvious objective will be to encourage the youngster to use the map and maybe the magnifying glass to find out where the 12 coins are from. You can label the coins in advance or get involved in the project. Based on my experience, this becomes a very tangible and personal game quite unlike slapping a video in the computer and being prompted to respond with little more effort than pushing buttons. You've got to unroll the map. You need to look at the coins. For these reasons and others don't expect immediate results. A year later the child may have lost the magnifying glass never looked at the map or bothered to examine the coins. It wouldn't be the first time the one giving the gift gained more from the experience than the recipient.


Tom Becker is a regular contributor to the Canadian Coin Reference Site, you can direct your questions directly to Tom easily by or visit Tom's website @


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