A friend sent an email note reminding me that today (March 16) is the 258th anniversary of James Madison’s birth and the 207th Anniversary of the founding of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Madison, our 4th President, was the Commander-in-Chief during the War of 1812 and the victory over the British. He was a major contributor to the Federalist Papers and the framer of the Bill of Rights. Numismatically, the Madison Dollar was the last of the Presidential dollars issued in 2007.

The United State Military Academy is the oldest of the service academies. West Point is considered the premier school of its type worldwide and its graduates includes war heroes, former presidents, and a famous college basketball coach. In 2002, the US Mint issued the West Point Bicentennial Dollar to commemorate 200 years of training our nation’s best.

I mention this note because the friend who sent the note has a unique perspective on coin collection. He has taken the phrase “history in your hand” to heart and has built his collection around history represented by the coins. Rather than purchase albums to collect series of coins, he has three-ring binders with pages to present his collection in date order of significance.

Using 12 three-inch binders, date numbered tabs, and various mylar pages, he insert his collection into the area where there is the most significance. For example, he collected the 50 State Quarter coin covers and inserted them on the date corresponding to when the state was admitted into the union. His Presidential Dollar coin covers are stored based on the birth date of the president. In this system, March 16 has the James Madison dollar coin cover and the West Point Bicentennial commemorative.

It sounds unwieldy, but my friend has done a great job creating a collection that he uses to teach his children and their friends the significance of history and coinage. I will try to post pictures if he gives me permission.

The moral of this story is that there is no right way to collect coins. Collect what you like and how you like. If you slowed your collecting activities because of the economy, maybe you can come up with a new idea as to how to organize your collection.

Images courtesy of the US Mint.

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