About a year ago, in late 2017, we were going through a move and packing things up. I left the door to the closet open and my son saw the safe. I usually tried to keep the closet closed to hide the safe because he’d developed an odd fascination with it and pressing the buttons to make it beep. He also liked having us open and close it a lot – it’s all great fun apparently. Once he saw it, and remembered that it was there, he wanted to play with it and it’s often not very fun to argue with a toddler.
This time, I think for the first time, when we opened the safe, he went after something inside it: a tube of 2010 American Eagles and some smaller tubes of Sunshine mint ½ ounce rounds that I had in there on top of all the NGC display boxes.
Initially I really didn’t want him messing with it but he was insistent and cute and so he ended up getting to dump them out and play with them. I guess I decided around that point that they’re just bullion rounds that I was keeping mostly as silver. It doesn’t really matter if they stay pretty. They’re still worth melt, and he was being cute – also, I’m a sucker and he gets what he wants, probably way too often. One of the pictures I’ll post at the end of this entry is from this time. I think it’s the first time he’s really showed interest in these shiny little disks of metal that we call coins / rounds / tokens.
We didn’t really repeat this experience for a while. In Sep 2018 I decided to give him some rounds to play with. I’d recently gotten a small 10 round tube of 1 oz buffalo bullion rounds (since there was room in the tube for one more round, I bought an 11th round and added that to the tube). I gave him that to play with one day – he was sick and I was hoping it would cheer him up. It did the trick.
He enjoyed them so much that I started leaving this small tube out, often in the living room or our bedroom. Sometimes he’d see it and ask to have it to play with. Sometimes he would just think of them and ask for them, saying, “I want my monies, Daddy.” I don’t know where he got the idea that they were “monies.” I guess it was because we’d counted and rolled up coins from a piggy bank that had gotten full and he heard us call the coins “money.” That’s about all I can figure. I didn't mention this in the prior entry about it, because it might not have made sense without this context, but he also called the elongated cent from the zoo a "money" / "my money."
They are sometimes called “daddy’s monies,” but only when he isn’t feeling possessive – if you ask him what they are I’d say it’s about 50/50 whether he responds with “it’s my monies” or “it’s daddy’s monies.” It’s the same tube of rounds. I’m pretty sure he knows this, but the ownership of them is clearly a bit fuzzy and poorly defined.
By this point he’d learned to count to about 15 so we had a lot of fun at various times sitting down and counting the rounds. He’d dump them, we’d count the rounds as he put them back in the tube one at a time, and he’d dump them again when we finished. Over and over – and over. Those buffalo rounds have been smacked and banged together a lot in a way that only a toddler can manage and they’re quite scratched and abused-looking at this point – but that doesn’t bother him at all so far as I can tell.
I chose the one-ounce silver rounds for a few reasons:
- They pass the “toilet paper roll test” – he can’t easily swallow or choke on them
- 99% Silver does not support bacterial growth and biofilms in the same way that some things like copper can.
- Generic silver rounds don’t have any historical value so I don’t feel guilty watching him trash them in the same way that I would, say, old Morgan dollars. Even if they’re circulated common dates, I’d just hate to see nearly 100-year-old coins abused by a toddler.
I’ve tried showing him some of my Chinese pandas recently (he likes bears, I think). When I ask him what it is, instead of focusing on the fact that it’s a picture of a bear he sees the fact that it’s a large silver coin and says, “it’s a money.” He’s not wrong.
It’s a nice place to start a love-affair with coins.
I think one of the funnier moments to come out of these introductions to coins was showing him a graded coin for the first time. He looked at it for a second, flipped it around a bit, then started trying to find a way to open the slab and said, “We need open it.” “Uhh… No. Let’s not.” I’m sure that will make him popular with those that think coins in general and modern bullion products especially should be raw, but not happening. Not in this house while I’m around.