For more than 13 years I have been maintaining a slush fund, making sure I get the mail first, discarding all packaging and most documentation, and immensely discounting the value of the coins I have around. NGC has helped by serving as an excuse for getting coins in the mail that were "already mine." My wife has not been hostile to the collection, and has occasionally expressed some interest in a historical figure she has heard of showing up on a coin, but not much. Ancient coins? She doesn't really believe it. When NGC sent back one coin out of a submission ungraded as "questionable genuineness" she said "of course they are going to do that sometimes - so you believe the rest are real."
About nine years back I started picking up Thai coins since she is from Thailand, and her mom and nephews have shown more interest in these than my wife has. These really opened up some memories for the mom in law, and surprised my wife and her nephews with how much the value of a baht has deteriorated (like the dollar) since the late 1940's and 1950's. Whereas a satang (like a cent) is pretty much a throw-away unit of currency in their lifetimes, (a baht is worth about 3.3 US cents, so a satang is worth 0.033 US cents), the mom in law remembers going to the market and most transactions taking place in satangs. Thai coins, and a few banknotes, have run thin cover for the rest of my collecting. As I have mentioned in prior entries, almost everyone from Thailand admires a big silver King Chulalongkorn coin. Except perhaps the most virulent anti-monarchists.
Anyways, I recently picked up a 100 Baht banknote from a 1929 series, issued May 1, 1932, just under two months before the mostly bloodless coup that resulted in King VII abdicating and the institution of a constitution in his place. It basically looks the same as the 1 Baht note of the same issue, just bigger and bluer.
I left it on the counter for my wife to look at after dinner and she promised to take a look. I expected the usual quick glance, "that's nice", and that's it. But this time we got some emotion and awe-struckedness. I can't read Thai but obviously she can. What was getting the remarks "is it real? Can it be?" She recognized the name of the signature on the note. It was one of the founders of her University, Thammasat. Pridi Banomyong. This guy (I have learned) was one of a few up-and-coming western educated "commoners" known as "promoters" who had been exposed to the ideals of Western democracy, nationalism, and, unfortunately communism. The good news is that communism never took hold in Thailand, and everyone lived happily ever after under a sort of compromise between old-line traditional monarchy and constitutional democracy. But this guy's role in founding the University my wife went to is what she knows him for. She posted a scan of the note to a group of friends from college on-line, and confessed that she was impressed.
I used the opportunity while she was facing her computer to place some bids on secret prohibited coins of course.