I have had several of these old silver trays and bowls on shelves in my office for years. At various times I have displayed them as a sort of artistic presentation filled with world coins, Ike dollars, Sacagaweas and classic coin mixes. My granddaughter loves to rummage through the world coin tray with its strange coins of odd shapes, holed coins, different metals and strange writing. It can be quite educational for her when she selects one that has caught her eye and asks about it. I use my Krause to find the country of the coin with her ( teaching her to use research resources), explain the alphabet some ( as I am able) and use the computer to find the country on a map ( some geography learned).
Lately I have been filling up an ornate and beautifully toned tray that is inscribed as being from an officer on a US Navy ship. A wonderful side benefit of working on some album sets lately has been the extra coins that don't make the album. I usually start with a few rolls to fill as many of the common dates as I can. Next I will try and plug the remaining holes to finish the album. Finally I will substitute out a few coins to make each page more uniform. One page may end up as white AU/BU beauties, the early dates may all just be evenly worn VF coins of consistent slate gray. Any coins removed for change-outs ( I won't say upgrades because sometimes I will actually remove a BU coin that sticks out like a sore thumb and replace it with a matching VF/XF example) end up in the tray.
The trays end up almost as an artistic display--equal for my tastes as a collector to someone who would set a figurine or small bronze for display. Here is the latest tray I have filled ( I only spilled it over to show the depth of how many dozens and dozens of coins and the varieties these things end up with.)
When I have time, I will show a couple of my "pictures" I have made with coins---I have found some old frames with ugly prints at consignment stores and bought them for a few bucks. Removing the print and adding a dark background, along with the mat and frame makes a nice display.
Has anyone else used coins for artistic expression I wonder or am I just a little weird with it--whatever, they always seem to draw interest and if it sparks any flame for a future collector then that is just a bonus.............