gherrmann44

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Everything posted by gherrmann44

  1. Just got this one at the CSNS show for my gold type set.
  2. It's a 6-7 hour drive for me to the closest point just south of St. Louis and I'll need to make hotel reservations soon. That said, considering the expense I'll pay to see it, I never once thought about the prospect of an official medal to commemorate the event. Still if some numismatic souvenir is offered near the viewing site, I'll probably buy it as a memento. Except for the viewing shades which I will buy well in advance I'm sure there will be no shortage of capitalistic entrepreneurs taking advantage of the event.
  3. When I read Jackson64’s journal, “Added coins 4 and 5 to my Jersey 1/12 shilling set” I got stoked because there was much about what he was saying about his style of collecting that matches my own. For instance, I like to manage 4 or 5 sets at a time like he does. Currently, I am working on a US type set, along with my custom sets Inspirational Ladies, The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics, and The Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser. Still, there is a bit of a twist to my collecting habits that is slightly different meaning that I am actively pursuing coins for my US type set and LGF custom set while at the same time passively seeking coins for the other two. By passively, I mean that if I run across something that I like and it fits into the Inspirational Ladies and Seated Imagery sets, I will often buy those coins. Recently I bought a new coin for my Inspirational Ladies custom set. I get a lot of coin related e-mails listing various coins for sale and I tend to peruse most of them. Much of the time I see nothing of interest and immediately delete them. However, a recent e-mail from Talisman Coins listed a really cool 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation 2017 silver dollar featuring Miss Canada. For a while there, I was hemming and hawing about purchasing it as a single coin. A little later I got another e-mail from Talisman listing a Canadian proof set with the Miss Canada Silver Dollar included but with a twist. This coin was different in that it had gold plating in selected places on the coin. When I saw a picture of this coin my jaw about dropped. Rarely have I seen medallic art with the level of intricacy and beauty as is this coin! The only possible show stopper was that it was not offered as a single but only in a set with proof versions of the other Canadian circulating coins. So I bought seven coins to get one. I considered cracking out the dollar to submit it separately. That said, this set is not at all cheesy because every single one of the circulating coins were struck up in pure silver, from the nickel to the “toonie.” The standard dollar, Miss Canada dollar, and two dollar all have some level of gold plating. Pulling the dollar and submitting it would have been easy had the coins been mounted in individual capsules. When the set arrived it came packaged with book-like leather covers and the coins encased in a single plastic mount. Simply put, this set is way too nice to crack out any of the coins for a submission. This presents a dilemma of how to enter the Miss Canada coin into the Inspirational Ladies set. Perhaps, I will have to buy eight coins to get one. Buy the single all silver uncirculated Miss Canada dollar, submit it, and post the pictures of the gold plated version. This all seems like a pretty big expense just to get one coin into my set. Sometimes this hobby of ours is just not logical! We’ll see, I’m in no hurry. On another front, I just purchased a very nicely toned PCGS MS-63 1853 with arrows Seated Liberty Dime for my type set replacing an XF-40 dime. This presents another problem of how to represent this new purchase in my NGC set. Simple, I just keep the old coin and use the MS-63 pictures. …Or, since this coin was toned I could search Heritage to see if my coin was ever auctioned. What I found was that Heritage auctioned it in 2004 in an NGC holder meaning that someone along the way cracked it out and sent it to PCGS. Thus if the holder number is still valid, I might try entering the old NGC number. Naw, this is all ridiculous I’m not going to that degree. Interestingly, NGC had the coin graded at MS-63 also. Happy collecting all!!!! Gary
  4. In a manner of speaking you can call these a die variety. For instance minted at San Francisco without the mint mark. It is similar to the 2011 anniversary set uncirculated SAE which is indistinguishable from a normal SAE except that if you sent the box the mint mailed the set in unopened for grading you could have the label designate the the coin was part of the set. Gary
  5. The Buffalo Nickel since its release in 1913 is still a collector favorite. Today the legacy of the Buffalo Nickel and its sculptor live on in the 2001 American Buffalo Silver Dollar and $50, .9999 fine, Gold Buffalo. As such, when collectors hear the name of James Earle Fraser they almost invariably think of the Buffalo Nickel. Likewise, but to a smaller degree are some of the medallic works of Laura Gardin Fraser and in particular her rendition of “Fame” featured on the obverse of the National Institute of Social Sciences gold medal. The National Institute of Social Sciences gold medal, first awarded in 1913 continues to be awarded today on an annual basis. The obverse image of Laura Gardin Fraser’s portrayal of Fame appears prominently at the head of every page on the National Institute of Social Sciences website. As such the image of this beautiful medal is permanently associated with the National Institute of Social Sciences and it is a legacy to the artistic abilities of Laura Gardin Fraser. [1] The National Institute of Social Sciences was founded in 1912 under the charter of the American Social Science Association incorporated by Act of Congress, January 28, 1899. From Article II of their constitution the object of The National Institute of Social Sciences is to, “promote the study of Social Science and to reward distinguished services rendered to humanity, either by election to the National Institute, or by the bestowal of medals or other insignia.” Consequently, the annual awarding of their gold medal is one of their primary functions as an organization. This medal is of such importance that its design is set forth in Article XI of their constitution as follows: “Presentation medals shall bear the Figure of Fame resting on a Shield, holding wreaths of laurel. The shield to bear the name of the Institute. In the left hand, the figure to hold a palm branch. The reverse to show a torch with a name plate and Dignus Honore, the motto of the Institute.” The Latin phrase Dignus Honore is translated, “Worthy of Honor.” [2] It is said that within the context of armed conflict you will find both the best and worst of humanity on display. To recognize the humanitarian contributions of those persons involved with the war effort during Word War 1, the National Liberty Committee of American Social Science Association adopted the following resolution dated January 18, 1918: “In view of the fact that, except in the army and navy, no provision has been made by any competent authority for the recognition by a medal or other suitable insignia for notable humanitarian or patriotic services for the national welfare: Therefore, the executive committee of the American Social Science Association, one of the oldest of nationally incorporated bodies, recommends that a medal to be designated "Liberty Service" medal be authorized. The committee further recommends that the National Institute of Social Sciences be empowered, in accordance with the object of its organization, to award and bestow said medal upon such person or persons as have rendered or may render notable services which merit such special mark of distinction and recognition.” [3] The effect of the National Liberty Committee resolution was that Liberty and Patriotic Service medals were awarded to a number of individuals, both civilian and governmental for their service in a time of war from 1918-1920. The medal in my collection is a bronze Patriotic Service Medal awarded to the Director of the Bureau of Field Nursing Service of the American Red Cross, Clara D. Noyes. The following is the text of her medal citation and response. July 1, 1919 To Miss Clara D. Noyes, As Director of the Bureau of Field Nursing Service of the American Red Cross at national headquarters, you rendered to your country and its wounded a service of high and inestimable value. During the entire period of the war you had charge of the distribution and placing of all the Red Cross nurses assigned to the army, navy and public health. Under your direction, 19,877 nurses have passed through your bureau. American Red Cross, Washington, D. C. My dear Dr. Johnson: It is with keen appreciation of the honor conferred upon me that I acknowledge the receipt of the citation and the Patriotic Service Medal, presented to me by the National Institute of Social Sciences, in recognition of the services I have performed during the war as Director of the Bureau of Field Nursing Service of the American Red Cross. In the selection and assignment of approximately 20,000 nurses to military and civilian duty, I was always keenly alive to the privilege that had been accorded me. Any work or anxiety connected with this responsibility has been more than offset by the devotion, the courage, and the fine character of service rendered by the nurses while engaged in the care of our sick and wounded soldiers and sailors, and the civilian population of our allies. In the name of the nurses I represent, and my own, I again thank you for the honor conferred upon me. Believe me, Very Sincerely yours, Clara D. Noyes, Acting Director, Department of Nursing. [4] According to Medallic Art Company historian D. Wayne Johnson, Laura Gardin Fraser utilized one of eleven monograms when signing her medallic creations. Of interest to me is that she signed this medal “Laura Gardin Fecit,” which is reminiscent of C. GOBRECHT F. on the Gobrecht Dollar. Thus, as long as the National Institute of Social Sciences awards their gold medal, those persons associated with the institute are reminded that “Laura Gardin made it.” [5] As I become more familiar with the work of Laura Gardin Fraser and by extension the work of her husband, James Earle Fraser I am able to see certain similarities in their medallic art. For instance, except for the flame, the torch on the reverse of this 1913 medal is exactly the same as the torch on the obverse of the 1914 American Museum of Public Safety Edward H. Harriman Memorial Medal modeled by James Earle Fraser. Furthermore, I also see similarities in the fonts both Frasers used on their medals. When I mentioned this to a friend who is much more knowledgeable in all things “Fraser” than I, he suggested that if James couldn’t expeditiously finish a medal, Laura would complete the minor devices of the medal such as the torch and legend on the aforementioned public safety medal. Accordingly, it seems that not only did the Frasers have a good marriage but that they were also an artistic team complementing each other. 1. http://www.socialsciencesinstitute.org/ 2. Proceedings of the ... annual meeting of the National Institute of Social Sciences., 9th:no.1 (1922) pg. 99-100 3. Journal of the National Institute of Social Sciences Volume IV April 1, 1918 pg. 173 4. Journal of the National Institute of Social Sciences Volume VI July 1, 1920 pg. 103 5. http://medalartists.com/fraser-laura-gardin.html
  6. gherrmann44

    A Nice Score !

    That's what I thought, so I went looking through some old Heritage listings to see if it had previously sold. I found that it sold at least once in 2004 in an NGC holder. Interestingly the grade was MS-63, the same as the PCGS holder.
  7. gherrmann44

    A Nice Score !

    Wow! What a nice pick-up! It reminds me of my first pick-up this year from the Isle of Misfit Slabs (PCGS MS-63). Unlike yourself, I picked this one up through a dealer that is searching for upgrades to my typeset.
  8. Congratulations, there is nothing quite like getting one of those plaques. I have gotten a few of those plaques in the past and now that you got yours, I can expect mine in the mail any time now. There is a real sense of accomplishment with the plaques because to get one of those your set must stand out in a crowd of other great sets! Congratulations! Gary
  9. I have this one to commemorate our country's centennial struck in white metal.
  10. If by definition MS is no sign of wear and AU is light wear with signs of MS luster in protected areas, then my question is how does a coin move from light wear to no sign of wear?
  11. Alan I am copying the message I sent to you yesterday. I was chuckling to myself as I read your latest post about those little coins that you and I have trouble seeing the details. I have photographed many coins and only when I have blown them up and examined the images have I noticed things I had not seen before. That happens when you take an interest in photography and in particular macro photography. You are well on the road to better pictures. Oh and BTW, congratulations on the coin! Gary
  12. One might think that shifting gears and a different direction are synonymous. However, the truth is that though related, they are two separate actions. A different direction in that I will be liquidating a portion of my current collection to focus on another and shifting gears in that I will be buying fewer but higher quality coins to upgrade the remaining sets. All this started with my losing interest in collecting Morgan Dollars. A year or two into collecting Morgans, I got bored with them. With a goal of completing the 103 coin set I was buying coins at a break neck pace that focused on volume rather than quality. To regain interest I thought that all I needed was a break. Though I fully intended to resume purchasing Morgans and completing the set, the longer I was away the less likely it would be that I'd return. Truth is I never got back. After long and careful consideration, I decided to discontinue collecting Morgans and liquidate the bulk of my Morgan Dollar collection. All told, I will be selling 43 coins. I did not make this decision lightly as I have thought about it carefully for the better part of a year. Yet there are a number of things that led to this decision after going trailblazers for Morgans six to seven years ago when I started out only intending to complete a New Orleans Mint collection. (The decision to collect all the Morgans came after completing the New Orleans portion of the set.) While away from Morgans, I found myself drifting back to my boyhood roots, type and theme based collecting. I became fixated on completing my 7070 type set and working on my theme based seated imagery custom set. I started to buy the best type coins I could afford and since I was buying fewer coins, I could spend more. I've learned that when it comes to beauty there is nothing like a classic coin in a high state of preservation. These coins are not only more beautiful, they are more likely to hold their value as a highly desirable collector coin. Furthermore, as a person who also loves photography, I have learned that premium quality coins are definitely more photogenic! What then was the problem I had with Morgans that caused me to give up on them? I think that a collection of affordable quality coins in a complete Morgan Dollar set are a huge show stopper. Affordable coins are sometimes no higher than low MS grades and many are still lower. A VG 93-S will fetch more than $2000! Still I could live with a lower grade as long as it doesn't have distracting contact marks. Simply stated, most MS-62 to 64 Morgans have numerous and distracting contact marks. High grade Morgans are a thing of beauty. Most MS-65 and higher Morgans are a sight to behold and because of this I am keeping my 24 coin set of Morgans that grade MS-65 and higher. I also have this thing about Carson City, there is just something about Carson City that intrigues me. Therefore, I am also keeping my Carson City registry set. Additionally, I have six GSA pedigreed Carson City Dollars of which two are graded MS-65 (1882, 1883). Another factor in my decision is that I will be retiring in no more than six years. At that point my collecting activities will be severely curtailed. With this in mind I have targeted a number of coins in my type set to upgrade over the course of the next six years. It is also unlikely that I will be starting any new registry or custom sets but rather find other pieces to add to my custom sets like my Laura Gardin Fraser set. Another area of focus will be my gold type sets. Finding nice type-1 and type-2 double eagles has proven to be quite challenging because of the distracting contact marks found on most of these coins. Still after long searches I have managed to get an 1852 type-1 that at AU-55 is remarkably void of contact marks! For the type-2 I had to decide what level of contact marks is acceptable since it is nearly an impossible coin to find without them. In deciding my tolerance level I borrowed from a Bible passage which states that love covers over a multitude of sins. In relation to double eagles I found that luster covers over a multitude of dings, gashes, and abrasions. It doesn't literally mean that the contact marks are covered but that they are not as noticeable. All that said, I am still having a hard time finding a decent upgrade for my MS-62 type-3! Oh well, I am going to thoroughly enjoy the hunt in the few last years I have before I retire! Attached is a photo of the AU-58 type-2 that I found to be acceptable. Gary
  13. One might think that shifting gears and a different direction are synonymous. However, the truth is that though related, they are two separate actions. A different direction in that I will be liquidating a portion of my current collection to focus on another and shifting gears in that I will be buying fewer but higher quality coins to upgrade the remaining sets. All this started with my losing interest in collecting Morgan Dollars. A year or two into collecting Morgans, I got bored with them. With a goal of completing the 103 coin set I was buying coins at a break neck pace that focused on volume rather than quality. To regain interest I thought that all I needed was a break. Though I fully intended to resume purchasing Morgans and completing the set, the longer I was away the less likely it would be that I'd return. Truth is I never got back. After long and careful consideration, I decided to discontinue collecting Morgans and liquidate the bulk of my Morgan Dollar collection. All told, I will be selling 43 coins. I did not make this decision lightly as I have thought about it carefully for the better part of a year. Yet there are a number of things that led to this decision after going trailblazers for Morgans six to seven years ago when I started out only intending to complete a New Orleans Mint collection. (The decision to collect all the Morgans came after completing the New Orleans portion of the set.) While away from Morgans, I found myself drifting back to my boyhood roots, type and theme based collecting. I became fixated on completing my 7070 type set and working on my theme based seated imagery custom set. I started to buy the best type coins I could afford and since I was buying fewer coins, I could spend more. I've learned that when it comes to beauty there is nothing like a classic coin in a high state of preservation. These coins are not only more beautiful, they are more likely to hold their value as a highly desirable collector coin. Furthermore, as a person who also loves photography, I have learned that premium quality coins are definitely more photogenic! What then was the problem I had with Morgans that caused me to give up on them? I think that a collection of affordable quality coins in a complete Morgan Dollar set are a huge show stopper. Affordable coins are sometimes no higher than low MS grades and many are still lower. A VG 93-S will fetch more than $2000! Still I could live with a lower grade as long as it doesn't have distracting contact marks. Simply stated, most MS-62 to 64 Morgans have numerous and distracting contact marks. High grade Morgans are a thing of beauty. Most MS-65 and higher Morgans are a sight to behold and because of this I am keeping my 24 coin set of Morgans that grade MS-65 and higher. I also have this thing about Carson City, there is just something about Carson City that intrigues me. Therefore, I am also keeping my Carson City registry set. Additionally, I have six GSA pedigreed Carson City Dollars of which two are graded MS-65 (1882, 1883). Another factor in my decision is that I will be retiring in no more than six years. At that point my collecting activities will be severely curtailed. With this in mind I have targeted a number of coins in my type set to upgrade over the course of the next six years. It is also unlikely that I will be starting any new registry or custom sets but rather find other pieces to add to my custom sets like my Laura Gardin Fraser set. Another area of focus will be my gold type sets. Finding nice type-1 and type-2 double eagles has proven to be quite challenging because of the distracting contact marks found on most of these coins. Still after long searches I have managed to get an 1852 type-1 that at AU-55 is remarkably void of contact marks! For the type-2 I had to decide what level of contact marks is acceptable since it is nearly an impossible coin to find without them. In deciding my tolerance level I borrowed from a Bible passage which states that love covers over a multitude of sins. In relation to double eagles I found that luster covers over a multitude of dings, gashes, and abrasions. It doesn't literally mean that the contact marks are covered but that they are not as noticeable. All that said, I am still having a hard time finding a decent upgrade for my MS-62 type-3! Oh well, I am going to thoroughly enjoy the hunt in the few last years I have before I retire! Attached is a photo of the AU-58 type-2 that I found to be acceptable. Gary
  14. Had to look up that word. I was so relieved to find that the word itself is not a numismatic term. Numismatically speaking any number of VAM's might qualify. I've run across this where I thought a coin was more valuable than it was until I examined it more closely and found out otherwise. Examples of this are dates and mintmarks you may perceive as valuable until you haul out your handy dandy redbook. It kinda takes the wind out of your sails but hope springs eternal. Regardless, I'm always glad to get a Mercury Dime, silver war nickel, wheat cent, and Indian Head cent in my change. I typically rush home and haul out the good ole redbook to see if I got a scarce coin! Yeah, I'm a little off track now but it's related. pareidolia /ˌpæraɪˈdəʊlɪə/ noun 1. the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features
  15. WOW! I love your Bust Half! In my opinion it's the best part of this thread!!
  16. I currently subscribe to Coin Rarities Online early bird listings and have always been impressed with the quality of the coins and tokens they offer. The Roanoke Island Half that leeg got from them is reflective of their entire inventory. I just wish their early bird listings had the coins I need for my collection. Oh well, I get the early bird e-mail listings in the hope that one day they will have something I want. If anyone is interested CRO currently has another very nice Roanoke Island Half in their inventory! Gary
  17. Welcome back and I hope you get the Antietam or the Gettysburg you are looking for. As for the rest, your list is indeed quite daunting. Remember that collecting coins is more of a marathon than it is a sprint. Hang in there and you will eventually realize your goal. All the Best! Gary
  18. Let me also add my congratulations to you, Iskrona! I for one, will be anticipating the day you add photos of your coins to your award winning set! Gary
  19. We have this little side show over here that is poorly attended. You can hang out here. The main show in the big tent is only for the special people. Do you see how offensive, condescending, and irritating that sounds? Excuse me, but I consider the custom side of things to be the best kept secret. It is here that the essence of real collecting or lets say collecting before the emergence of registries resides. Here the collector defines the set and what goes into that set. True, there is no competition or points here, but really, isn't it those things that take away some of the enjoyment of the hobby? Gary
  20. Congratulations Alan, that dime is a real looker! I'm a little envious because I'm looking to upgrade an MS-63 Barber Dime for my type set. If I could get one that looked like yours, I'd be happy for life. It's a beautiful coin with excellent color in all the right places. Congratulations on such a nice find. Gary
  21. Hmmm... Let's cut to the chase here. The mint makes a profit by the desire of the collector to have a complete set. The grading companies while providing a service by authenticating and grading coins also make a profit. Both the aforementioned profits are paid by the collector. The competition of the registry set feeds into our human nature to be the best. That said, I willingly pay the premiums because I enjoy the hobby. There are ways however to minimize the cost of acquiring coins and in effect game the system. Buying from the mint and submitting them for grading is a shoot and not cost effective. If you submit a coin for grading and get a 70 you can make out pretty good. But how many coins of all the coins submitted will get a 70? This then is the genius of the registry to encourage collectors to submit NUMEROUS coins in hopes that one is graded a 70. Rather, if your goal is a collection of all 70's buy the coin already graded from a dealer who submits their coins in bulk and gets them graded a better rate than you do. On the other hand, if you can live with a collection of 69's, dealers will sell these at a cut rate. Translated, 69's are a good deal for you! In the end you set the rules of the game with your wallet. You gotta pay to play. Your collecting goals then will determine at what level you play. Even if your goal is a collection of 70's, there are ways to minimize the costs to you. Savings that you can use to buy more coins!!!! Gary
  22. Those marks look like die polish marks to me since they appear to be in relief and are broken by the motto. To extend the life of the dies damaged by normal repeated use the mint polished over the surface defects. On the die face these lines were in recuse and they transferred to the coin in relief. Also since the lettering is recuse in relation to the die face they do not continue on top of the lettering. These marks are quite common on many of our coins. Luster lines on the other hand tend to be a little finer and they cause a cartwheel effect when you rotate the coin in the light. As the planchet metal flows at striking it etches lines into the dies radiating from the center to the rim. These lines also transfer to the coin as relief. Gary
  23. The story of this coin starts at work on a summer afternoon in Wisconsin. Working at various cell sites throughout the region, I occasionally have the opportunity to observe different kinds of wildlife. On one of those occasions, I heard what I though to be a hummingbird fly by my ear only to find that it was a large praying mantis. Immediately, I had noticed that the praying mantis had landed on the chain link fence surrounding the cell site. I have seen praying mantis's before but this bug was huge measuring almost two links on the fence! I moved a little nearer to take a closer look and observed the big bug turn its head to look at me. Talk about creepy, just let a huge bug stare you down and see how you feel about it. At that point with cell phone in hand, I took several pictures of the big green monster. Now fast forward a year or so to May 2015 and one of the most frightening experiences a young person can go through, meeting the parents of their boyfriend or girlfriend. In this case it was my son's girlfriend and we decided to meet the first time at a restaurant for my birthday. Whats more, breaking the ice for both parties is always a little awkward. Seeking to discover common points of interest, came the normal questions, what do you do, where did you go to school, where are you from, etc? Yet, I felt it was up to me to make her feel comfortable and at this point I wasn't making much progress. In the course of the conversation I found out that my son's girlfriend had studied zoology in college and loves animals. I do not remember how the conversation turned to praying mantis's but when it had I showed her the cell phone pictures of the praying mantis I encountered at work. She was thrilled with my pictures and stated she had only dealt with immature, much smaller, praying mantis's. Immediately, the atmosphere of our restaurant date eased considerably. Since our conversation was two way, I had no problem telling her of my interest in numismatics. That following Christmas, my son brought his girlfriend to our annual Christmas celebration at my mom's house. Present were my three sisters, my children, and many of my nieces and nephews along with the grand nieces and nephews. Since we have such a large extended family we have a custom of drawing one name from a hat to buy a gift valued at about $25 to exchange. My son's girlfriend decided to participate in our family custom for 2016 and drew none other than yours truly! I usually feel sorry for anyone that draws my name. Everyone knows I collect coins and there are very few things a person could buy for me valued at $25! Because of the weather, my son couldn't make the celebration at my mom's house this year and we decided to meet at a restaurant to exchange gifts and make plans to see the movie "Rogue 1." At dinner my son's girlfriend gave me a small box. Inside was a 2012 Canadian $10 coin featuring you guessed it, a praying mantis! Immediately I made the connection and appreciated her thoughtfulness towards me. For my part, I would have never bought this coin on my own and to tell the truth, I didn't even know it existed. In fact, my son's girlfriend searched e-bay for any coin featuring a praying mantis and only found this one. This then is what makes this a coin of great value, the idea and thought came long before the coin. I hope that you all had a blessed Christmas and I wish you all a very prosperous 2017. Gary See more journals by gherrmann44
  24. The story of this coin starts at work on a summer afternoon in Wisconsin. Working at various cell sites throughout the region, I occasionally have the opportunity to observe different kinds of wildlife. On one of those occasions, I heard what I though to be a hummingbird fly by my ear only to find that it was a large praying mantis. Immediately, I had noticed that the praying mantis had landed on the chain link fence surrounding the cell site. I have seen praying mantis's before but this bug was huge measuring almost two links on the fence! I moved a little nearer to take a closer look and observed the big bug turn its head to look at me. Talk about creepy, just let a huge bug stare you down and see how you feel about it. At that point with cell phone in hand, I took several pictures of the big green monster. Now fast forward a year or so to May 2015 and one of the most frightening experiences a young person can go through, meeting the parents of their boyfriend or girlfriend. In this case it was my son's girlfriend and we decided to meet the first time at a restaurant for my birthday. Whats more, breaking the ice for both parties is always a little awkward. Seeking to discover common points of interest, came the normal questions, what do you do, where did you go to school, where are you from, etc? Yet, I felt it was up to me to make her feel comfortable and at this point I wasn't making much progress. In the course of the conversation I found out that my son's girlfriend had studied zoology in college and loves animals. I do not remember how the conversation turned to praying mantis's but when it had I showed her the cell phone pictures of the praying mantis I encountered at work. She was thrilled with my pictures and stated she had only dealt with immature, much smaller, praying mantis's. Immediately, the atmosphere of our restaurant date eased considerably. Since our conversation was two way, I had no problem telling her of my interest in numismatics. That following Christmas, my son brought his girlfriend to our annual Christmas celebration at my mom's house. Present were my three sisters, my children, and many of my nieces and nephews along with the grand nieces and nephews. Since we have such a large extended family we have a custom of drawing one name from a hat to buy a gift valued at about $25 to exchange. My son's girlfriend decided to participate in our family custom for 2016 and drew none other than yours truly! I usually feel sorry for anyone that draws my name. Everyone knows I collect coins and there are very few things a person could buy for me valued at $25! Because of the weather, my son couldn't make the celebration at my mom's house this year and we decided to meet at a restaurant to exchange gifts and make plans to see the movie "Rogue 1." At dinner my son's girlfriend gave me a small box. Inside was a 2012 Canadian $10 coin featuring you guessed it, a praying mantis! Immediately I made the connection and appreciated her thoughtfulness towards me. For my part, I would have never bought this coin on my own and to tell the truth, I didn't even know it existed. In fact, my son's girlfriend searched e-bay for any coin featuring a praying mantis and only found this one. This then is what makes this a coin of great value, the idea and thought came long before the coin. I hope that you all had a blessed Christmas and I wish you all a very prosperous 2017. Gary To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.