Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Have a CT Christmas

Best Wishes for everyone on this blog. I have enjoyed the emails, postings and phone calls.
     I hope you get a CT for Christmas. A tiny square with a big bow on it!
     But consider this:
     Did you give one away? Now that may seem contrary to the ways of the true collector, but think about how cool a CT can be to some folks. Not recommended for young children of course -- after all, lead is a neurotoxin. But consider this for those who are curious about your odd collecting habits. Or consider this for the loved ones who always ask what have you acquired lately, but never really had a token of their own to contemplate.
     A token can make a great gift. And so can a CT Guidebook (hint!).
     The nice thing about an inexpensive token is that it can be just as fascinating as a rare one to new eyes. In fact, some folks might prefer a satiny cut rectangle to a rude squarish chunk.
     One of my close friends and I exchanged tokens this year. He had eyed a small cafe token that I had with his name on it. It was a "good for 5 cents" piece that could be used at Johnny's Cafe. Not an expensive token, but try and find another one!
     Why did he like it? Well, who knows. Why do we like the CTs that we buy? It is easy to get all puffed up about this: we are saving history; we are serious scholars, and so on. 
     But actually, we are just collectors. We are in a long line of collectors that have been arranging and rearranging these CTs on our desks for the past two centuries. So let us not get too peacocked. Sure, we spend copious amounts of time (and dollars) on our obsession -- like me typing this blog for example -- but in the end, it just leisure.
     The antidote to our seriousness is to give a few CTs away. And Christmas is the perfect time to do this.
     Give one to your pastor or priest or preacher. Give one to your token collecting buddies -- if he is a civil war nut, give him one dated in the 1860s. Any error collector would like to have one with a retrograde numeral -- there are lots of those. Donate a few to your coin club so that they can be auctioned off. Even the non-collectors will enjoy a piece -- particularly, Presbyterians.
     Give one to your wife.
     In fact, my wife has asked me for a heart! I showed her a few, and of course, she picked the best one. You see, it does not take an expect to know quality. She also eyed one of my triangles. "Can you drill a hole in it, so I can wear it?," she asked. Hmmm.
     Drill a hole in it? Drill a hole in it?
     You have to be prepared for this when you give tokens away.
     I think that I will go with the gloves for my wife this year. She complains of chapped hands, and she uses a lot of lotion. Yes, she needs the gloves! Maybe next year I will sacrifice a heart.
     So, despite everything I just said, even I struggle with the concept of giving it away.
     Why doesn't she like the ovals?
     I can imagine the outcry if and when I do let go of a heart. The exonumismatists will shout out: "He is destroying heritage material, depriving generations yet to come, profaning the piece ... ."
     I hear a rock hitting the outside of my house. And, another.
     Ok, I am definitely getting the gloves! But I am giving my friends some CTs to pass around and enjoy! And yes, I know they will touch the surfaces while eating chips. Tis the season!
     Merry Christmas from Virginia.

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