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So you only collect American currency? Not currency, coins. And yes, I collect mainly American coins. My wife is German, and her parents have given me some commemorative German coins, like a 10-euro coin.

How much are those two nickels worth again?Just these two here, at 10 cents face value, are $2,100.

That’s insane. How long have you been collecting all this?Well, I was collecting for a while when I was a kid, but back then I’d need … say, a new baseball glove, so I’d sell my collection.

How did you get back into it? I was messing around on a Web site … and I said, “I’ve got to have that.” And I’m not the kind of person who can have just one coin. It’s not just a collection, though. It’s an investment. It’s a downpayment on a house when I retire. I have about 60 grand worth of coins.

You mentioned before that one of the interesting things about your collection are the “Red Books.” Can you explain that? Yeah. I have every single edition of the Red Book (the informal title of “A Guide Book of United States Coins,” an annual American coin-pricing guide published since 1946). According to research for an article on, I’m the only private citizen who has a complete set.

What about your wife and kids? Do they have any interest in all this?Well, I tried to get my kids into collecting … and there wasn’t really an interest. And it is an expensive hobby and I don’t want to be supporting their habit when I have a hard enough time supporting mine.

If you retire and sell your collection to buy a house, will you start over?As long as there are coins out there to collect, I’ll keep collecting. It’s history. You hold this 1974 “Large Cent.” You wonder: If this coin could talk, what would it say? Who’s held this coin in their hand?

If there was one or two coins — price being no object — that you could have right now, what would they be?Definitely an 1895 Morgan silver dollar. It’s $30,000. And a 1916 Standing Liberty quarter. There are more … you know I could sit here and talk all night about coins.

So is it nice to know your family supports you in all this? The kids and wife look at me like, “I can’t believe you’d spend that much for a nickel.”

Staff Sgt. Warren WhiteAge:61Title:Military policeman at Warner Barracks, Bamberg, GermanyClaim to fame: Numismatist – coin collector – specializing in U.S. money

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