Opening Words from Sun. January 29 by Lance Finney

Good morning.

This month, we’ve been hearing about the Future of Money, with Platform addresses on the ethics of capitalism and cryptocurrency, and Amy will speak in a few minutes about money from several personal and institutional angles. And as soon as you saw the President of the Board of Trustees come up during “money month”, I’ll bet you knew what I was going to talk about.

That’s right, I’m here to talk about being a coin collector.

As a pre-teen, I avidly collected coins. Some of my favorite memories as a junior high kid without many friends were from riding my bike or getting a ride to a bank to buy a few rolls of coins. I would end up with, say, ten dollars of pennies strewn across the floor, looking for a wheat penny that I didn’t have before. “Hey look! It’s a 1917!” I remember a particularly happy day when almost all the half dollars in a roll turned out to be 40% silver – I made what was a big profit for a 12-year-old.

As I got more socially adept in my teen years, the hobby faded for me (although I don’t really know what was cause and what was effect – walking through school with a stack of “Coinage” magazines was not really the way to charm the girls). But for whatever the reason, the coins were eventually relegated to the basement.

But then the pandemic hit. A relative inherited a coin collection and asked me for help in assessing it. The practice of looking through hundreds of dimes for a rare one would be boring for most people, but for me it was comforting and nostalgic. I was hooked again. My pandemic hobby was my adolescent hobby.

It was good for me that I found it again. Last year was stressful at times between work and service on the Board here, so there were times that I took refuge in the ritualized practice of opening and looking through rolls of coins from the bank. Maybe I’d find an unusual quarter from the West Point mint, or a silver nickel, or a coin from colonial India that somehow ended up in a roll of U.S. coins.

The hunt, the art, the history – it all appeals to me. And coins were something solid and reliable for me on days when I felt I had lost control. My collection doesn’t have a large monetary value, but it has a lot of value for me.

So, that’s all I have to say about money today.

Oh, wait. There was one other thing… The Pledge!

As Trish asked last week, please accept responsibility to support the staff, facilities, and activities of your Society with your pledge. Please attend the Pledge Luncheon next week (our first in years). If you’re already a member, please read the Pledge Letter you should have received last week and return your pledge form. And if you’re not already a member, please consider joining with a pledge.

Thank you

NOTE: The ideas and opinions in this post do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.