JOLIET – This Sunday, travel through time on a dime.
Or a medal. Or a token.
The Will County Coin Club will host its 57th Annual Coin Show from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel in Joliet. Admission is free.
Features include 30 dealers selling a variety of coins and currency, ranging from those of the ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine times to those seen today in the United States and throughout the world.
Yet the show attracts people who aren’t collectors, too.
“We’ll have people who aren’t collectors stop by with coins they’ve inherited and come to us to find out what their coins are worth,” said Mark Wieclaw of New Lenox, president of the Will County Coin Club.
But the community is welcome to browse. Many collectors started collections after attending a show, Wieclaw said.
Dealers specializing in tokens, medals and bullion-related items also will be present. Hourly door prizes and an auction where youth may bid with “play” money round out the event. The grand prize is a 0.1-ounce American gold eagle coin.
“It’s worth about 120 and some dollars,” said Rich Hlavacik, a member of the Will County Coin Club.
Hlavacik said the public may participate in the auction, but only youth members of the Will County Coin Club may bid on the American gold eagle.
The club itself is open to kids and adults – novices and longtime collectors – because coin collecting is a hobby people can do at their own levels, Wieclaw said.
“We do have a few young people come to the meetings,” Wieclaw said. “One family brings their two sons every meeting, and then we have a grandfather bring one or two of his grandchildren every meeting.”
In fact, the club encourages young people to join. In January, members of the Will County Coin Club presented “Coin Collecting for Kids” for children ages 7 to 15 at the White Oak Library, Lockport branch.
For collectors, “investment” and “history” are not two sides of the same coin.
“Collecting is all about the history of the coins,” Wieclaw said. “You should never buy a coin as an investment. They may go up in value, but you enjoy it as a collectible, either because you like the coin or you like the story behind the coin.”
But why aren’t coins an investment?
“Because there’s no guarantee,” said Hlavacik, who collects only Barber coins. “You can spend $20,000 on a coin and it might not be that popular in the future.”
According to Mark Wieclaw, president of the Will County Coin Club:
• Coins were invented around the seventh century B.C. in Lydia, and began replacing bartering. People at that time cared more about the weight of the coins than the actual marks on them. Those early coins were made of electrum, a mixture of gold and silver, because no one had invented a way to separate the two.
• Russia’s Peter the Great issued a tax for men who wore beards. When a man paid the tax, he was issued a token, which he had to carry with him. If he was stopped and didn’t have the token, he was arrested. Some people today collect those tokens.
• Germany after World War I made money from unusual materials, including foil, leather, coal and porcelain. These, too, are prized by some collectors.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: 57th Annual Coin Show
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 26
WHERE: Clarion Hotel, 411 S. Larkin Ave., Joliet
ETC: Features include an educational forum on “Investing in Precious Metals” at 11 a.m.,
a youth auction at 1:30 p.m. (ages 14 and under) and hourly door prizes. Security by Joliet Police Department.
COST: Admission and parking is free
INFORMATION: Contact Rich Hlavacik at email@example.com.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Will County Coin Club
WHEN: 7 p.m., first Thursday of the month
WHERE: Plainfield Fire Protection District, 23748 W. 135th St., Plainfield
ETC: All meetings are open to the public. The Will County Coin Club is affiliated with the American Numismatic Association, Central States Numismatic Society, Illinois Numismatic Association and Numismatists of Wisconsin.
COST: Dues are paid yearly. Adults are $10, youth are $3 and seniors (age 65 and up) are free.
INFORMATION: Visit wcccol.com.