Kenton County (KY) Sheriff's Office Creates a Series of Three Commemorative Challenge Coins
Every time the team here at the Osborne Coinage starts the process to develop a new coin we ask if it is collectible, if it is appealing to the masses and simply put, will people buy it. Sure, we have our diehard collectors that buy nearly every piece we mint or they have specific categories like only pure silver or only animal rounds. Others collect only when the art catches their eye. Then there are those that purchase to stock and store our pieces and choose the designs that appeals to them the most. But, the question we often ask ourselves is, “how do we sustain collectability, what can we do to get more people collecting just for the sake of collecting, how can we lift the thrill level of collecting?”
The answer: Start them young!
Collecting coins and rounds has many benefits for the young collector. Children that collect learn about history, culture, geography, finance and my favorite, ART. Young numismatists learn skills like researching information, evaluating quality, tracking value, organizing, and how to properly care for their collection. Often young collectors are encouraged by parents or grandparents, who desire to interact with their offspring, create something in common, and impart some knowledge.
As I mentioned earlier, the key is starting them early - I read a study some years ago about coin collecting and it referenced that “the typical age coin collectors enter the hobby is between the ages of seven and twelve.” So when the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society of Xenia, Ohio reached out about the possibilities of touring our mint, we said sure, come on down. The first request came back in 2019, and then that Covid-thing happened and we had to cancel the opportunity. However, we continued to correspond, plan and await the chance. That brings me to a couple weeks ago, when yes, nearly three years later, our plan came together. We actually hosted the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society for a tour of our mint! This is not an ordinary activity for us, but we wanted to educate these young collectors on how, here at Osborne Coinage, we make our collectible coins (rounds), tokens, and medallions.
Who are the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society?
They are a group of Legacy Christian Academy students, homeschool students, and parent volunteers who gather monthly to talk about coin collecting, share new finds and trade collectibles. Students range from third grade to sixth grade and many that join early stay in the club for all four available years.
Dave Norris started the club back in 2017 as a way to share the fun of coin collecting with his son. Dave started his collection when he was about six with coins he found on the street. As his collection grew, so did his passion for the hobby, but as he got older life happened and his attention to collecting turned to other ventures, but he never lost his spirit for it. While trying to find ways to interact with his young son, the idea of digging out the old coin collection and sharing that with him seemed perfect. Little did Dave know at the time that his collecting bug would bite David (his son) as hard as it did, and change both their lives.
David took that first coin he received, a WW2-era large British penny, to school. Instantly he had a fascinated audience in his fellow students. In fact, one student brought David a steel penny a few days later and said that David could keep it. Then multiple students were bringing in coins, trading, sharing, and collecting… coins were all the rage. Dave knew he would have to do something before there were coins all over the classroom. He did not want the kids to get in trouble and the teacher to get upset with him, and that concern sparked the idea of the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society (LKNS).
Dave and his son worked on a business plan to create a numismatic society club at the school. They based their plan on the opportunity to learn while collecting and the prospect of mastering life skills. The two of them pitched their idea to the principal; he accepted the concept, thus the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society was “coined.” The first year 13 students participated, this year the club has grown to 27 students.
What are the Society Rules?
Before we agreed to host this amazing group of children, we did some research and were very impressed with their group. We were especially taken with their rules and regulations. Read these over and you cannot tell me you are not impressed too!
There are the rules for the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society (LKNS):
- HAVE FUN—LKNS has fun and interesting meetings and activities; even parties, auctions, giveaways, and drawings! How much fun you have depends on how much you participate! Also, remember to help others have fun too—we all have more fun together!
- BE RESPECTFUL—Honor others through listening, participating, showing interest, helping, using good manners, and respecting others’ property (be careful, don’t touch it without permission). Respect yourself and your fellow members with behavior that doesn’t distract, disrupt, or interfere.
- LEARN SOMETHING—You will gain the most from LKNS if you attend, listen, and participate. There’s a lot you can learn, and numismatics makes it fun and interesting! If you learn something interesting at LKNS, read more about it when you go home!
- SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE—Use what you know and learn to help others know and learn. Leadership is born through serving others. You earn respect, gain confidence, and make friends when you lead this way.
What a BIG DAY!
From the moment the six vans pulled up, with the 24 students and 15 chaperones, we had the group on the move. Osborne Coinage is a collection of buildings spanning about a city block, which when pieced together, create a maze of stairwells and passageways. We took the group through the building to our meeting, training, and conference room where we greeted these eager minds and introduced ourselves.
Ken Shaner, our Director of Sales and Marketing delivered an amazing presentation with the assistance of Patrick Hipple, our numismatic sales executive and resident coin expert. Together they provided facts about our mint, history of the industry, and shared examples of previously minted materials. Ken even went to the vault and showed off the original die for President Abraham Lincoln’s coins that the mint created back in the 1800’s. The kids were truly astounded. Some of the interesting facts shared:
- The mint was established in 1835, the same year the Liberty Bell cracked
- Osborne is the oldest privately owned and operating mint in the USA
- Osborne Mint is one of only 42 mints still operational in the USA
- To this day, Osborne Mint is the ONLY mint never to be counterfeited
Then came the fun part, a real tour of the facilities and an opportunity to actually see how our coins are produced. We instructed each student and chaperone to be careful on the tour because this is a real working manufacturing plant. They were to pay attention, listen and ask questions. Each stop on the tour provided an educational experience. From visiting the metal storage area, to seeing blanking presses in action, to actually using a manual single coin press (aka a drop hammer press) to create souvenir rounds for each of them to take home, they got to see it all. We then traveled through the rimming and cleaning rooms, to the engraving and artistic center.
At the artist bench, we surprised the class with one of our graphic designers working on a collectible round featuring a portrait of their leader David Norris on the obverse and their society logo on the reverse. This artistic imagery really astonished the class. We wanted to demonstratethe creativity and diversity that our designers possess, by showing the students something relative to them – i.e. – their group leader…..and how he would look sporting elf ears!
Next, the class visited the die vault, where they could see the history and artistry of years of minting. They peered in the vault where each die is safely stored for posterity and each had the chance to see dies from the 1800’s to today. During the conversation, many students were surprised at how much the dies still look the same and how, aside from modernization, the process is the same too.
Once we returned the conference room, we shared a lunch and took time to talk about their favorite parts of the tour. From this lively discussion, we encouraged the students to work in groups and design their own coins. Ken prepared a cheat sheet that showed the specifics for their round; metal type, dimensions and weight. As the kids prepared their designs, Patrick demonstrated ancient coining by minting a coin with only a die and a sledgehammer, as they did in the early days. Finally, we requested that each group present their rounds and explain their design process. I have to say, these are some creative young students, from the Bengals to turtles these young boys and girls envisioned fun pieces of art. The question was even asked, “if we turn one of their designs into a coin would they get money for it?” which got a laugh.
Dave shared with me that he was contemplating a follow-up project or perhaps a presentation where the students individually share their experience with the group. He also mentioned that he might make the adults present too. You could tell that the chaperones had as much fun students and I could tell that Ken was in his element. Ken told me later, “I am on cloud nine, I had so much fun and the way the kids were so attentive, asked great questions and we so well behaved – WOW! We certainly made some collectors more serious about their hobby, no doubt there.”
It is super rare for Osborne Coinage to provide tours of our facility, but in this case, I am really glad we did. These young numismatists will certainly have more to talk about and a greater desire to collect now that they have seen the actual creation process. Especially after we primed their collection spirit by adding to each of their collections numerous sample pieces that we have minted over the years.
Throughout the tour, you could see the interest and the excitement on the student’s faces. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be some designers, machinists and engineers coming from this bunch.
I have to say, “It was our pleasure to host this group of budding coin enthusiasts from Legacy Knights Numismatic Society. The kids were truly awestruck by the whole process, from our warehouse full of giant metal coils, to blanking, coining, packaging, and the engraving department. Their chaperones were equally impressed at everything we do in house - from making our own tooling to heat treating dies,” what a fun event for them and us too.
Jameson Sheets (one of the students) said it best, “I have been collecting for years now and I have hundreds of coins, between my two friends and I, we probably have over a thousand. Now I can tell people I know how they are made and that is awesome.” How cool is that, we have created a collector!
To learn more about the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society at their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/KnightsNumismatics/) and the school website: https://www.legacyknights.org/legacy-life/extra_curricular.cfm
DYK: There is a larger, international, youth coin collector’s organization, so if you are considering collecting as a hobby or are a seasoned youth that wants to know more about the hobby, visit their website: https://www.money.org/young-numismatists. Special note, every member of the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society (LKNS) receives a membership into the American Numismatic Association’s YN (Young Numismatist) organization, in an effort broaden their collection scope.
Osborne Coinage products are proudly made in the USA and every purchase of an Osborne Coinage product supports American jobs.
Established in 1835, Osborne Coinage is America’s oldest continuously operating private mint. The family of brands includes Osborne Mint, TokensDirect and Van Brook of Lexington. The mint, a 60,000 square foot facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, houses development, engraving and manufacturing of quality collectible rounds and coins. Products made by Osborne are crafted to strict standards for metal purity, weight and dimensions. Osborne strikes millions of coins, tokens, medallions as well as numismatic quality rounds and bars that are sold through distributors and business-to-business.
Stay in the know and follow our hashtags: #OsborneMint, #OsborneCoin
For more information on Osborne Coinage visit: www.OsborneCoin.com.