Introducing Kids to Coin Collecting

Whether it’s your kids, grand kids, nieces/nephews, cousins, or the neighbors kids; it is the duty of seasoned collectors to teach and encourage the next generation about coins. Here are some fun ways you can introduce kids to the hobby that isn’t too daunting or confusing for a youngster that is just getting started!  


71+utDU1NeL._SL1200_Get a State Quarter Book
Start kids on a collection that is accessible to them! The state quarters collection is a great place to start since they are likely to find those quarters in their change. This is an amazing way for kids to feel the sense of accomplishment that comes along with collecting as well as teaches them to always be on the lookout for interesting coins. State quarter books or maps are cheap and can be found just about anywhere; Amazon, Littleton, Barnes & Noble, and even Walmart.


gamePlay Games on the U.S. Mint Website
You may not know this, but the U.S. Mint has a website made just for kids: H.I.P. Pocket Change. Play one of their seven games; you can design your own coin, learn about the presidents, and more! The Website also has plenty of other resources such as a coin glossary, videos on how coins are made, and printable coloring sheets. This website provides a fun and engaging way for you to introduce a child to your favorite hobby.


Philly-Mint-2017-e1520521720748-1024x575Take a Trip to the U.S. Mint
If you live near Philadelphia or Denver or if you’re going on a road trip, stop by the Mint! At the Denver Mint, children 7 and up can attend and will get to experience a free guided tour. Expect to learn about the history of the mint and the process of minting the coins. The Philadelphia Mint offers a free self-guided tour that takes approximately 45 minutes. Tour highlights include meeting Peter the Mint Eagle, seeing the first coining press, and viewing the coining operations from 40 feet above the factory floor. A visit to the Mint is sure to be an exciting experience for you and a kid. The trip would be sure to spark curiosity for the hobby.


68332Download the Lookzee App
Lookzee is an app we have developed that is specifically for coin collectors. The app allows for profile creation and digitally storing of your collection. There is also an active forum of over 1,000 users you can connect with! The app aides collectors in taking professional style images of their coins and can grade wheat cents through computer vision software. And we are working every day to add more coins to the database. If you’re not very technologically savvy this is the perfect opportunity for your kid to teach you a thing or two about mobile applications. Download for Android or iOS!


71Mnmf-mzYL._SL1200_Get a Penny Portrait Kit
A Penny Portrait kit is a fun way for kids and grown-ups alike to create a fantastic work of art and maybe learn a thing or two about pennies in the process. Each kit includes a poster of Abe Lincoln made from images of actual pennies. With a little dedication, some glue, and 846 of your own pennies, you can have a truly unique work of art that you will enjoy for years to come. The process of collecting 846 pennies to make the portrait will sure to have the kid asking questions about coins.



800_1q8t8wwpnk3drm8xsdjcInvite Them to A Coin Club Meeting
Do you attend a local coin club? If so, a youngster in your life would likely love to attend a club meeting with you. Check with other club members to make sure the meeting will be an appropriate one to bring along a child and encourage other members to bring someone too. This will provide a place for kids to meet other kids that have the same interests. If you don’t currently attend a coin club check out local coin clubs here!


US0025-Washington-Quarter-1932D-580810923df78cbc28c33c64.jpgSend in Their Report Card to ‘Coins for A’s’
Coins for A’s is a program offered by the American Numismatic Association. If the child earns three or more A’s on their report cards they will receive a free coin and initial 1 year electronic membership to the American Numismatic Association. This is a great way to encourage good grades and spark interest in collecting, because what kid doesn’t love free stuff and getting mail!


1280px-Logo_of_YouTube_(2015-2017).svgWatch YouTube
Most kids already spend hours watching YouTube so why not watch it with them? Check out channels such as Quin’s Coins, Couch Collectibles, or our very own founder: Tim Rathjen. YouTube is a fantastic platform to learn from other collectors and get insights from pros. Plus there is hours of free content at your fingertips.


Share Your Passion!
Perhaps the best and most important way to introduce kids to the hobby is to share your passion. They will like seeing you excited and will be innately curious. Remember to start slow and small because after years of collecting what might seem obvious to you, likely won’t be to them. Teach them things like how to properly handle coins, what coins to look for in their change, and the basic vocabulary. Pay attention to what interests them and foster that interest, be it a coin set, type, verity, etc. And remember to let them look at your coins, it may make you a little anxious to let someone so young and inexperience handle your coins but it is important to bring them into all parts of the hobby and let them know that you trust them too. Creating a relationship with a child and your time together spent with the coins is what will make them cherish coin collecting for years to come.  


These are just a couple ideas to get started! What are some ways you have enjoyed the hobby with the children in your life?

Kick the Can

There are several simple games children play today that their Grandparents were backyard champs at – kickball, hide n’ seek, hopscotch; but one that seems frozen in the past is Kick the Can.  Remembered as a vintage game, not many children nowadays really know how to play.  You’d be an odd child out if you didn’t know how to play Kick the Can eighty years ago.  For those of us under the age of forty, I’ll lay out the rules:

The objective is simple.  Kick the can and don’t get caught!  A can is filled with rocks and set in the middle of the game area.  Like tag, or hide n’ seek, one player is designated “it” and the other players run and hide while the “it” player closes his eyes and counts.  When the “it” finds the hiders, he calls out their names and they must race him back to the can to kick it far into the air first.  If the hider beats the “it” person, he returns to hiding while the “it” retrieves the can, counts and begins searching again.  But if the “it” person wins the race to the can, the hider is sent to an allocated “jail” area, near the can.  Other players hiding may rush out to kick the can at any point, freeing the imprisoned players!  The game ends when “it” wins, capturing all the hiders, or when a hider kicks the can over.


The origins of the game are like many antiquated practices, imprecise.  It is fondly remembered as a popular game during the Great Depression. Because of limited extracurricular resources and abundance of children in the neighborhood, it seemed only natural for kids to grab a paint can from the trash, fill it with rocks and participate in hours on end of unfacilitated playtime.  During these difficult economic times, the kids seemed to have the right idea – making something out of nothing.  Not requiring any designated materials or playing field, Kick the Can was the perfect pickup game that has been lost somewhere in oral teaching along the way.

Perhaps kids of today could take a lesson in unplanned playtime.  In his book “Children at Play: An American History (2007), Howard Chudacoff discusses the importance of unstructured play, referring to the early 20th century as the ‘golden age’ of kid’s free play.

At the turn of the 20th century as child labor decreased, kids had a lot of free time on their hands – freedom to play from dawn ’til dusk, to read comics and to explore their world in whatever way satisfied their fascinations.  However, with the increasing priority of education, extracurricular activities became less significant and more structured as adults realized their responsibility in nurturing a balanced growing person.  Adult involvement in free time inevitably led to more structured play, as adult-directed sports replaced pickup games.  Simultaneously, parents worried about their children playing with other neighborhood kids unsupervised, as parental control became a topic of concern.  Today, though we realize the need for children to play, society has entirely limited kids’ ability to play and explore in their own chosen ways.

Though antiquated, perhaps we could all learn from a little game of kick the can.  Like organized sports, these types of outdoor, movement-oriented games are beneficial for both the mind and body.  Next time you’re outside, give it a try!

Model Cars

A child hurriedly runs downstairs early on Christmas morning to tear open a box shrouded in mystery all tucked under a giant red bow.  Eyes bright with consuming fascination, he pulls out a shiny red tin firetruck.

It seems like just about everyone in the past seventy years has played with a model automobile.  My grandfather owned one when he was a child and I can vividly remember the days when Ken would pick Barbie up in his hot pink Jaguar V8.  There’s nothing new about the model car industry as this constantly evolving fascination with automobiles propagates the model car as a valuable collectible item today.

Model cars and toy cars have been in production just about as long as real automobiles and today are a 1.25+ billion dollar industry. Though thousands of mini-automobiles have been made, the biggest difference between toy cars and genuine model cars is seen in their fine attention to detail.  Model cars are meticulously scaled and designed, whereas purely toy cars lack accuracy in size and detailing.

Stamp & Coin Advertisement

Stamp & Coin Vintage Advertisement

In the 1920’s it was believed that small cars helped the sale of their large counterparts. Dealers would sell models right alongside the real ones, hoping that children would form an attachment to a brand and
therefore encourage adults to purchase the full-size version.  By the 70’s collectible automobiles were as much geared towards adults as children.

From the run-of-the-mill to the exotic, model cars have been made from wood, tin, resin, cast iron, steel and plastic.  Originally much larger than today’s models, tin cars were primarily manufactured in Germany in the early 1900’s.  Some were simple push cars, while others contained winding gears.  In the 1920s the French car company Citroen built notably large models at 1/8th and 1/11th the actual size.  Today, they are typically 1:64.

While cast iron model cars were trendy before World War I, Buddy L Toys popularized the pressed steel model, which allowed for pieces to move independently as these models grew more true to life.  With the market’s increasing popularity, companies such as Matchbox Lesney and Hot Wheels jumped in the model car game, blowing away all competition and broadening the collectible’s accessibility with much smaller, more affordable die-cast models.  Hot Wheels began to produce limited-edition cars which were updated annually representing the manufacturing schedule of actual cars. To date, the die-cast car is the most popular type of die-cast toy ever produced.

It’s safe to say toy cars are still a relevant, booming industry with companies like Hot Wheels continually producing new designs, movies and even mobile games.  However, the model car industry has changed as the baby-boomers and pre-boomers begin to downsize and purchase less. We can only hope that the avid collectors will continue to recognize and share the beauty that is a classic, model car.

Check out some of our own car memorabilia at S&C Etc:

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Lunchboxes, the Talk of the Playground (and Collectors)

Do you remember the days when your lunchbox as one of the most important things you carried to school? Tin lunchboxes used to be all the rage on the playground, featuring popular pop culture figures, often with matching Thermoses. How cool your lunchbox was would either side you with the cool kids or stick you in the “dork” category.

Now tin lunchboxes are all the rage with collectors.


As with many things, a little mouse named Mickey got the ball rolling on character-approved lunchboxes. Mickey was featured on a metal “Lunch Kit” and soon other companies caught on.

Captain America lunchbox by Visitor7 on Wikimedia Commons, CC 3.0.

Captain America lunchbox by Visitor7 on Wikimedia Commons, CC 3.0.


In the mid-20th century, a company called Aladdin started the real lunchbox craze. They started printing pop culture-relevant designs on the boxes and dominated most of the market until the early 1960’s, around the time that the Thermos Company started decorating lunchboxes on all sides.

Around that time, Aladdin started making 3D lunchboxes, too, embossing designs on the metal boxes to make them stick out.


By Visitor7 on Wikimedia Commons, CC 3.0

In the 60’s, space-themed boxes were especially popular, with imagery featuring The Jetsons and Star Trek. This is on top of all the other famous figures like the Beatles.

And in the ’70s and ’80s, lunchboxes really took over in the cafeteria. TV shows and film featured on the boxes as sneakier marketing. Hot Wheel boxes were pretty popular, too.

Pro tip: Original Hot Wheels lunchboxes with the Twin Mill car are especially rare.

The popularity of lunchboxes has, unfortunately, died down a bit. But plenty of vintage boxes are out there for collecting nostalgic pieces of the past.

Did you own any pop culture lunchboxes as a kid? Do you collect them now?