Thursday, May 13, 2010

Coins, Currency, and Conservatives

On the first day of this month I had the pleasure of attending a coin show
in downtown Milwaukee. As it had participating coin dealers from all over
the country, the event was held in a gigantic facility, the Frontier Airlines
Center, to accomodate everyone and everything. While there, your favorite
Peasant had the opportunity to view many fantastic rare coins, loads of rare
currency, and meet some fantastic people. A third-generation numismatist
myself, I marked the dates of the show on my calendar.

Of the many wonderful people I met there, every one of them was politically
conservative or libertarian. Every one! It's no accident nor coincidence
that coin and currency collectors are of either of these political varieties;
as collectors of not merely money but pieces of our country's history and
heritage they have a reverence for these items, as they have for our country

These folks also have an understanding of, and appreciation for, the roles that
gold and silver have had in our monetary system. Some of these coin enthusiasts
own gold U.S. coins; most of them own silver coins from the days when our silver
coinage was not alloyed with other metals. In addition, the currency from those
days was backed by precious metals, unlike the currency we have today. Back then,
our money supply was linked to reserves of gold and silver --- no fiat money
existed, no ridiculously easy credit nor costly social programs either. U.S.
currency bore the words "silver certificate". Our federal government, and most
of the citizens, lived within their means and the former did not resort to
tinkering with our money supply to "find" money to pay for whatever items or
programs either. Coin and currency collectors note the contrast between how
things were then and how things are today, lamenting the current state of our
money, not to mention the massive federal budget and deficit as well as the
monstrously huge national debt.

In the last century our government took our dollar off of the Gold Standard,
and our paper money no longer bears language describing it as "silver certifi-
cates". Eased credit rules and availability abound, as do a slew of social
programs ostensibly designed to buffer us from the vicissitudes of life.
And with the currency printing presses now going full throttle, for among
other things, the purpose of creating money to pay our nation's creditors,
since we have borrowed so much money since the 1950s to raise money for our
"domestic" needs (a/k/a social spending), inflation is set to return with a
vengeance. Your faithful Peasant can assure you that you won't find many,
if any, Obama fans among the coin crowd!

However, of all the people I met at the coin show, one gentleman stands out
for several reasons: this fellow is a retired soldier and Vietnam War veteran
with a coin & currnecy business which has him doing business here and in
Southeast Asia --- Vietnam(!) in particular. Furthermore, he is a native
Virginian, and from the part of the Old Dominion State where my ancestors
settled in the 17th century. As it turns out, this man's ancestors settled
in that part of the state at the same time! He told me that he is familiar
with my family name and believes we may be related. If we are kin, I couldn't
ask for finer family relation; patriotic, entrepreneurial, and a Southern
gentleman! Can you, my wonderful readers, tell that your loyal Peasant is
proud of his Southern roots?

Indeed, the people who study our country's proud history and collect its
coins and currency, as well as other artifacts, are people who have a deep
appreciation for the USA and their roots to it. They truly embody the Tea
Party spirit!


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