By Richard Thurston, ICC President
It’s spring here in Vermont. The days are getting longer and warmer, the snow is melting, mud season is arriving and most importantly of all it’s sugaring season.
For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, “sugaring” is the process of making maple syrup, a time-honored tradition here in the northeast and one that I look forward to participating in each year. Having been raised here in Vermont, I was taught the importance of tradition, of respecting those that came before us and the struggles they endured to make our lives better.
Coin collecting is another time-honored tradition that I have had the privilege of being involved with during my 39 years here at ICC. I see many similarities between the art of making maple syrup and the hobby of coin collecting. Both honor the legacy of our ancestors and the traditions that they represent.
As I watch the steam rising out of the evaporator in the sugar house, or as I hold one of the many coins in the inventory vault of our company, I am taken back to a simpler time. I think back to those who have made maple syrup before me, or to the many people who have held the same coin that I hold today and I can’t help but respect the importance of tradition.
Coins have always been more than a means of exchange. Each is a small piece of art telling the story of its country’s history, values and traditions. Coins often bring back fond memories (spending that mercury dime in a dime store) or invoke glories of the past (the Kennedy half dollar reminding us of the short-lived days of Camelot).
Some coin collectors pursue the hobby for the investment potential, others for the thrill of the chase or in appreciation of the coin’s artistic merit. But the true value of a coin collection is in preserving history for future generations.
One of my favorite coins is the 2001 Vermont issue from the very popular Statehood quarter series. Commemorative quarters from the series honor the history and traditions of U.S. states with one-year-only designs. The Vermont coin has a wonderful engraving of a farmer trudging through the spring snow to harvest sap that will be boiled into maple syrup — the tradition of “sugaring” preserved forever through the tradition of coin collecting.