Hobby in your Pocket
Updated: May 3
Coin collecting is about finding diamonds in the rough
By Amelia Blades Steward
Bill Dickerson displays a sampling of his impressive coin collection.
The reasons behind being a numismatist or coin collector are many. Some people collect coins for their beauty, while others collect as an investment. An 1804-dated U.S. silver dollar specially made on behalf of President Andrew Jackson and still in mint condition sold for $3.8 million. The coin was intended to be given as a diplomatic gift on behalf of President Andrew Jackson by State Department representatives on trade missions to the Middle East and Asia and is one of only eight of its kind known in existence. On the other end of the spectrum, the most popular and most affordable sets of coins today to collect are Lincoln and Indian Head penny sets. For Bill Dickerson of Easton, age 74, what started as a childhood hobby has become a business that helps afford his lifetime hobby.
When did you start collecting?
I have been collecting coins since I was 11 years old. As a child, I used my chore and grass-cutting money to buy rolls of coins from the bank to find Lincoln cents and later Buffalo nickels.
What made you start your collection?
I enjoy researching the history behind coins. As an adult, coin collecting became a minor obsession. During my career in the insurance business, I traveled to coin shows to buy and sell coins. You can have fun with the hobby, and you can also increase the value of your collection. Rarer coins and coins in mint condition appreciate.
What are your favorite things in your collection?
When I was 12 years old, I found a 1950 D nickel in some change. I was a member of the Easton Coin Club and the only one to find one. Forty years ago, I collected a 39 D nickel which was uncirculated. It was a neat coin to have at the time.
What was your first piece?
The first coin I found was an 1896 Indian Head penny and the seed was planted.
What are you doing with your collection?
Following my retirement, I opened Delmarva Gold and Silver with my friend and colleague Jesse Furry in the Easton Amish Farmers Market in 2014. It has always been a hobby I have wanted to share with others. I try to plant seeds for the hobby of young people. I offer them free coins when they come into the shop with their parents. It’s not all about the money. It is also helping to bring interest in coin collecting back.
Are you still collecting?
Everything in the shop is for sale. I still have collector’s blood. The shop affords me the ability to have my hobby. You never know what is going to come across the counter here. Coin collecting is about the unknown and the potential. My partner, Jesse, recently researched an obsolete double denomination banknote from 1862 to 1865 from the Somerset & Worcester Savings Bank in Salisbury. The note had $5 printed on one side and $1 printed on the other side. It may be the only banknote of its kind.
Delmarva Gold and Silver sells rare coins and currency at wholesale prices to collectors, as well as buys and sells gold and silver bullion and jewelry. The shop is located at Easton’s Amish Farmers Market at 101 Marlboro Avenue, Suite 1, in Easton. For further information, call Dickerson at 410-310-2789.
Business partner Jesse Furry showing rare bank notes from the 1860s