Lauren Downie, 4, looked methodically through a box of stamps at the Middle Georgia Coin Club’s annual show on Sunday before selecting a few she wanted.
She was at the table of the Middle Georgia Philatelic Society, which promotes stamp collecting, one of the world’s most widespread hobbies.
Andy Rodriguez, president of the society, had told Lauren she could have some stamps from the box. It was a collection of a large variety of stamps that had been cut off of mailed envelopes.
It made Rodriguez smile to see a person so young interested in stamps.
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“It means that there’s hope for the hobby to continue in the future,” he said.
Lauren’s mom, Janice Dukes, said she likes to introduce her daughter to a variety of experiences.
“We are trying to teach her about different things,” she said. “When she finds something, she gets very interested in it.”
Lauren also went home with the beginnings of a coin collection. Martin Hartshorn of Winchester, Kentucky, had a shoe box full of low-value coins that he was selling at eight for a $1. Lauren picked out some and handed over her dollar.
Hartshorn had many coins that were much more valuable. He had one priced at $1,495, but he left coins back home that are valued at $250,000 each. He doesn’t take those on the road unless he brings armed security along, and since he’s not likely to sell one of those at a show like the one in Perry, he doesn’t go to that expense.
It was his first time at the Perry show, which went on Friday through Sunday at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter. On Sunday morning Hartshorn said he had done about $5,000 in sales, which made the trip well worthwhile.
The show features more than stamps, coins and currency. One dealer had fossils and Mark Simkins of Columbus was selling old certificates for stocks and bonds for $8 each. A former stock broker, Simkins said some of the certificates are from businesses than went under while many others were actually paid off.
“I’m a retired stockbroker so this was kind of my stock and trade, so to speak,” he said.
Phil Comer of Macon is a member of the Middle Georgia Coin Club, as well as president of the Warner Robins Coin Club. He helps organize the show. He said his interest in coin collecting began with the tooth fairy when he was a child. When he lost a tooth, he would get silver dollar, and he started researching the coins.
“It fascinated me that they had history,” he said. “All coins tell their own story and have their own history.”
The Middle Georgia Coin Club meets on the first and third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Central Georgia Rehabilitation Center dining room, 3351 Northside Drive, in Macon. Warner Robins club meets the 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Warner Robins Recreation Department at 800 Watson Blvd. Anyone with questions about coin collecting can call Chip Davis at 478-320-7850.