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The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

Fratzke unearths hidden treasures in coins

COLLECTION DETAILS. While many recently minted coins share inscriptions and denominations, rarer coins have unique difference that make then highly sought after. (Photo illustration: Annie Zhang, graphic: Zimo Xie)

What is worth both one dollar and $700? Sophomore Louis Fratzke, a longtime coin collector, has the answer in his collection — a rare silver dollar coin. Although coin collecting deals with fixed-value objects, rare coins can quickly become incredibly expensive on the secondary market. Fratzke may keep tabs on his collection’s price, but the real value comes from the joy of finding rarities and completing sets.

Fratzke started collecting coins about 10 years ago when his grandfather introduced him to the hobby.

“[Me and my grandfather] go down to the basement and sift through pennies,” Fratzke said.

All that sifting helps coin collectors find coins that are unique in some way. For example, according to Numismatic News, there are differences between the 17 types of U.S. pennies: the coin’s minting date, material, and imprinted image. The most sought-after coins are usually made in small quantities, and they get more valuable the better preserved they are.

Over time, Fratzke received many of the coins his grandfather had collected and started turning his grandfather’s hobby into his own.

[It’s cool to see] how the collection amasses, how you get closer to filling this one book or one page

— Louis Fratzke

“[It’s cool to see] how the collection amasses, how you get closer to filling this one book or one page,” Fratzke said.

However, only working with spare pennies isn’t enough for dedicated collectors. So Fratzke started to go to coin shows, which are meetups for vendors and enthusiasts alike, and purchase unique coins.

He’s also sparingly participated in online bidding. Fratzke believes online bidding doesn’t replicate the in-person ambiance that going to shows can offer. Although Fratzke is usually one of the youngest at the coin shows he attends, he can see how the longtime collectors have formed a community over time.

“A lot of the collectors are older, so they’ve been in the business for 40 to 50 years,” Fratzke said. “So they know a lot of each other, and they go around, and make a lot of big deals, usually.”

Within his extensive collection, Fratzke has amassed a complete set of the silver Roosevelt dimes made between 1946 and 1964. He’s also incredibly proud of his collection of ancient coins.

Filling collections doesn’t have to be a daunting task. “It can be surprising what you can find out there,” he said. “Even at school, I found … a silver quarter on the floor by the vending machines.”

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About the Contributor
Eliza Farley
Eliza Farley, Opinions Editor, Iris EIC
My name is Eliza Farley (she/her). I work as the Opinions Editor for The Rubicon and as the Editor-in-Chief of Iris: Art + Lit. At school, I play tennis and softball, and I also play the oboe in the school orchestra. I love to shop for cute stationery and make paper airplanes. I can be reached at [email protected].

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