For dealer, old coins are priceless

Old coins add up to priceless job for dealer

A foreign coin, an Irish penny and a silver dollar were as good as gold to 9-year-old Lester White.

Although the coins weren’t valuable, they were enough to spark his interest in collecting.

“Coins kind of grew on me,” said White. “I was a different kind of collector. I was more interested in collecting for the sake of having the coin, than its monetary value.”

Since receiving the coins about 63 years ago, White, now 72, has become well known among collectors and their children. The Westminster numismatist - a person who studies coins, tokens, medals or paper money - opened White’s Emporium in 1987, now a coin shop on Main Street.

Fellow coin enthusiast David Thaxter attributes White’s success to his work ethic and passion for coins.

“People respect Lester because he has a lot of integrity,” said Thaxter, the owner of Metro Coins and Currency in Jessup, whose father was a longtime friend of White’s. “He tells people about the coins they’re buying, and always gives them a fair deal.”

And sometimes he treats newcomers in his shop to the stories behind his first three coins.

Back in 1943, a banker gave White a foreign coin. White kept it because he thought it was cool to have a coin from another country.

Then, several year later, he found an Irish penny in a jar in his grandfather’s house. His grandfather had brought the penny from Ireland when he came to America. When he died, White inherited the penny.

Finally, his father gave him a 1900 silver dollar.

The sentimental value of his coins makes them priceless, he said.

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