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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

50 years of change and counting for Putnam County Coin Club

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Four former club presidents were on hand when the Putnam County Coin Club observed its golden anniversary with a dinner at Putnam Inn Tuesday night. Among those serving as president over the past 50 years have been (from left) Mike Fowler (2010, 2011, 2012), Julian Jarvis (five terms, including being the first club president in 1963, Joe Baumann (1978 with an ongoing 12-year run as treasurer) and Bill Crawford (new 2013 president).
When the Putnam County Coin Club began in late 1962, most U.S. coins had silver in them. Now the silver's mostly in the temples or atop the heads of club members.

While change is supposed to be synonymous with coins, one look at the roster of Coin Club officers over the years shows several names have remained in circulation over and over again.

Like Julian Jarvis. Not only was he the very first club president back in 1963, serving with vice president Ralph Klipsch, secretary Randall Collins and treasurer Harry Wells in that inaugural officer grouping, but it was Jarvis' first of five terms as president.

That five-time leadership role ties him with Richard Gaddis. Larry Creed served four terms, while most recently Mike Fowler did three straight.

It's not about the money, the position is unpaid, of course. But it is about the coins and the currency.

And despite no valuable metals being incorporated into U.S. coinage since the end of 1964, interest in the club might well be at an all-time high currently, Jarvis suggested.

Sixteen collectors met at the old City Hall to organize things in November 1962 with 12 charter members signing on and paying the $1-a-year dues.

"I was working at Central National Bank back then," Jarvis said, "and there were several other people I knew who had an interest in coins."

Joining Jarvis, Klipsch and Collins in that charter group were William Spencer, Earl McCullough, Adrian Morrison, William Morrison, Richard Gould, Robert Stoelting, William Lockwood, Ruth Chew and Paul Williams.

Now meeting in the large fellowship hall at the Greencastle Church of the Nazarene, the club's attendance runs from a low of 40 to a high in the 50s, Jarvis pointed out.

"It's partially because of the metals price," he said. "There's a lot of interest in precious metals now. People are wanting to preserve some of their wealth that way."

And why not, with gold running $1700-$1750 per troy ounce and silver somewhere around $33 an ounce.

As mementoes of the event, the club passed out wooden nickels to members and guests.
Silver demands a lot of interest, Jarvis said, because of the number of applications it has beyond just coinage.

Gold, meanwhile, has a tendency to go up or down and follow more the economic conditions, explained Jarvis, a DePauw University graduate with a background in economics and a wealth of experience in banking.

Gold and silver prices have motivated several new members to join the club, Jarvis reasoned, noting that "there's not too many places around where they can go and buy (gold and silver)."

"There are very few of what you would call 'real coin shops' left any more," he added, mentioning one in Terre Haute and a couple in Indianapolis. "And the ones that are left make their money buying not selling."

Jarvis said his interest in coins started quite early.

"I started collecting when I was about 12," he said, pinpointing the year as 1947.

A neighbor boy's father ran an old one-pump gas station on North Jackson Street (the northwest section of Humphrey's property now), he recalled.

"One day we got to looking at pennies and decided to see who could get the most pennies with different dates," Jarvis said. "I started looking at every penny I could get my hands on."

When his sister bought him one of the first guidebooks of U.S. coins, and he later acquired his first blue coin album to stow his treasures, Jarvis was off and running.

Even his first part-time job involved change as he worked half-days at Central National Bank while still a junior at Greencastle High School. He worked in the bank's supply room, ran errands, and most importantly to him, wrapped coins, helping fuel his interest in an area in which he still makes his living these days.

"I've been a fulltime dealer since 1980," Jarvis said, noting that it is a real rarity -- "almost impossible really" -- to score a valuable coin find in circulation these days, although that doesn't stop the true numismatic from checking his palm every time a merchant hands back his change.

Jarvis still attends Putnam County Coin Club meetings after 50 years, although he tries to keep a low profile these days.

"Basically I've tried to stay on the sidelines," he said. "We've got enough people and enough officers now. It's in good hands."

Just like a fistful of shiny coins.

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I was a member of the coin club starting in 1968 when I was in Junior High School in Greencastle. I really enjoyed going the meetings and always liked the coin auctions. Julian was the auctioneer. The anniversary meeting date we always brought food and drinks. Being a member started my passion for collecting coins especially silver dollars. I remember being able to buy Uncirculated silver dollars from Julian for $2.50 each!!

Those were truelly the old days of collecting.

-- Posted by donantonioelsabio on Sat, Dec 1, 2012, at 7:45 AM

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