You've met him on the bourse floor, you've sat in his class at the ANA Summer Seminar, you've called him for advice on auction lots, ANA Life Member, Red Book contributor, and now he's proudly independent.
I first fell in love with coins in 1961 on a Junior High School basketball court in Hallandale, Florida. I was 11 years old and a classmate whose name is long lost to time asked if I collected coins. It was a new concept to me so I asked him what he meant. He pulled an 1843 large cent and an 1864 two-cents out of his pocket and I was stricken. He wanted 35 cents for the two pieces – the exact cost of lunch – and so I went hungry that day.
Oh, and I got a lecture from my mom about paying all that money for three cents face value; it was right around that time that I began a long-time relationship with bag lunches.
My collecting interests were simple. I picked Mercury dimes, Buffalo nickels, Jefferson nickels, and Lincoln cents from pocket change as I found them, and even now, 55 years later, I still look at my pocket change each and every night and occasionally there's a small reward. The collector in us never dies!
I began my professional career with Bowers and Merena Galleries in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire in 1987. After taking two written tests, one in New York and a second in New Hampshire, Ray Merena offered me a job in their growing retail division. I moved with my wife, Peg, and eight year old daughter, Jenna, from Rockland County, New York where I was president of the L.E.R.A. Coin Club. We loved New Hampshire so much that we had another child, a son, Terry James, who was born in Wolfeboro in 1988.
In 1990 I moved from the retail department to a position as an auction cataloger where I remained until July, 2016. During that time some of the most beautiful – and rarest – coins have crossed my desk for examination and description. I personally collect various items today including Liberty Seated dime love tokens by date and without holes or mounts, as well as Conder tokens and exonumia.
At Frank Van Valen Numismatics, I look forward to working with collectors who enjoy quality coins. I will be specializing in copper, nickel, and silver U.S. and World coins, along with Conder tokens and exonumia. After all these years, I know a nice coin when I see one! Whether it's an EF Liberty Seated half dollar or a Mint State early dime – or anything else under the numismatic sun – eye appeal and overall surface quality matters to me as it should to you.
Coins with eye appeal and problem-free surfaces always sell themselves, and those are the sort of coins I intend to offer here at FranklyCoins.com.
You can learn a little more at this blog post: click here.