My friend Spaniel is a “numismatist,” which means he studies cartoon penguins.
No I’m just kidding, of course. A numismatist collects coins as a hobby. If you win a prize on Jeopardy for that bit of knowledge, please send seven mint condition 1972 American Eagle silver dollars with certified appraisals to me, I will give them to him, and he will be very excited if those are a real thing because I just made them up.
In the realm of exciting hobbies, collecting coins is probably on the low end, perhaps just barely north of stamp collecting or classifying bread molds. On the other end of the spectrum are extreme sports enthusiasts, snake and crocodile handlers, and those with bizarre and dangerous fetishes. In general, if your husband says he’s taking on a new hobby, you hope it’s something like collecting coins and not doing some crazy “performance art” where he juggles chainsaws naked wearing rollerskates.
I became aware of Spaniel’s passion for shiny round metal things when he stopped into my office this week and said “Hey, tell me if I got wronged here on this,” and told me the story of his recent visit to a coin shop. He had gone to a new shop to sell some coins, had seller’s remorse, then asked to buy them back. They reluctantly agreed, and he went back to the shop to retrieve his regrettable sales.
A woman came into the shop with a suitcase full of expensive coins, having recently inherited it and eager to cash out some other numismatist’s life’s work for a few bucks. Spaniel, being the knowledgeable collector that he is, realized that she was unloading thousands of dollars of rare collectibles for a fraction of their real value. He started chatting her up, the store clerk got wind of it, and walked him out of the store. The guy chewed him out and basically kicked him out of the store for soliciting.
So back to Spaniel’s question, “Hey, tell me if I got wronged here on this,” that would be a no. He did not get wronged. What he did was the equivalent of setting up a little burrito stand in one of the booths at Taco Bell and encouraged would-be customers to buy burritos for 50 cents from him instead.
“Psst, come here. Buy these burritos instead. Those other guys pee in the beans.”
It’s especially funny when you consider that my poaching friend wasn’t even a regular at this place. His only purchase history with them was his reversed transaction refund he requested because he changed his mind. I think if this was any other buy-and-sell venue, like a pawn shop or at a gun show, there’s a reasonable possibility that he would have been thrown out onto the sidewalk on his rear like in the movies, while someone yelled “…and stay out!”
By the way, if you ever do see a numismatist get knocked unconscious on a sidewalk out front of a coin store for soliciting other customers inside, be sure to go through his pockets. You might find a rare reverse print commemorative 1982 titanium quarter, the limited edition with a Star Wars Stormtrooper in the background.