THE ETHICS OF MAKING COIN RINGSby Ron Judd on 07/17/11
Every once in a while I hear someone say, "I love these coin rings but isn't it a shame to destroy those beautiful coins?" Most of the time I just smile.
This is one of those topics with no right answer. No matter what I say someone will disagree and others will say that I'm right-on. For those who would disagree, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. Don't get me wrong, I understand how the purists feel, perhaps more so than they understand me. For what it's worth I'll go ahead and offer my opinions and hope for the best.
Now, lets get started... How do I justify making rings out of perfectly good coins? Well, first of all it's not illegal. Second, They belong to me and I have a right to do with them as I wish and Third, I like doing it. Simple as that... well not quite. I have been a coin collector from childhood. As a kid, I spent hundreds of hours searching through jars of pennies looking for that elusive 1909 S VDB. Every time I received change I had hopes of finding that one coin my collection was lacking. When I finally found it, the last thing I would have done was to turn it into a ring. It was a huge achievement and holds an honored position in my collection to this day. So, I do understand, that's why you won't find key dates or highly graded coins being used for rings. They not only cost more but they belong in collections and not turned into rings or other jewelry. See, I'm not such a bad guy after all.
The coins I use are mostly circulated coins in good condition with normal wear and tear. The detail has to be well preserved without obvious dings or scratches. I know you'll say those are the exact same coins being sought by novice collectors. Well, at one time I was able to find silver coins in pocket change but now days those coins need to be bought from collectors and dealers. When was the last time you received a silver coin as change? If the novice collector wants to collect circulating base metal coins there are plenty to be had at face value from the bank. On the other hand, if the collector is in pursuit of silver coins he will have to compete and pay for them like the rest of us from collectors and dealers who expect to make a profit.
Dealers have no emotional attachment to the coins they sell. I have yet to have a dealer refuse to sell me a coin knowing it would be turned into a ring. Lets face it, its just business. The dealer wants to make, as much as he can from each coin he sells, I'm no different.
In most cases I take an ordinary coin and make it into an extraordinary piece of historic art that can be worn daily and admired. Can the same thing be said for a collection of coins stashed way in a vault, buried in the back yard or tucked away in a sock draw for years and even decades without ever seeing light of day?
Because of their uniqueness, coin rings appeal to every age group and gender. Just about everyone loves coins and to wear a coin ring fosters that love and a sense of history not to mention they're cool.