Rick Yadon: Sacramento Valley Coin Club president
Keeping the fine art of coin appreciation alive
All that glitters is not gold—sometimes it’s silver, sometimes it’s copper and sometimes it’s just completely worthless. It isn’t always easy to tell, though. So what do you do when you have a coin, but you’re unsure about its history or value? That’s easy—hit up the Sacramento Valley Coin Club.
Established in 1957, the organization has been keeping the hobby of numismatics alive, preserving and sharing their knowledge of currency that spans countries and decades. This year the club is hosting the largest coin hunt in Sacramento history, and has dropped 1,000 coins all around the area for folks to discover. Twelve of those coins are specially marked and can be exchanged at the club for a more valuable coin up until July 24. SN&R caught up with club president Rick Yadon at the recent Spring Coin Show to chat about everything coin.
What first drew you to coin collecting?
My dad’s mom collected. Hers was Indian Head cents, probably because when she was a girl those were older. She was born in 1916, so she would find Indian Head cents. She got my dad into the hobby.
He collected his whole life and kinda got me started and interested in collecting. I got his collection when he passed away, and all of it I’ve given to the club. I kept one coin that has no value, but to me it’s priceless.
What makes it priceless?
When I was a boy, he’d take his coins out, and it was a Lincoln cent of Lincoln smoking a cigar. It has no value, but [I would say] “Daddy, I want to see the coin!”
I always wanted to see that coin. He’s been gone 12 years—you think it’d be gone, right? … That’s the only coin I cared about.
What makes one coin more valuable than another?
It’s really about mint mark, denomination and condition. The grades run from 01 to 70; 70 is a perfect, flawless coin. Sometimes you’ll have a Mint State-66, you go up one grade to 67 and it’s worth thousands of dollars more.
What’s something every numismatics initiate should know?
Go slow. It’s hard to balance that when you’re excited; you’re like a kid in a candy store. Sometimes you’ll overspend, or you’ll get things that aren’t really things that you’re interested in. And so I tell people to go slow, start with low-end stuff, don’t jump in and start buying high-end stuff, ’cause you may pay thousands more than you should’ve paid for something.
What does a typical club meeting look like?
We meet second and fourth Wednesdays—the second Wednesday is show and tell. Members bring things they just found out somewhere, they traveled somewhere and found something cool. …The second meeting of the month is educational.
Does cryptocurrency factor into numismatics?
Not for us at this point. The electronic stuff is a little more difficult to deal with; I don’t know if we’ll ever see that. To collect this stuff, it’s really gotta be physical and tangible, that you can put in a case, a holder, your pocket, things like that.
I have a few coins, are they worth much?
(He looks at the coins.) This is a Canadian dime. Modern Canadian dimes, unless there’s an error or an anomaly like perhaps a broken die or something, they’re generally just worth pennies. Most of these are just pennies. Same thing for this Canadian quarter, modern Canadian quarter. The U.S. cent is, of course, worth a cent.