Catalogue source of grandkids “Mint” condition gifts

We receive catalogues throughout the year, but ever since the beginning of November our mailbox seems to be bursting at the seams. (How did we get on all these mailing lists?)

The thing is, most of the catalogues are hawking items we would never consider buying, and the vast majority never make it past our household’s Direct-to-Recycle-Bin policy. A very few, however, do wind up atop our separate stacks of stuff. I currently have on my stack two keepers.

One is a catalogue from a music store. This one comes on a regular basis. I like to drool over the guitars, amps and other items although I rarely buy anything. The catalogue causes me to ask myself a hypothetical question: Just how rich would I have to be before I could justify spending $4,999.99 on a Gibson Les Paul electric guitar? My first decent guitar, also a Gibson, cost $180, as I recall. Maybe if I were some tech billionaire or a Hollywood Poobah I would think about purchasing the pricey Les Paul. Still, even if I were convinced I was rich enough, I would try to wheel and deal the salesperson down a few price points. Maybe knock off the 99 cents.

The other catalogue is from the United States Mint. I know why we get this one. It is because I have ordered proof sets for Christmas every year starting in 2005 when my first grandson, Atticus, was born. I ordered a second set when granddaughter Lorelei celebrated her first Christmas two years later, and another when Phineas came along two years after that. I started ordering four sets every Christmas after Adelaide entered our lives in 2012.

My impression is the G-Kids are not all that excited when they open these presents. Oh, they are polite and say, “Thank you, Grandpa,” but it is pretty clear they want to hurry onto the next wrapped package which might be a toy or something more exciting than a few shining coins encased in plastic. My guess is my proof coin gifts rank maybe a little higher than socks on their Memorable Christmas Presents lists. I tell myself they will appreciate them more when they are older.

I was a semi-serious numismatist when I was younger. I started getting proof coin sets for Christmas when family members found out I was interested in coin collecting. It was an easy gift to give every year because they didn’t have to think, “What can we get Norman for Christmas?” Some people are harder to buy for than others, so it is nice when the appropriate gift is a no-brainer. (“Especially when the recipient is a no-brainer,” My brothers might add.)

The 2014 United States Mint Proof Set costs $31.95. Multiply that by 4 and I see that I will be spending $127.80 plus $4.95 S&H. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to wheel and deal the Mint down even a little bit. Oh, well, even though I am not a tech billionaire, I will continue the tradition.

As I browse the catalogue, I see on page 16 that the Mint offers First Spouse Gold Coins. How nice that I have the option of buying a one-half troy ounce coin struck in 24-karat gold with the image of Grace Coolidge or Florence Harding. At the bottom of the same page the Mint adds that because of the variability of pricing on the precious metals market I would need to call or visit the website for pricing. As precious as the G-Kids are to me, I think I will stick with the basic proof sets.

The sooner I order these sets, the sooner I can scratch these items off my Christmas Gift List. I still need to get some other things for them, though. Wonder what size socks they wear?