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You paid how much for $3.01?!? - Curt Yeomans

I have a problem with someone paying $10.7 million for 301 pennies -- even if two of those pennies were minted in 1793 and 1794.

Then again, maybe there's a reason why the "Lady Liberty" on the 1793 coin "looked frightened," according to the Associated Press. She probably couldn't believe someone was paying millions of dollars for what amounted to $3.01.

I've never quite understood the obsession with rare coins.

People say "Oooooh, it's precious because it's old and rare."

So is a working Betamax machine. Who cares?

Of course, I once got a 1933 "Wheat" penny from a McDonald's drive-thru in Hattiesburg, Miss.

My response to obtaining a penny that was more than 60 years old?

I tried to get into the "Let's save it because it's rare" thing. I ended up putting it under the seat in my car -where the dried-up French fries fall - to keep it separated from other pennies.

I say "car," by the way, because this was during the B.P.O.J.T. era - "Before Piece Of Junk Truck."

Needless to say, I eventually lost the rare penny after about a year.

Well, I also collect those state quarters. I even have a map to keep them in, but that's because it's cool to have a map with coins in it. I have no intention of ever auctioning off those coins, though.

Why?

Because that's not why I keep them. It's a piece of Americana that demonstrates how diverse the United States truly is.

You have the magnolia flower on the Mississippi quarter, and you have a rock on the back of the New Hampshire quarter. The North Dakota quarter features Mount Rushmore, while the Louisiana quarter has the Louisiana Purchase, a pelican and a trumpet on the back of it.

When I die, I'll probably have the map, containing all 50 state quarters, donated to the archives at my alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi.

The quarters will then be where they should be - in a place where everyone can observe them, rather than one private collector who keeps them hidden from the public.

I'm not going to sell it off for millions of dollars. If someone is going to keep something like that for many years, it should be with the goal of eventually sharing it with the world, not making a profit that far exceeds the original value.

The map will probably go to the archives with a roll of "Bush-Quayle '88" stickers that my family has had for 20 years.

I also have a Bill Clinton presidential inauguration pin that I purchased in April 1992, through a clearance sale from a street vendor in Washington D.C.

Yeah, I'm a sucker for political memorabilia.

At least I'm not hung up on rare coins from the 1700s, and the 1800s.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.