Mr. Ron Wise is an administrative assistant at the Division of
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Indiana University-Purdue
University Indianapolis. We found an article in a
newspaper about him and had more questions than the article
answered. Mr. Wise is a paper money collector and has over
10,000 bills in his collection. The article said that he began
collecting bills in 1980 when he was 24 years old. We wondered
if, like us, he was interested in coins when he was younger. We
also wondered if money collecting is a hobby that we will be
interested in when we get older.
After a search on the Internet, we were lucky enough to find
Mr. Wise’s email address so that we could ask him some questions
about his collection, how he stores it, and how he treats images
of money on his website (a problem we had).
We read that you started collecting
cash in 1980. Did you ever collect coins or, as a child were you
interested in collecting anything?
Answer: I started out collecting coins. One day when I was very
young (probably 10 or 11 years old), I received an Indian Head
penny in change. Up until that time, I hadn't really given any
thought to coins or that they might have differences from one
another. After that I started collecting pennies through 50 cent
pieces. When I joined the Army, traveling with a lot of coins
wasn't practical, so I disposed of my collection. While
stationed in Germany, I became interested in foreign paper
money. Because paper money is relatively light and compact, it
was much better suited to my mobile lifestyle.
Question: What steps did you
follow to actually start your collection? We could use some
advice for kids who are just starting with a limited amount of
cash to fund a collection.
Answer: Well, I started with what I could afford, which
wasn't much. I also visited local coin shops and coin shows and
looked in "junk" boxes for new items. Many times, coins and
banknotes can be acquired from friends and family who have
traveled overseas. Many people when they come back from
vacations, just throw their acquired coins or banknotes into an
box and forget about them. Many people will also be more than
happy to bring back coins and banknotes from their travels if
you ask them.
Question: Now that you have an
established collection, how do you store or display it?
Answer: For my coin collection, there are well established
companies that provide inexpensive albums. For banknotes, I
started out with three holder plastic pages. I have since
switched to individual plastic sleeves that I can store in
Rubbermaid clothes storage boxes (I can put a lot of sleeves in
the boxes, they are cheap and I can stack them). All plastic
pages/holders should be archive quality when storing coins or
banknotes (PVC free). PVC's will eventually release an oily
residue that turns coins green and makes banknotes look like
they were actually soaked in oil.
Question: We ran into a notice about
publishing pictures of bank notes that said that U.S. dollars
can be displayed online in black and white. We ran into the same
problem with English dollars. On your website, we noticed that
you specify that any digital photos of money need to be dollars
that you personally own. Is that all you need to do to put them
online? This is just curiosity because when we found out the
rule, we deleted all of our pictures of paper money thinking it
was more trouble than it was worth.
Answer: The rule of thumb is that the images must be
greater than 150% of actual size or 75% of actual size. One side
only and preferably in b&w. Now that is for PRINTED materials. I
had two secret service agents visit me when I was displaying
U.S. currency. They informed me that because the images were
digital and could be resized and/or colorized, I must remove ALL
modern U.S. currency images from my website. Several foreign
countries have contacted me (Canada, England, Turkey, European
Union, etc.) and stated that they are the copyright holders of
their banknotes and do not authorize any reproduction for the
internet. My rule of thumb has always been, I just post them
until I am requested to remove them. 90% of the countries do not
seem to care, as long as the images aren't of extremely high