Heritage Auctions Awards Annual $10,000 Prize to Georgia Collector

Atlanta man fell in love with coins thanks to his father, now shares hobby with wife and children

Ed Hays
Ed Hays

Continuing what has become an annual tradition for more than two decades, Heritage Auctions has awarded a $10,000 auction credit to Ed Hays through a drawing among collectors who took part in the firm’s annual numismatic survey.

Hays can spend his credit either on inventory or on bids in future auctions.

The Georgia resident thanks his father for helping to develop his interest in collecting.

“I started as a kid — it was something my father and I did together,” Hays said. “Some of the earliest things I have are not particularly valuable, but they’re some of the most precious to me because I got them when I was collecting with him. There are some Mercury dimes, graded VG — they’re not perfect specimens, but I will never part with them.”

His start in collecting, Hays said, started before he lived in the United States.

“I grew up in Panama, so I started collecting U.S. and Panamanian coins,” he said. “At that point, you could still buy silver coins. People would horde them, and you could get them for 20-30 percent over face. I would go through bags and rolls of coins, and was able to find most of the Washingtons and Mercuries.”

Just as he learned about collecting numismatics from his father, Hays said he enjoys the fact that collecting has become something of a family affair.

“My kids are both involved in numismatics — if I find something, I’ll get their opinions,” Hays said. “My wife collects, too. We lived in Japan for a number of years. The Japanese have something called a ‘kokeshi doll’ — they’re carved wood dolls, really beautiful art — and she has one of the largest collections in the United States.

Hays said he got out of collecting, only to resume years later, and said he does not know specifically what he will pursue with his auction credit. His collecting taste, he said, has evolved to include more emphasis on the visual aesthetic of various coins.

“As I have gotten back into it, my tastes have changed,” he said. “I have really migrated toward coins with very pretty toning. My favorite coins — I have to go by century here — would be, for the 19th century, the Draped Bust, and for the 20th century, I really like the Standing Liberty in Mint state.

“I have been fortunate enough to travel a lot in my career, so maybe I’ll start a collection of coins from countries I have been to. Some countries are tougher than others, because for some of them, you can’t find any graded coins. Some countries have coins of no real value, but if I visited there, they interest me.”