The Michigan State Numismatic Society

How I Started Collecting Coins

Featuring Larry Sekulich

How I Became A Coin Collector

by Patrick A. Heller

How I Started Collecting Coins by Dany Rothfeld

In this issue, we  feature a collector, Larry Sekulich, who is a member of  our MSNS Board of Directors.


Larry was born  in Grand Rapids, Michigan in  1945. When he was about ten  years old,  he began collecting coins. His uncle Mike was a WWII veteran, who was stationed in the Philippine Islands at one time during the war. The family was at his house one day, and he brought out some "really neat" coins and bank notes from the Philippine Islands. Surprisingly to Larry, Uncle Mike asked Larry's brother and Larry if they would like some of those coins. Young Larry said,  "Of course." Uncle Mike  then gave him several banknotes with the famous Philippine woman and  the volcano. What was especially interesting to Larry was the note with the overprinting of the Japanese government. "I thought those were just the most interesting things that I had seen in my entire life," says Larry.

He thinks that this event inspired him to start collecting coins.


Larry grew up  in Dearborn,  the automotive capital of the world, at least back  then. His  father, grandfather, and brother worked for Ford Motor Co. It seemed to Larry  like everybody did. His mentor was his Uncle Mike. Larry  recalls  several  times when Uncle Mike asked him if he would like to go to coin shows with him. At that time there was a coin show in Dearborn. He remembers going with him twice. Uncle Mike would advise him to be selective in his purchases, and not buy just anything that grabbed his attention.


Although he is a collector, on two occasions Larry set up a table at a coin show, just to see what it would be like to be sitting on the other side of the table. He has been exhibiting for approximately ten  years,  and  has  received  a  number  of  Michigan  State  Numismatic  Society  Show  and  ANA awards. He feels that winning a major award is a combination of approximately 90% hard work and effort and 10% timing and good luck. Larry won the ANA's Howland Wood Memorial Award for Best-in-Show Exhibit several  years ago for an  exhibit he put together.  "It's like winning the gold medal at the Olympics."


As a child, he  says  he was  able to pull out  of pocket change standing  Liberty quarters and walking Liberty half dollars. Even as a young child, they looked beautiful to him.


Larry was an art teacher with Garden City Public Schools for thirty-two years. Most teachers last thirty years. He retired and is now a working artist. He has taught adult classes in drawing, and has had much more time to spend creating numismatic exhibits and writing articles  for magazines. These days, his favorite area of collecting is still ancient coins of Syracuse and Sicily, but as an art teacher, it is hard for him to resist things that are beautiful. That means that he collects other older coins, too. Many modern coins are  very attractive to him,  as well. Larry  says that he  is  currently the only  coin collector in his family. His wife, Linda, assembled a nice collection of ancient and medieval Armenian coins. However, she sold the entire collection to help  finance her master's degree. Linda's two boys both collected and exhibited (at MSNS  shows) prior to going to college.  Linda's son Greg sold  his  collection to  help finance a senior High School trip to Australia.


When asked what his advice would be for young collectors, Larry says, "I would point out to them the tremendous opportunities to develop a reputation as a writer, an exhibitor, and at a young age, using numismatics as a means to an end. What I mean is that if you are going to put together, say, a resume or

an application to a university, if they see on there that you've written an article for a magazine, or won some awards for numismatic presentations, or even given a talk, it will impress them. Not only the fun of collecting, but the idea of being organized, logical, using writing, exhibiting and speaking skills for a

young person is a tremendous opportunity to promote yourself, and use it as a stepping stone for another goal somewhere down the road."