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Numismatic Miscellanea and the Obsessive Collector

By Ben Orooji, Numismatist & Cataloger

Author: Ben Orooji / Thursday, April 14, 2016 / Categories: Exonumia Corner

For those of us fortunate enough to have delved deeply into this wonderful hobby, the discovery of an unusual coin-related item often comes as an exciting deviation from the "norm." For those of us obsessed enough to actually seek these items out – new pieces are tightly held treasures. Such is the case with the item I present here, the classification of which would certainly vex even the most organized among us. I present it simply as a piece of numismatic miscellanea.

The story of this record begins in 1975 in Bellevue, Washington when artist Wayne Eberhart, employed by Sammamish High School, invited his friend and fellow musician Rocky Nelson into a small practice room in the band room for an impromptu recording session.  With Eberhart on the piano and Nelson on the guitar, they jammed out two instrumental pieces. Eberhart recounts:

I just said I am starting out in the key of C and doing 12 bar blues. With stereo mics set up, about 5 feet apart, me at the upright piano and Rocky Nelson, in a folding metal chair, I started the tape machine and started playing. What you get on the single is the very first two things we did. Nothing edited whatsoever. We only got 2 things of any length and I was happy because I knew I had a single.

Two years later Wayne would have the unedited recordings pressed on 45 rpm records on the Riverbend label. He titled one song "Wayne's Mood" and the other, the subject of our interest, "Our Love is Rarer than a 1909-S V.D.B. Lincoln Cent." He dedicated it to the object of his desire, his wife, with whom he shared the love of numismatics. It is this moment that captures my interest. Firstly, the dedication to his wife is, of course, sweet. Many of us have done the same, that is, dedicated our efforts to the ones we love. But the naming of the song reflects passion for numismatics, maybe even a bit of obsession. I can completely relate to this type of obsession, as it is the same drive that causes me to have coins custom printed on my wallet, to hang numismatic artwork in my home and to cover the walls of my office with all sorts of numismatic odds and ends. I just can't ever get enough! Perhaps Mr. Eberhart felt a bit of the same in the naming of his song.
As fate would have it, Wayne and his wife would be divorced in later years and he would go on to retitle the song "My 1909-S V.D.B. Lincoln Cent is Rarer than our Love." I am told this version had an extremely limited press run of 200 pieces, with half of the copies destroyed in a house fire. The song remained the same with no edits. I have yet to locate a copy of that record. In 1990, Wayne re-released the record with the original title, this time dubbed a "SPECIAL 15th Anniversary Issue" on his own private label Whatever Wreck-ards.

Luckily for the readers of this blog, you don't need to find a copy of this esoteric record to listen to Wayne and Rocky's jam session. The artist has kindly agreed to allow the author to post a link to the mp3 file here. One listen and you're transported straight back to 1975. Maybe you can even hear the joy, the raw energy and the passion of the moment. A guy in love with numismatics and his wife caught up in the moment and just jamming away – what could be better?
Would you like to have a copy of this record? One lucky reader will be selected at random to receive an autographed 15th anniversary copy absolutely free. Reply to me at borooji@stacksbowers.com with a picture of your most unique coin-related item to be entered. The more esoteric the better!