A Wife's Protest    (117)

Mr. Mehl:
Dear Sir:
No doubt you will be astonished to receive this letter from me, but I should like you to know that my husband is not a millionaire and really he cannot afford to invest so much money in old coins as he has been doing of late. I simply think he is crazy to buy so many coins. I call it throwing his money away and goodness knows he has to work hard enough for it. You may wonder why I should write to you instead of telling him what I think. I have talked to him until I am sick and tired of doing so and its no use my trying to reason with him so I am writing to you. He is simply throwing his money and has nothing, but a few old coins to show for it. I suppose you are not the only one selling coins in this country but you seem to be about the only one he buys any amount from. He receives other catalogues but just glances over them and throws them aside, but after one of yours comes he sits reading it evening after evening and marks it all over with figures of how much he intends to bid.

When he is not looking at your catalogues or paper he is pottering about his old coins brushing them up and putting into envelopes and packing them away in boxes, or putting them in little drawers he has in his cabinet. He is too busy to go out with me to make a visit or to go to a concert or the movies. In olden times when a man got married during the ceremony he said to the bride, "This gold and silver I thee give. With all my worldly goods I thee endow." But today he does not include his old coins in these gifts and endowments, he draws a line at them, and is as jealous of me seeing or touching them as our dog is of a bone he has buried in the back garden.

Things might not be so had if Dad would only handle me differently, the least he might do is to tell me a little about what he is doing and why. But I expect he thinks I would make a big kick if I knew how much his coins cost him, so he treats me as if I were not capable of understanding his old coins÷as if I were only a child.

He is a good man, kind and generous to a fault÷especially if it is his own, but he is too much wrapped up in the old coins. Why can't he collect old postage stamps, goodness knows there are much cheaper. My little son buys a whole thousand for a quarter and it takes him weeks to find out where to paste them in a book. But just because stamps are so cheap dad doesn't value them, he must have coins. I'd like to tell you what I think about that article in your January number. Any man who could make a joke about trading his wife off for a coin is no man, only an excuse for one. I don't think that Uncle George ever had a wife. If he had he would show more respect for womanhood than he did. You should not have printed such a thing. Perhaps you are surprised at my reading your paper but sometimes wives read them on the side just to see what it is that interests their men so much. Dad gets two papers all about coins, but yours is the only one he reads. He says the other is too highbrow for him and mostly full of reports of meetings that men go to just to see their name in print afterwards.

I am writing to you to ask you not to send dad any more coins for some time, but if you cannot do this only send him a few of what he asks for. I expect he would be fine and mad if he knew I had written to you.

The above is a letter to the editor of "Mehl's Numismatic Monthly," Volume 10, Number 3-4, March-April 1919, as resurrected in The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 44, October 29, 2006: an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. The E-Sylum generally reports on items of interst to numismaic researchers and authors, but as this selection suggests, is quite eclectic in its contents. For information on receiving the newsletter, check their site.