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Case 5: Detecting Who's Collecting

Can you spy the real collector?

The three kids below all claim to be expert collectors, each with a "coin lab" at home.  Below they describe their labs and list the most-important tools in their collections.

Who's really equipped to be a collector?  And which two kids are just good imposters?  When you've decided, click "Is this collector for real?"

"Look no further—it's me!  My lab is the safest.  It's in my tree house.  That way my little brother and his friends can't get their sticky fingers all over my coins.  Plus the tree house gets lots of bright afternoon sun, which floods in through the windows.  The sunlight makes it easy to measure coins with my sturdy metal ruler.

My coins are all sorted and stored individually in soft plastic flips.  This makes it easy for me to take the coins out to show to other collectors—or just to add up.  My parents let me borrow their laptop computer, which has a spreadsheet program.  I use it to list the coins I have for each denomination and calculate the total value of my collection."

"Don't let them fool you—I'm the collector!  My lab's in the corner of my bedroom, right where I can keep a good eye on my coins at all times.  (I need to watch so that my parents don't try to spend them!)  I store my tools on a wooden bookshelf, next to my coin-collecting guides and magazines.  There, I can easily find what I need.

When I want to look at one of my coins, the first thing I do is carefully take it out of its tiny paper envelope and set it on a padded tray.  I move the tray over to my desk and turn on the halogen lamp.  This bright light—and my magnifying glass—make it easy to see all the tiny engraving details.  When I want to measure my coins, I use a plastic ruler just like the one I have at school."

"Hey, I'm the only one with scientific tools.  Plus I have the largest lab.  It fills up half my basement.  All my coins are sorted into glass jars.  Not only does this let me see how many nickels I have compared to dimes, but it also protects the coins—moisture beads form on the jars instead of on the coins.

To view a coin, I use my pair of metal pincers to lift it out of the jar and place it under my high-powered microscope.  The first thing I do when I get a coin is use my fingerprint kit to remove any dirt or oil.  Then I use my balance scale to weigh it."

Now you know lots about what coin collecting doesn't require.  But can you list the tools you do need?  Get a complete list!

[Next Mystery!]   [Get a A Clue About Collecting]

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