Gary Parsons holds a copper coin from the Civil War era and describes its history.

The coin show chairman points out the name printed on the coin — William H. Jones — and explains how rare it is to see coins from the Civil War-era sutler.

“There’s probably 10 or fewer known left,” Parsons said of the coin. “That’s one of them.”

Parsons said Jones was one of many sutlers, or civilian provisioners with shops at military posts, who hand-pressed coins of various metals during the era.

The history of military currency winds from sutler-made coins to Allied Military Currency — issued by Allied powers during World War II — to more elaborately designed military currency during the Vietnam War.

Coins from the Vietnam War era allowed military to purchase goods on bases and gain entrance to clubs.

Allied Military Currency bills had various denominations and some were signed by soldiers as keepsakes or to return home to their families.

Parsons, who served in the military and is retired, is the chairman of this week’s seventh annual Oklahoma’s Unique Coin Show at the Southeast Expo Center that will feature coins from eras including the Civil War, World Wars, and more.

He said coin collectors can buy, sell and trade collectables at the show and beginners can learn more about collecting coins.

Parsons said the show will include an introductory course for beginners to coin collecting from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday.

“It’s kind of fun, they get to see some old coins, some coins that were first used in the world by ancients and up to probably the 1800s in this country,” Parsons said.

He said beginners can learn about grading a buffalo nickel — which they can keep — in addition to how to join coin collecting clubs and “do’s and don’ts” of attending coin shows.

Parsons said he has collected coins most of his life and is an experienced coin dealer.

Advanced collectors will have the opportunity to learn more about identifying counterfeit coins during a seminar at the coin show on Saturday afternoon.

Parsons said 22 dealers from Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas will attend the event and hopes to have a great turnout at the event that ranges between 200 and 300 attendees.

For more information on the event contact Gary Parsons at 405-426-9044.

Contact Adrian O’Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com

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