Explore the joy of collecting

HANAPEPE — Meet David Leopold, a retired registered nurse who has a love of learning and teaching. He is a self-described “infoholic,” which means he is addicted to information, and he is interested in any subject that ends in “ology,” which means “the study of.”

Leopold will be the special guest of Storybook Theatre Friday Nights from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday. He will present coins and stamps and discuss practical ways to get started collecting. Leopold will examine coins or stamps brought to the presentation and will give audience members advice on how to obtain valuations.

Leopold’s passion for coins began when he was a boy in Connecticut. As one of six children David was an industrious child, always looking for ways to make money. He took out the trash for an elderly neighbor who paid him with old Indian-head nickels and mercury dimes.

“She must have had a chest of them,” Leopold said. “I think this began my fascination with coins.”

After moving to California at the age of 10, he became interested in stamps as well. He read the poem “Soliloquy of a Postage Stamp” and was hooked. Leopold also had a huge collection of baseball cards, but they didn’t get moved from Connecticut. “I can’t imagine what the value of those old baseball cards would be today,” he reflected.

His interests branched into geology, in particular gemstones and precious metals, as well as astronomy.

“When I was 13, I purchased a mirror-grinding kit from Edmund Scientific Co., and ground and polished my own mirror, and built a small reflecting telescope,” he said. “It worked pretty well, but didn’t survive through my high school years.”

In 1988, Leopold and his family came to the island and he worked for over 15 years at Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital before retiring. He is active in the Monk Seal Conservation Hui and does humpback-whale counts. He also volunteers at the National Tropical Botanical Garden.

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