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Is Coin Collecting a Dying Hobby?

Do people still collect coins?

You have probably never heard people on the bus, or a National Television Show talking about coin collecting. Perhaps you have one friend or an older family member who collects coins. You may wonder, “Is coin collecting a dying hobby?”

To judge the popularity of coin collecting, we will look at trends in Google Search History. This tells us roughly how the number of people searching “coin collecting” is changing.

Looking at Google Search Interest from 2004 to 2020, it does look as if coin collecting is becoming less popular.

A clear downward trend in searches for “coin collecting”.

We can compare more than one search on Google. Let’s see what happens if we compare “coin collecting”, “valuable coins”, and “rare coins”.

Comparing searches for coin collecting to rare coins and valuable coins.

Searches for “coin collecting” are in blue, “valuable coins” in red, and “rare coins” in yellow.

Coin collecting has a clear downward trend. Rare coin searches are also falling, but not as steeply as coin collecting. On the other hand, searches for valuable coins has stayed the same.

What this all means

Coin collectors are increasingly becoming more focused on coins as a store of value or as a way to make money than for their historical significance.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, lots of coins are a great store of value due to their precious metal content. Collectors may become interested first for the metal and then become more interested in history as they get more involved in collecting coins.

It does mean that the market for coins is changing. Coin collectors may prefer to buy a Mercury dime for the silver instead of a Buffalo Nickel for the history.

The Upside

Coin collecting is not considered the “Hobby of Kings” for nothing. Although 2004 to 2020 may seem like a long time, coin collecting has been around since the Renaissance Era in the 14th Century.

All activities have long-term trends where they may become more or less popular. Perhaps tomorrow Billie Eilish will come out with a new song about how much she loves Standing Liberty Quarters and a whole new generation of coin collectors will be born!

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On a Personal Note

I’m 23 years old, at this age, none of my friends are interested in coins. Sometimes, when I mention I collect coins a friend will tell me that one of their parents collects coins as well.

Recently, my 13 year old cousin has begun collecting coins. I am so excited for her, as it shows a great depth of interest in history and economics. I definitely plan on sharing my collection with her.

Even more exciting, is that my grandfather, who is 81 years old and an avid coin collector, now has two grandchildren interested in coin collecting. Whenever I see him he now asks me how my coin collection is coming and offers to share information with me.

More exciting yet again, my grandfather inherited and learned much of what he knows about coins from his father! So, because my great-grandfather collected coins, he created another 3 generations of coin collectors!

Coin collecting probably won’t be the hip trend of 2021, but the hobby is not going to disappear completely. If you are worried about coin collecting losing popularity the best thing you can do is get others interested, especially young people!


If you are interested in collecting coins, check out: 4 Essential Items to Store and Handle Coins Properly!

If you have a friend or family member who collects coins check out my top 10 gifts for coin collectors!

Share your thoughts in the comments and vote in our poll!

2 thoughts on “Is Coin Collecting a Dying Hobby?

  1. I have collected coins for over half a century. It was my passion when I was very young up to and including my college years. Now, the Chinese counterfeiting has been and is a major issue to the viability of serious numismatic collecting. For example, I purchased a 1909-S Indian Head penny about 10 years ago, only to find out later on it was a fake. I could not tell it was a phony with my many years of experience. I had to take it to three professional graders to find out, and two of them had difficulty for at least 30 minutes of inspection. The number of fake coins floating out there is amazing. Who can be sure what you are getting anymore if the grading services struggle with it? If 484 thousand 1909-S VDB Lincoln pennies were minted, but NOW the counterfeiters create an extra 5,000 ~ MS-64 mint coins of that key date over the last 15 years, then, “Houston, (unfortunately) we have a problem.” Young folks collecting coins out of pocket change is still viable, but I believe the more serious collector better have a professional grader scrutinize everything they desire to procure nowadays. Wish it were different. I have loved the historicity and pleasure of collecting American coins my entire life.

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