For the uninformed, coin collecting may seem like a boring hobby. After all, most people touch dozens of coins a day and have never become interested in coins. If you dig a little deeper, you will find that there is much to love about the hobby.
Since coins have been around, they have been stored for their bullion value which is the value of gold, silver, and other precious metals. It wasn’t until the 14th Century that coins began being stored for their artistic and historical value as well.
During the Renaissance Era, kings, queens, and nobility began collecting coins as a sign of wealth. The Italian scholar Petrarch is the most notable and knowledgeable coin collector of the time.
Possibly because only nobility could afford to purchase and store coins for long amounts of time, coin collecting became known as “The Hobby of Kings”. As always, it was not long before the middle class began emulating this behavior and started collecting coins.
Coin collecting prevails to this day; a great hobby for the young and old. Keep reading to discover what makes coin collecting a fun and enjoyable hobby for millions of people around the world.
What Draws People to Coin Collecting Today?
I have friends ask me all the time what makes me so addicted to coins. There are many reasons I love coin collecting, it’s a hobby that is always evolving while still maintaining a sense of history and traditionalism.
Below is my list of the best parts about coin collecting. All these are aspects which drew me into the hobby and keep me interested in it. I think most numismatists will agree that this hobby has many facets and there are always new coins to enjoy and discover.
Coins are rich with history. Each coin is a product of the year, political climate, and social trends of the time. People who study coins are called numismatists. The study of coins can tell us a lot about a time period.
By the metal composition, we can know the resources in a surrounding area. This could also inform us of trade routes and the wealth of the country producing them.
By the art, we can get a sense of what was important to people of the time and what traits the government wanted its citizens to value. We also see what political figures were honored.
Even the condition of coins can tell us about the economy during a certain time period. The more worn down a coin is, the more it was used in circulation. Using this analysis, a scholar can figure out what denomination was used most at a certain time. This could help track inflation in history.
Coin collectors have their own economy to price coins. Coin prices change every year depending on trends in the hobby. Coins can be bought and sold for thousands of dollars.
A buyer can speculate on the price of coins, buying a coin with the plan to sell it at a later date at a higher value, or a buyer can look for discounted coins with the goal of immediately flipping the coin for a profit. Many people have made businesses on the buying and selling of coins.
That is not to say that becoming a coin dealer is easy. It takes years of learning to develop a good eye for well-priced coins. Most dealers start as collectors, who after enough years amass enough knowledge to begin successfully selling.
Coin collecting is it’s own community; whether online or in-person, coin collecting has brought generations of different people together.
There are hundreds of ways to meet like minded people who are interested in coins. Reddit, coin shops, coin forums, coin events, word of mouth, family members, all places are great for finding others who value coins.
The best part about the coin community is that we are bonded by a common interest. Within that, everyone has their own expertise. There is very little one-upmanship, most coin collectors are eager to share their knowledge for the sake of teaching another human being about coins.
Store of Value
Some collectors are less interested in the art of a coin, but the coin’s metal composition. Before 1964, many US coins were made for circulation with silver. Since then, silver has increased in value to make a silver quarter worth about $3!
If we look back even farther in US History, coins were minted in gold. In the early 1800’s, gold was worth about $18.93 per troy ounce. Today, the same amount of gold is worth about $1,866!
Some collectors keep coins as a hedge against inflation, or to protect themselves against a crash of the US dollar.
Most coin collectors are interested in the hobby as a life-long pursuit, buying a few coins a year and storing them. Eventually, the coins are passed on, usually through family members. Although some families choose to liquidate the collection, many treasure the coins as a memory of their family member.
It’s easy to get kids interested in coins by setting them up with a coin folder and a roll of coins to search though. I remember my grandfather giving me a State Quarter Folder when I was 9 years old that I still have today!
Promise of Treasures
I am always learning about new types of coins, errors, and varieties. The idea that I may have a coin already in my collection that could be worth hundreds is very exciting. Perhaps, if you took the time to look through even the change in your car you could find something valuable.
One of my favorite pursuits in coin collecting is the activity of coin roll hunting. This is where you get rolls of coins from the bank and search them for treasures. It is a cheap and easy way to find new coins for my collection. (Click Here to Learn More About Coin Roll Hunting.)
If you are looking to start coin collecting, I would recommend getting the proper supplies. This article on the Essential Items to Handle and Store Coins should help.
I would also recommend a new collector purchase a Red Coin Collectors Guidebook. You can read more about why I recommend this book by clicking here.
Anything I missed? Add a comment below and share what makes you love coin collecting!