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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!

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Is Littleton Coin Company a Scam?

Should you buy from Littleton Coin Company?

If you have looked into buying coins online, then you have seen ads for Littleton Coin Company. They boast great deals on rare coins, but can this site be trusted?

Littleton coin company has been around since 1945. They sell individual coins, sets of coins, coin folders, paper money, ancient coins, world coins, and coin books.

I would not go so far as to call Littleton Coin Company a scam, but I would not recommend buying from them.

Littleton’s Prices

Littleton occasionally has very good deals, but most of the time they have outrageous prices. They advertise good deals on books and folders to draw you in to buy more expensive coins.

The “On Approval” Program

One of the shadiest business practices of Littleton Coin Company is the “on approval” program.

When you buy coins from Littleton, you make be shocked to receive more coins in your package than you bought. These coins are not free.

When you check out at Littleton you are agreeing to join the “on approval” program where they send you coins with the expectation that you will send coins back you don’t want and pay for the coins you keep.

On it’s own, on approval services are a great idea! It gives buyers the chance to sample coins and decide if they are of worthy quality. Littleton does not make it obvious that you are enrolling in their on-approval program when you check out.

My Experiences With Littleton

I purchased the U.S. Presidential Dollar folder from Littleton Coin Company, they had a promotion running where when you purchased the folder, they also sent you 7 uncirculated dollar coins for $7.

I was excited! The coin folder was cheap, and it came with coins to fill it.

I was disappointed when I received the package. The green Presidential Dollar folder was nice, but the coins seemed too dinged up to be uncirculated. No huge flaws, but smudging and small scratches. Oh well, the coins were practically free.

I noticed there was a white envelope in the box, initially I was excited, thinking that Littleton had sent me a free gift with my purchase. Instead, these were the Littleton On-Approval coins.

I was horrified, not realizing what I had signed up for. It felt like they were trying to strong-arm me into buying more coins for them.

The next day, I dropped the coins off in the mail to be sent back to Littleton. If the coins had been lost in the mail, I probably would have been on the hook to pay for them.

Better Places To Buy

Honestly, there are very, very few places more expensive than Littleton Coin Company. Even Amazon often has cheaper coins! Browse through Amazon’s collection here: Amazon Collectible Coins



I would recommend buying from a trusted coin dealer on eBay or even a gold/silver distributor like SD Bullion or Money Metals Exchange. By shopping at either of these sites by clicking a link from American Coin Stash, you also support this site! American Coin Stash is an affiliate advertiser of SD Bullion and Money Metals Exchange because I trust both of these companies.

Buy Gold and Silver

If you are looking for very specific coins, not in a lot and have a good eye for spotting genuine coins, eBay is a great resource! Just remember to know what you are looking for, it is easy to get addicted to eBay bidding. Plus, eBay is more likely to have fake products or mislabeled items. Sometimes the sellers don’t even know they may be mis-advertising a coin!

Final Thoughts

Calling Littleton Coin Company a scam makes it sound like they are doing something illegal. I have not seen any evidence that this company is doing anything illegal, but I do think the company could be more honest.

If Littleton made the opt-in for the On-Approval program more obvious and lowered some prices, I think it would make a great company. They have lots of inventory and name recognition.

If you are going to make a purchase from Littleton, be aware of what you may be signing up for.

Why Are Coin Prices So High on Etsy?

If you have ever searched a coin online, one of the first Google suggestions was likely a link to an Etsy Store for someone selling the coin for thousands of dollars.

You may have been excited and confused to see the price. Could this coin really be worth thousands? More, than likely, it’s not.

Etsy is an online shop where users can sell items they have made or sell used items. There is a great market for antique items on Etsy, but coins are generally way overpriced.

Here is a screenshot of a Google Search for a 1979 Susan B. Anthony dollar:

Why are Etsy coins so expensive?!?!

The coin listed is not worth $49,999.98. Even for someone who overpays for this coin, $10 would be a ridiculous price. Susan B. Anthony dollar coins are still widely available in good condition. I could go to my local bank and get 10 of these right now.

A 1979 SBA Dollar I got in change from a vending machine.

There are two prevailing theories for why these listings exists.

Theory 1: The sellers hope buyers don’t know any better.

Many coins are bought for ridiculous prices because buyers don’t know how to price coins correctly.

The idea that someone would spend almost 50 thousand dollars on a coin without doing any research is crazy. But, I suppose these Etsy sellers only need one gullible buyer to make an immense profit. Selling $1 for $50,000? Ka-Ching!

Just because a coin is old, or not often seen in circulation, does not give it inherent value. Always research the price of a coin before you buy.

Theory 2: Money laundering.

I am but a humble coin collector, not very up-to-date on organized crime, but I have heard the idea floating around that these sellers are part of drug money laundering schemes.

The way this would work is sellers list coins for high prices, pay someone to buy the coin, and then the money is returned. The money is now “clean” because it has been used for a valid transaction. (If you want to know more about money laundering watch Ozark on Netflix.)

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In some ways this makes a lot of sense, coin collecting is more art than science. Art has always been used for money laundering. Any item that has a highly speculative value can be used for these kinds of schemes.

I’m not sure if this theory holds up, however. Someone looking to launder money could do much smaller, less obvious values. Do people laundering money really worry about Etsy fees cutting into their profits?

Cheaper places to buy coins than on Etsy:

Honestly, there are very, very few places more expensive than Etsy. Even Amazon often has cheaper coins! Browse through Amazon’s collection here: Amazon Collectible Coins



I would recommend buying from a trusted coin dealer on eBay or even a gold/silver distributor like SD Bullion or Money Metals Exchange. By shopping at either of these sites by clicking a link from American Coin Stash, you also support this site! American Coin Stash is an affiliate advertiser of SD Bullion and Money Metals Exchange because I trust both of these companies.

Buy Gold and Silver

If you are looking for very specific coins, not in a lot and have a good eye for spotting genuine coins, eBay is a great resource! Just remember to know what you are looking for, it is easy to get addicted to eBay bidding. Plus, eBay is more likely to have fake products or mislabeled items. Sometimes the sellers don’t even know they may be mis-advertising a coin!



Add a comment below on which theory you think is more accurate, or share your own!