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Coin Collecting: The Hobby of Kings

By Andrew Burgon /
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August 11, 2014

Coin Collecting Project Fellowship2
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Image by Classical Numismatic Group, Inc.

Coin Collecting: Coins are Miniature Works of Art that have Aesthetic Appeal and Historical Significance.

A few curious looking coins given to a child has no doubt started many a fascinating journey down the road of coin collecting. It’s a hobby that expands your appreciation of art and your knowledge of history, geography, politics, economies and religion. An interest in say ancient Roman coins could provide you with an intriguing glimpse into how the civilization began, expanded, became an empire and then declined. Let’s take a closer look at what people find so interesting about it.

Coin Collecting

Coin collecting is called the hobby of Kings. Emperor Augustus liked to give old coins to his friends. King Louis XIV of France was a keen collector. King Emmanuel III of Italy owned a huge collection of over 100,000 coins which he gave to Italy when he abdicated. The Egyptian King Farouk was a generalist collector who amassed a collection famous for its scope and variety.

Coins have a fascinating story to reveal concerning people, places and events. Ancient coins, for example, may depict who was in power at the time and indicate whether he was a warmonger or a peaceful ruler.

Some people no doubt get a buzz when they hold an ancient coin in their hand. It takes their imagination back in time. A thousand years ago someone else was holding this coin in a far away land. It could have at some point been in the hands of a nobleman or even a king.

The Rewards

I’m sure collectors would agree there are many rewards in this hobby. A rich and interesting stroll through history. The pride of ownership and personal accomplishment.

Learning how coins are valued is another interesting avenue of coin collecting. You’ll learn how the price is determined by supply and demand. That the number of those coins on the market and the degree of interest collectors have concerning them is also factored in. Other subjects like rarity, beauty, quality, condition, whether it’s made of a precious metal or not and sometimes the message on the coin all add value to it. This knowledge will not only help protect you from forgeries and coins of low quality but will also help you get a fair price for any coins you wish to sell.

Then there’s the joy of the hunt. It will no doubt start in many cases with your research of coins on-line and in books that will arouse your desire for certain coins. Your first stop in tracking them down may be to touch base with members of a numismatic association. Then it’s off to ebay to check with reputable dealers there, the local coin dealers and coin shows.

One thing that sets it apart from other hobbies is that the coins could be sold later recouping the money you spent on them and even making a profit.

The Multi-faceted Nature of Coin Collecting

Coin collectors often focus on specific kinds of collections. See if any of the following areas interest you.

* Country Collections: Collecting national coins from the birth of your nation to the present. Louis Eliasberg is thought to be the only collector who has assembled a complete set of known coins of the United States.

* Year Collections: This is where you collect the same kind of coin but with consecutive dates on them. For example, one Memorial Lincoln Cent for every year from 1959 when it was first minted to 2009 which is the last year it was minted.

* Subject Collections. You may find you’re interested in coins that depict eagles, ships, explorers or the head of a certain ruler.

* Regional Collections. Collecting coins from a region like South-East Asia.

* Composition Collections. You might find that the metallurgical composition of coins interests you. You might collect coins made from gold, silver, copper, platinum, steel or aluminum.

* Commemorative coins. Some people like to collect commemorative coins partly because they’re usually quite beautiful and they are tied to an event.

* Coins with errors. These errors may be related to dye, asymmetrical designs, double hits and re-punching.

* Period Collections. Collecting coins from a certain period of time. Perhaps the 18th or 19th century, ancient or medieval coins. Some of the most popular ancient coins to be collected are Roman, Byzantine and Greek. A collector, for example, might try to amass coins depicting the 12 Caesars of Rome.

* Speculative Collections. Such people buy coins with the intention of making money. They might believe that there will be a spike in demand for certain coins so they buy coins in large lots and sell at a profit within weeks or months.

The Social Side of Coin collecting

Join a numismatic association. Not only can they get you on the fast track of your hobby but members meet up regularly. Young collectors will benefit by meeting up with veteran collectors who have a wealth of knowledge on the subject to share. There may be opportunities to acquire coins from other members at lower prices than what you would find at the local coin shop. They also organize special events. The American Numismatic Association, for example, organizes an annual World Fair of Money.

Coin collecting is a slippery slope that has a great deal to offer. A wide variety of coins to select from. Glossy books filled with rich nuggets of information concerning the history, geography, politics, economies and religion that are tied to the coins you’re interested in. You might continue your education by finding out more about the culture, customs and landmarks of the coin’s origin and perhaps even visit there.
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