What Do You Collect? Why Coin Collecting is a Great Hobby…

Coin Collecting

There are many reasons people collect coins. For some folks it’s a family activity (especially for children and their parents or grandparents), some simply inherit a large collection of coins and thus become collectors by default, many people collect coins in hopes of turning a profit based on specific factors of the coin (like overall mintage, condition, featured design, historical relevance, etc.), while others have a tendency to hoard coins based on their metal content (also in hopes of turning a profit) – but perhaps the most common reason people collect coins is that they really enjoy it as a hobby.

So what is coin collecting exactly? Coin collecting can generally be defined as the act of assembling sets of coins based on a common attribute. Common attributes that coin collectors use to assemble their coin sets include: sets of coins from the same year; sets of certain types of coins (i.e. every year of quarters, or dimes, etc); sets of certain mint marks; sets of coins from certain countries; or sets of certain coin designs (coins featuring animals, for instance). Coin collections are almost always stored and displayed in collector’s albums, folders, frames, display cases, etc.

In contrast to building sets based on certain attributes, coin hoarding could be defined as accumulating large amounts of coins over time with no intention of building any kind of set. There could be several reasons that someone would choose to do this, but one common reason is the amount of precious metal (silver, copper, etc) in certain coins, which can make them worth more than their actual face value. Another practice is the hoarding of coins of a certain design that is no longer produced (such as wheat cents), but without organizing them into any kind of sets. Coin hoards are typically just stored in bulk in buckets, bins, jars, coin sacks, or something similar.

Hoarding coins in hopes of future profits aside, why do so many people get such enjoyment out of collecting coins? What makes coin collecting such a great hobby? The answers to those questions vary among collectors, but some of the most common reasons are:

- It’s easy to get started! The beginnings of a collection are as close as your own pocket or between your couch cushions. You can build your collection around any theme or type of coin you want, so your pocket change is a great place to start.

- It’s exciting! Finding a coin you have been looking for in your pocket change, or at an auction, or for a great price at your local coin shop or at an online dealer, can bring you a feeling of excitement.

- Creates a sense of accomplishment! Completing a collection that you have been working on helps you to know that you’ve really accomplished something, especially if that particular collection has taken a long time to build.

- Anybody can do it! You don’t have to be a numismatics expert to collect coins. Just pick what you want to build your collection around (certain years, certain denominations, certain designs, etc.) and get started. You will learn more and more the longer that you collect.

- It’s inexpensive! If you start by just setting your pocket change aside, your only cost is the face value of what you set aside. As with any kind of collection (like fine art, comic books, sports cards, etc.), the prices of coins you seek out to buy are going to depend on factors like supply and demand, with some of the rarest specimens going for millions of dollars at auctions. But there are definitely plenty of lower cost options available to support your growing hobby.

- You learn fun facts! In addition to learning a lot about the coins themselves, you will find yourself learning a lot of interesting history as you research the coins in your collection.

- They last forever! Coins are very durable – and although they may not actually last forever, it sure seems like it. There are still coins around from the earliest centuries of recorded human history.

- Potential value! Even if the hope of a future profit isn’t your main motivation, it’s always something to keep in mind while you are enjoying your collection. It certainly makes collecting coins more intriguing than, say, collecting old tube socks.

So as you can see, there are many reasons that make coin collecting a great hobby. But perhaps the best reason of all is…it’s a lot of fun! If you don’t already collect coins, there’s no better time to start than now. With new collectible series being released all the time by the U.S. and other worldwide mints, combined with the vast history of coins, you’ll never run out of ideas to build your collections around. Why not start today?