The start up guide to coin collecting
Coin collecting or as it’s known Numismatics.
The word numismatics comes from the adjective numismatic which means “of coins”. It all stems from the Greek word nomisma which means “current coin”.
Numismatics actually refers to the study or collection of not only coins, but also tokens, paper money and related objects.
When it comes to coins there are two types of value systems.
Numismatic value and credit value. These are two very different things. When someone talks about credit value, they mean the standardized value of the denomination. For example a pound is a worth a pound, it is it’s worth at face value and that value is upheld by law. Numismatic value is used to refer to the value in excess of the denomination or the face value, it is its collectors value.
Why do people collect coins?
Coin collecting has been around for decades, history shows us examples of collectors being active in eras that predate the Roman Empire.
Now for some the activity of collecting coins may seem like a relic of bygone years, perhaps something your Grandad used to do, you could view the practice as an antiquated hobby.
I can see how people could view coin collecting in this light, but I would have to disagree.
For many coin collecting has great appeal and that appeal doesn’t appear to be dying out, in fact coin collecting is on the rise and with good reason.
You may even surprise yourself, if you are new to collecting, when you discover the interest and passion that surrounds coin collecting.
Remember it can be a great deal of fun, but also remember to budget!
“Pennies make pounds” as the saying goes. Collecting coins can definitely make you money. Looking at coins as an investment is something that many people do. Many coins carry a commodity value, for instance bullion coins. Throughout history coins have been made of varying materials, certain coins are comprised of bronze, copper, gold, platinum or silver and as a result they have a precious metal value. These types of coin are often kept as an investment (especially in our unstable economy!). Yet more often than not it is not the commodity value which will see a coin sell for more, it is its rarity. Rare coins and beautiful coins are highly sought after and many a collector will pay above and beyond for what they consider to be something special. Factors that are considered when it comes to beauty are, the design and artwork, the lustre, the toning, the perfection and the category of coin to name but a few.
Many a coin collector collects with a certain niche in mind. Be it coins of an era, coins from a specific set, error coins, coins of specific metal content, the lists go on. There is always a pursuit in mind. The challenge of collecting the whole set, or to find the perfect coin is a driving force for many individuals who collect coins, or it could be as a result of a specific historical interest or a love of the art and detailing. The niche interests are many and varied. Some collectors even go out with metal detectors in hand on the hunt for coins, consider the wonder of stumbling across an old Roman treasure trove or a coin that was dropped in years gone by!
Coins are beautiful things, they have a certain lustre about them due to the materials used in their manufacture. The nature of coins is to represent value and that value can be seen in a myriad of ways. If you’ve ever felt a fascination whilst holding a coin, observing its artwork, looking at the engravings and appreciating the finer details, then this is what I’m talking about!
Colour and tones and imagery and precious metals all come together in coins, from beautiful portraits of monarchs and rulers, to flags and iconography, emblems and writing, a coin conveys a great deal and there is much beauty to behold if you take the time to look.
History and knowledge
Coins have been around for a very long time and have been used across the globe. As a result you can find out a great deal of information from looking at a coin. They are representative of the culture and eras that they came or come from. The imagery, inscriptions and information found upon a coin will open you up to a whole world of knowledge, relevant to a particular time in history, to a particular place and the people who lived therein. You can learn a lot about history, society, politics and culture just by looking at a coin.
Another great thing about coins is that they will only ever really increase in value in the long term. As objects get older they become more valuable as a rule. This is true even with our modern coins that we now produce, even though that may not hold a great deal of mineral wealth in comparison to older coins or bullion coins, if they are kept in good condition, the value will only increase over time as this is the trend that is prevalent in coin collecting and trading.
If you have children, it can also be a nice gift for the their future if you go to the bank and purchase new coins on the year they are born. If you continue this until they are old enough to either take up the interest themselves, they can carry it on, or if not they have an heirloom which they can cash in themselves.
Because it is fun, hobbies help focus your time on something that you can do purely for enjoyment. Stress relieving and engaging, hobbies are healthy ways of spending time focusing on something you find interesting that is just for you. The coin collecting community is growing and becoming a part of it is a great way of meeting new people. Collecting coins are a fantastic way to unwind and give you a certain sense of achievement that you don’t find in other pursuits.