Coin collecting is a common hobby enjoyed by people worldwide. It involves creating a collection of coins according to various criteria. This can include collecting coins from a certain region, time period, subject, value, or type. From the 1600s to 1700s, coin collecting was primarily a hobby enjoyed among the richer classes. Over the next few centuries, its popularity was extended to much wider circles. Today just about anybody can start collecting coins! (Remember, though, only qualified coins are eligible for retirement investing.) The Origins of Money If we were to go back to the beginning of civilized societies, we would see that money as we know it today did not exist. Instead, people used bartering as a form of payment and trade. Since this practice was not always precise or convenient, small tokens like shells came into use to represent the value of a larger amount of goods, such as cattle or sacks of grain. Later, around 1000 B.C., small metal tokens were created since they were more durable and valuable than shells. These metal tokens varied in size, shape, and material. It is a testament to our ancestors’ aptitude for creating a practical and useful form of currency that is still used today!
American Coins The easiest way to start collecting U.S. coins is to draft a table listing all of the different coins that were minted each year. Most coin collectors begin their collections with common modern day coins that are easily found. The U.S. Mint has various sets of coins available for collectors, including annual coin sets, proof sets, uncirculated coins, and more. Very old coins usually need to be obtained from other collectors.
Foreign Currency Coins Foreign coins can be a little trickier to collect. Many of them have words or phrases printed in different languages, while some coins from different countries may look alike. There are several online databases that list identifying images and words to help coin collectors identify the coin’s country and year of issue. Collecting foreign coins is even more difficult (but fun nonetheless!) when it comes to ancient coins that date back several centuries ago. A good way to get help with these types of coins is to talk to experts or veteran coin collectors in clubs, forums, or associations.
A Beginner’s Guide to Coin Collecting Although coin collecting is an exciting prospect, it can also seem overwhelming for beginners. The key is to be organized from the very beginning. Create a written or online table for the collection and fill it in as coins are collected. Always maintain a log of when and where a coin was acquired. Coin collectors also need to take precautions to handle and store coins carefully. Use gloves to handle them, and place each coin in its own plastic holder.
Coin Collecting for Kids Coin collecting is so versatile that it can even be enjoyed by kids! While many parents take it upon themselves to start and build a coin collection for their children, it is more exciting for the kids when they are involved themselves. Show them how to start collecting coins and encourage them to talk to grandparents or friends travelling abroad to obtain old or foreign coins. Supervise their efforts but let them be in charge of taking care of the collection. Below are some helpful resources for kids to learn about coins and how to collect them.
Additional Resources Coin collecting is far more than simply amassing coins. One of its most interesting aspects is in researching the history and values of the coins. In fact, most hobbyist coin collectors indulge in this practice for the sheer joy of it, rather than for the commercial value of the coins. To this end, it is indeed helpful to access resources that explain how to interpret a coin’s current value and history.