Collecting Coins: The What, When, and Why of Coin Collecting
Coins date back to the 6th or 5th century BCE. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about this ancient form of payment, then collecting coins may be the perfect hobby for you.
Why is coin collection a thing? What makes coins so special? We’re here with a complete guide about the popular art of coin collecting and why it’s a centuries-old hobby.
A Brief History of Collecting Coins
Wondering how the practice of coin collecting first began? Here’s a quick overview of when people began collecting coins and how the hobby evolved over the years.
Coin collecting goes back to ancient times. Scholars and wealthy individuals would collect certain types of coins with special value or history. Some scholars say that Augustus Caesar collected coins.
At this time, it wasn’t a trendy “hobby” because most people needed to use their coins to survive. It wasn’t until years later that the general public would be able to put their money to a different use.
Coins With History
Coin collecting gained popularity in the 1800s when middle-class individuals were able to collect UK or US coins. Introductory books were widely available and the American Numismatic Society began their mission of preserving coins and medals.
Early Colonial coins and other currency connected to America’s Founding Fathers became popular goals for coin collectors researching the history of American coins. Some coin collectors focused on finding coins from the large cent series before it ended in 1857.
The Mint Mark
How did coin collectors track where their coins were made? In the early 1900s, collectors focused on each coin’s mint mark to know where their coins had been produced.
If you take a look at a US coin in your wallet, you’ll be able to spot a tiny letter on the front. Most of your coins will probably say either “D” or “P” for the Denver and Philadelphia facilities, respectfully.
The Birth of the Board
If you’re slightly familiar with coin collecting, you’ll probably recognize the sight of a coin board or folder. This type of board came out in the 1930s and helped the coin collecting hobby take off into wider circles. They often fold in half or thirds and have cutouts that hold individual coins.
Why was the coin board so popular? Because it made the art of coin collecting even more accessible to the public. Children were able to begin coin collections and often passed their collections down to the next generation.
From Old to New
In 1999, the US launched a new coin program called the “50 State Quarters Program.” This program honored each of the nation’s states, and each quarter was only produced for ten weeks.
Although these coins were new, it became wildly popular to collect all fifty coins from the collection. With the launch of this program, coin collecting officially became a hobby for the old and the new.
Reasons to Collect Coins
Coin collecting is a hobby that dates back to ancient times and has survived even into today’s modern world. Here are some of the top reasons why coins are collected.
One of the plus sides to collecting coins is how easy it is for anyone to begin. It’s easy to start rifling through the coins in your purse or change jar to see which you want to keep. It’s also a fun activity for both adults and children.
2. The Challenge
A fun aspect to old coins collecting is how difficult it can be to find the perfect one to add to your collection. Some coins minted in certain years can be difficult to come by.
This aspect of collecting coins is often a major appeal to beginner coin collectors. There is excitement in searching for a coin from a certain year, state, or country.
3. Make Money
Sometimes the biggest appeal to coin collectors is the monetary value of collecting…well, money. A board full of quarters may not seem exciting or valuable now, but in time those coins will increase in value.
4. The History and Beauty
If you enjoy history, coin collecting can be an exciting venture because of how far back coins go in history. As you research different coins, you’ll get to learn a lot about historical events and times. You can even enjoy the beauty of each coin and their intricate design.
Most people probably don’t put much thought into the loose change in their pockets, but coin collectors learn a lot about the production, history, and metal content of each coin. Many individuals decide to collect coins because it’s a great way to learn about history, culture, and politics.
6. The Metal Content
Some collectors decide to collect coins because of their valuable metal content. Gold and silver are often increasing in value, so it’s a fun way to collect types of valuable metal.
US coins minted before 1965 have a 90% silver content. This means they can be very valuable.
7. Meaning Behind the Coin
If you’ve ever been to a military ceremony, you may have seen a challenge coin being passed from unit commander to soldier. These types of coins hold a deeper meaning because they’re each designed to represent an organization, unit, or team.
For individuals with military history, collecting challenge coins can be a source of beauty and honor. You can learn more about the different types of challenge coins, what they signify, and how they’re used.
8. Something to Pass On
Besides coin collecting being both fun and challenging, some individuals do it because they want to have something to pass on to their children and grandchildren. In a world of mass-produced tech tools and products, coins are something that will last a long time down the road.
Start Your Coin Collection
The best part about a coin collection is that you can start one today. Collecting coins is both fun and challenging, and will teach you about your nation’s history and culture.
Want to learn about the role coins play in our future? Read our guide on buying Bitcoins.
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