What kind of a coin collector are you?
My fiance got me into this business when he started searching through coin rolls from the bank. Believe it or not we actually found a few coins of worth. A few we saved for sentimental purposes, but the rest we sold on Ebay. As you can imagine this only encouraged us to get into it even more. We began selling and in the process each developed our own taste in what we liked to collect. Being a coin dealer, it is very fun to come across different types of coins. I enjoy the history and novelty of some coins. My favorite coins to collect are love tokens and Civil War tokens. I even had a custom necklace made on Etsy using love tokens with my fiance’s and my initials.
There are a lot of different reasons for collecting. Some people do it for fun, some do it as a long-term investment, others collect to pass it on to their children/grandchildren, some do it to flip and make money, and some collect because they simply enjoy hoarding different things. Just as there are several different reasons for collecting there are many different ways to collect coins.
Here are a few:
- Find coins by chance (in circulation) or search through bulk coins
- Trade or buy coins at coin shows, dealers, swap meets, online, etc.
- Find and collect a few examples of a broad variety of coins
- Look for coins that are specific -- certain countries, historic period, errors, exonumia (currency, tokens, challenge coins)
- Seek out and find an example of every type of coin in a certain category
Which category do you fit into? Maybe you even fit into a few or have gradually changed from one to another. Another important part of coin collecting is the coin’s condition and value. This can vary widely from collector to collector. I’ve met a wide variety of collectors. Some of them are looking for a coin that has a lot of history. To them it is not very important what grade the coin is, in fact it detracts from the history the coin has had. People in this category might enjoy their collections because it makes them wonder “who held this coin?,” “how far has this coin travelled?,” “if this coin could tell a story what would it say?” One of these types of collectors I met had no interest in a rare Proof Three Cent Nickel. To him it had little to no value. He would much rather have a worn Peace Dollar because of the history it told.
This brings me to my next type of collector. This one is interested in coins that are the highest grade. (They may settle for some coins in their collection to be circulated and even well worn if the coin is out of their price range because of its rarity.) In general though this collector wants to have the highest quality examples of the type of collection they are working on. I can’t imagine a more beautiful collection than one of every Indian Head cent in red uncirculated condition! That is something that I would love to collect in the future.
Another type of collector will focus more on the rarity of the coin and/or the mintage. The grade may play a factor too, but they are mostly concerned with collecting coins that are rare. (In some cases the rarity may be that not many examples of such a high grade exist.) The rarity could be because it is one of the lowest minted years. It could also be because it is an uncommon error. The exciting part about collecting in this way is that not many of these coins exist and it’s amazing to think you have something not many other coin collectors have!
The last type of collector I’ve seen is one that collects graded collections. This is more of a recent way of collecting as coin grading services first started in the 1980s. These types of collectors like most or all of their collection to be graded and held in slabs (coin holders). They like to know that their coin is authentic and also that it hasn’t been cleaned or altered. The most popular companies to get your coins graded at are PCGS, NGC, ANACS, and ICG. These are the largest grading companies and considered the most reliable in the order that I listed.
So what kind of coin collector are you? Do you collect for yourself or are you collecting for a child/grandchild? Are you new to collecting or have you been doing this for years? Are you collecting as an investment for the years to come or are you collecting planning to flip in the near future? Are you collecting for history or do you collect based on aesthetics? No matter what kind of coin collector you are, the exciting thing is that there are so many options. You can go in whatever direction you want in this hobby and change at any point you want.
I would love to hear any interesting coin stories you have to share. Comment on this post or e-mail me if you have a coin story you would like to share or if you’d just like to share with us what kind of a coin collector you are. If you’re interested we’d love to share your stories with others on our blog and in our newsletter. It’s always fun to talk to fellow coin enthusiasts. We can learn a lot from each other.
Until next time,