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Start Collecting Coins (Part 1)

December 24, 2018 0 Comments

As one year turns into the next, and we all start thinking about doing something new for the New Year (such a better way to think about it than making resolutions), how about starting a coin collection? Over the next couple of weeks we’ll look at this thought, and cover the basics of why and how you can start in this fascinating pursuit. One great thing about coin collecting is how universal it can be, and how you don’t have to be rich to collect, although for a lucky few collecting has made them rich. For most collectors though, it is an interest, something to become as heavily – or lightly – involved as you choose. Something that grows with you, and also grows you.

It used to be that most people had a passion outside of their work – the word amateur means ‘someone who does something for love’, from the Latin amare, which means love. Today, for many, this has been replaced by video games and social media, which in the end can’t give the satisfaction of a real, complex pursuit. Coin collecting can be as simple or as complex as you want, and it can lead you in many directions, all of them satisfying to mind and spirit.

So why collect coins? For most collectors there are two reasons, and each one doesn’t have to exclude the other. First and foremost, collect coins because it is fun. There is something about these beautiful little art objects, which also serve a vital social function, that makes them intriguing. Just being able to pull out your collection, however small, and look at it closely, seeing more in each miniature world, and learning more, can be immensely satisfying, relaxing and fulfilling. Whatever turns you on, right? Coins will have you delving into history books, learning about important events, important people, the natural world, different cultures and different times. You will grow as an individual, and have a better appreciation of who we are, and how we got here.

Secondly, coins are an investment. Collectible coins have a value to other collectors, which tends to increase over time, so any collection becomes more valuable. Individual coins can also be come less sought after, so like any investment it can go both ways, but a varied collection, with an eye to value, will usually appreciate in collection value, exceeding inflation and many other investment vehicles. If you collect coins in precious metals, then those too tend to increase in value, although if you look at the price of gold over the last hundred years, you can see a pretty bumpy ride, with big highs and big lows. Realizing profit from melt value – the value of the metal in a coin, not the value stamped on it – depends a lot on when you buy or sell, and that in the end is a personal judgement call.

If you buy coins only for their value you are as vulnerable to loss as with any other investment, so collect for pleasure, with an eye to profit too, not the other way around.

Once you have decided to embark on coin collecting, after whatever thought or experience made you do so, there are some basics to understand. Next week we will look at some of those things.

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