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7 Reasons to Collect Coins

By Matt Breed

Silver collectable coin.To many, coin collecting may seem like a boring and pointless hobby. The kind of thing that reminds you of your grandfather, who had an attic or basement full of miscellaneous hobby items that were off-limits. I can’t really blame you if you do take that view toward coins or collectors, but I respectfully disagree. I actually used to think like that, but over a period of roughly two years, I found many reasons to come to like and respect this dying labor of love. There is nothing wrong with collecting coins, and pursuing your hobbies in general, as long as you are passionate about it and have a hobby on a budget.

Make Money

Believe it or not, collecting coins can be fruitful. Not only do many coins gain value, but if you decide that collecting is not for you after trying it, you will likely get all of your investment back, a rare occurrence when it comes to most investments. Prices of some coins will fluctuate with metal prices. Fortunately, those metal prices (especially in a shaky economy like this), tend to rise regularly.

Rarity/Beauty

You may be looking for the most hard-to-find coins on the market. These will cost more, but the rarity of coins is often one of their best selling points. If you are lucky enough to stumble upon a hidden treasure, the rarity of certain coins could be enough to set you for life. In addition to the rarity attribute, beauty and design are also two very sought-after attributes in coin collecting. Some collectors classify beauty as luster and flawlessness, while others seek out coins for their layout or artwork. For example, my absolute favorite coin for design is the 1936 Commemorative Bay Bridge half dollar. I have always enjoyed the look of the bay bridge, and with the polar bear on the front, this is easily the best looking coin I have ever seen.

Challenge

Some collectors just appreciate the challenge of finding that “perfect” coin. With an unlimited budget, nearly any coin can be purchased. It is finding that coin at a steal that is the real challenge for collectors. In addition to the challenge of finding just the right coin, many collectors are modern-day treasure hunters. Just imagine walking the beach with your metal detector in hand, and stumbling upon a horde of coins worth thousands or even more. It is an extremely long shot, but still worth dreaming about.

Educational

You probably would not even realize it until fully immersed in collecting, but a lot can be learned from collecting coins. Studying coins and their backgrounds can lead to interesting discoveries and facts about history, politics, society, and culture. Take, for example, the recent issuance of the State quarters and Presidential dollar coin programs. There is plenty to be learned just from these two recent coin series.

Metal Content

Since gold and silver are ever-increasing in value due to limited worldwide supply, many collectors search for coins to add to their collection with only this consideration in mind. Much to the surprise of many, there are valuable coins that likely pass through your fingers quite regularly. Did you know that many American coins minted before 1965 had a 90% silver content? Not many people realize it, and even fewer are wise enough to hold on to these coins when they have the opportunity. As I write this, the silver value in pre-1965 quarters alone is nearly $4.00! Also, the heavier coins are worth even more, so be on the lookout for these so you can start your collection.

Pass on to Kids

If you want to really face reality, paper and coin money may not even exist when your young ones reach their own adulthood. With this in mind, many parents are happy to purchase brand new coins directly from the bank or mint in hopes of an increase in value that their children and future generations can benefit from. Do not think for a second that these coins will not increase in value over time. Even though we do not use as many precious metals to produce coins as we used to, condition of coins is also a big contributing factor to its value. It may not make them millionaires, but it could prove to be a worthwhile investment for your children for a relatively small initial investment.

Relaxation

My dad is a stamp collector. When I was younger, I did not understand the appeal. Not one iota. Now that I am older, I can appreciate “quiet time” more, and I get it. There is something so serene about rifling through your collection, taking inventory, or looking for one specific piece. Hobbies are very important both for stress relief and just to get away from everything and enter your own little world, if only temporarily.

Coin collectors have been around since before the Roman Empire, and do not look to be dying off in the near future. Whether you think it is an absolute bore, or a potential endeavor to undertake, you can not deny that these reasons are appealing. You may well have a completely different reason for beginning a collection. Whatever the case, give it a shot. It’s not like you have much to lose.

Have you ever collected coins or any other item? Do you do it for the money or for the joy of it?

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

Matt Breed
You are looking at Matthew Breed. He is a 30 year old sports nerd who lives in North Florida with his fiancee, Sarah. Originally in school for a Business degree that did not work out due to capricious youth and irresponsibility, he is currently "getting past" his Peter Pan syndrome and attends classes for a degree in Information Technology while working full time. His care for personal finance stems from a modest upbringing with fiscally responsible parents who highly value education and frown upon frivolity.

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  • Hawkeye

    Matthew, by chance do you have a vested interest in the hobby of coin collecting that you are trying to promote? Is your eyesight still good? The U.S. Mint has not produced ANY decent coins in over 50 years. As a coin collector in 1959, I was appalled when they destroyed the beauty of the reverse side of the Lincoln cent.The chance for redemption with the 1964 introduction of the Kennedy half dollar was blown with a design possessing scant relief detail.There was an extreme cutback in the engraver’s diemaking craft and today the the process incorporates practically no human input.The ultimate product glares of total cheapness. I’ve seen more beautiful bus tokens from yesteryear than the crap that the mint makes today! Why on earth today’s collectors don’t demand more.. much more, is a mystery, but all I can say is that it is a reflection of their complete lack of taste or their total inability to recognize a lack of quality when faced with it. All of today’s coinage has the inferior appearance of bygone aluminum Cracker Jack tokens and should not receive praise of any kind. The government is using this shameless promotion to get people to hoard valueless coins to help pay the bills.

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