Collecting World Coins
Why collect World Coins? Their variety, beauty, scarcity, history and intrigue all beckon us to collect them. Coin collecting is one of the few hobbies where you can get tremendous satisfaction and enjoyment and actually get all your money back and even profit handsomely if you collect wisely.
One of the greatest things about World Coin collecting is that you can start off very modestly and not expend a great deal of money to get involved. In general, many U.S coins have gotten to be very expensive. The strong collector base and mature market for U.S. coins has led to some spectacular appreciation over the last several years and price levels remain elevated. Though some World Coins have appreciated nicely also, there are so many more niche opportunities to find value in the world coin market. Let’s face it, few people can collect everything there is out there and that leaves many collecting areas ripe for you to specialize and exploit. In the U.S. market, you have most everything a collector could target for his or her collection contained in a small single 400 page book known as the Red Book. That leads to severe competition among the throngs of U.S. collectors for a relatively limited target group of coins.
With all the U.S. collectors focusing on a group of coins contained in one 400 page book, it’s no wonder prices are so high. Conversely, the Standard Catalogue of World Coins comes in so many configurations and there are thousands and thousands of pages covering the World Coin Market. The market is therefore somewhat thinner for World Coins and except for the great well known classic rarities, the prices are still very reasonable to downright cheap in many areas. It would not be surprising to see World Collector Coins appreciate very nicely in many emerging and developing countries as their future growth and prosperity increases far faster than that of the more mature economies like those of the U.S. and other developed countries. If you do your research on rarity and combine that with focusing on areas where the future collector demand is sure to strongly increase, then you can have it all: the enjoyment of collecting along with spectacular financial rewards!
Putting aside appreciation considerations, there are just so many inexpensive but highly collectible world coins available. One of the best sources is the small local U.S. coin shop. Since most of these shops specialize in U.S. coins, there are often bargains to be found. One of my favorite shops has a giant bargain bin where most of the foreign coins are dumped and sold for 10 cents. Now, the dealer is not allowing any gold coins in there but occasionally, I find some very nice silver pieces and some relatively scarce early world coins. Once in a while, some really good coins end up in these bargain bins when the dealer is not knowledgeable enough to recognize the value of the coin. That’s where your superior education from studying the reference books should really pay off. Once you learn the basics and obtain some specialized knowledge, you will be surprised at how often you can pick up a coin for peanuts that could be worth several hundred dollars or more. Anyway, at a 10 cent bargain bin, how can you go wrong? So, check those local shops as there are exotic and exciting finds just waiting for you.
eBay is also a great place to pick up some great coins. Sure, there is more competition but things are always falling through the cracks. I can personally attest to often purchasing coins on eBay (and sometimes other auction venues) that sell way too cheaply. These bargain purchases can be added to the collection or if they don’t really fit in, they can be sold for a profit, providing more funds for your pursuit of coins more relevant to your collecting interest. World Coin collecting is great for kids too! My daughter has her own collection and as she acquires a coin, it inevitably leads to conversations about the country, where it’s located and maybe a little history. Then we go to the reference books to look it up. It’s a wonderful way to spark an interest in a child in the areas of geography, history, politics, and sociology. Many kid’s (and adult’s) eyes light up as they think about a newly acquired coin coming from an exotic far away land and making its journey across the years and into the palm of their hand.
What to Collect?
One of the first decisions to make when finally getting ready to build a nice collection is just what to collect. Many start out by acquiring their coins in a somewhat haphazard manor, whatever they see that they like, they pick it up and add it to the collection. This is actually a very worthwhile exercise in the early stages of world coin collecting. It allows the collector to experience a wide variety of coins and types and before you know it, there will be certain themes that tend to grab the collector’s attention and interest above all others. Often one of those themes of interest will evolve into an area of specialization for the collector. Most serious collectors will eventually find their beloved niche; the area in which they will focus their research, study and collecting efforts. The world coin collector will then pursue the goal of completing a collection in their area of specialization. For some areas, this might be attained in a relatively short period of time. For others, it may be so challenging as to turn out to be a life-time journey in the pursuit of completing the finest collection possible. Listed below are some collecting themes and ideas for the World Coin Collector. This list is by no means all inclusive as there are endless themes and niches that may attract one’s collecting interest.
Some Collecting Themes and Areas of Specialization
Collecting by Metal Content:
Large Copper Coins
Crowns (large Silver Dollar sized coins)
Collecting by Topic, also known as Topical Collecting
Flower Coins (can even narrow to a specific type of flower)
Animal Coins (can pursue all the coins that may have a fish or bird on them)
Landscape Coins (coins where scenery is the focal point)
Architectural Coins (coins with famous and not so famous buildings)
Aviation and Space related coins
Nautical themed coins (ships, boats, sea life etc.)
Olympic or Sports related Coins
Religious themed coins
Collecting a Specific Country of Interest
Collecting by Date and Mint
Collecting by Type
Colonial coins issued by the mother country
Collecting by Age or Period in History
Ancient Coins (Greek, Roman, Chinese etc.)
Coins of a specific King or Emperor
War Related Coins
NCLT coins (non circulating legal tender issues)
As you can see, there are so many possibilities for a specialization. When considering the subsets and off-shoots of these areas, the choices are just about endless. So, get on out there and start collecting and find your niche; pursue your specialization and you will be rewarded with a lifetime of collecting enjoyment and an incredible sense of accomplishment as you build your world-class collection. And remember, if you are collecting with an eye toward future financial reward, as long as you’ve studied the reference books and analyzed your niche market before making most of your acquisitions, chances are that you will not only have tremendously enjoyed your collecting endeavors but you will also have achieved quite a financial windfall when all is said and done.