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Different Coins, Different Collectors
By Ginger Rapsus, Numismatic News
October 14, 2013

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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There are collectors and there are investors. Hobbyists hear about these two distinct types of collectors. But there are many different types of collectors besides these two.

Some collectors started with the old-fashioned blue albums, and tried to fill every hole to complete a set. Even when these collectors gain more experience, and progress from saving Lincoln cents from change to perhaps a deluxe United States type set, or a full set of Coronet Head half eagles, these collectors want to finish that set. Even if they no longer house their collections in blue folders, they want to obtain every single date and mintmark of their favorite series.

Investors look at the investment possibilities when purchasing coins. What is their value now, and how much can these coins be worth in the future? What is the investment history of their coins? Never mind the history or the background of their coins. Whatever the market will bear now and in the future is most important to investors.

Most recently investors have been focusing on the great rarities and coins that grade at the top of the grading scale.

Building sets of coins can be a competition. Those pursuing registry sets look for the finest available, no matter the cost. Hefty prices have been paid for common coins in uncommon condition. Best known, finest known, perfect MS-70, these terms are all familiar to the competitive collector.

History buffs enjoy their coins for different reasons. That old, worn large cent could tell some stories, if it could only talk. What was going on in the United States at the time this cent was minted? What could this copper coin buy? Those who appreciate history may collect worn coins that went out and did the job they were created to do, and enjoy their collection as much as anyone. Maybe coins from when George Washington was President, or of the Civil War era, or Colonial times, appeal to these collectors.

Art aficionados may want to collect the most beautiful coins, or those by famous sculptors. The coins of Saint- Gaudens, Weinman and MacNeal appeal to these collectors. This kind of collector may want to include medals in their collections, perhaps medals by their favorite sculptors, medals with attractive designs, or medals with special motifs that remind them of their favorite artistic coin designs. Higher grades of favorite coins are desirable, to show every detail of the beautiful designs.

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Fans of precious metals are concerned with the intrinsic value of their coins. Gold bugs may want as many bullion pieces as their budgets will allow. There are also platinum pieces and one-ounce silver Eagles. Metal buffs may not stop at just the United States pieces. Bullion pieces of Canada, China, South Africa, Australia, and other countries will be part of these collections. Their values are easy to find – just check the daily prices of gold, silver and platinum.

It’s all in the details for certain collectors who desire the many varieties available in early Untied States series. The detail-oriented often possess a good eye and a head for research to learn how and why their varieties were created.

Large cent collectors pursue scarce Sheldon varieties, studying every possible purchase with a good magnifier. These collectors are not afraid to get into a dealer’s “junk box” in search of a rare variety that has gone unnoticed by people who are too busy or are not familiar with variety collecting. And if their special coin is well worn, and far from Mint State, that’s all right. The coin is special because of its genuine scarcity as a variety. And it’s not just large cents. Half cents, half dollars, silver dollars and other series have their share of varieties to collect, with good reference books available.

Collectors who enjoy many different types of coins may consider topical collecting. Any coin, large or small, expensive or cheap, silver or copper, can be included in a topical collection.

The topic can be flowers, animals, coats of arms, languages, maps, bimetallic, or anything the collector can think of. Many collectors of world coins go this route, and this kind of collecting keeps them always hunting, as there are always new releases.

Those who want something different can collect items that are not popular and do not get much publicity. Hard Times tokens, Civil War tokens, overdates, mint errors, all appeal to the collector who isn’t afraid to go off the beaten path. Many truly rare pieces can be found in these series.

There are many kinds of collectors and many kinds of collections. Whatever your collecting taste, numismatics has a lot to offer to anyone.

More Coin Collecting Resources:

• Order your 2013 Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake Coin Set today!

• IT’S HERE! Order the 2014 North American Coins & Prices.

• Get the 2012 Coin of the Year – limited quantities remain!

• See what guides and supplies our editors recommend for keeping up with your collection.


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