Archives for May 11, 2012

Coin collecting

Coin collecting has a less nerdy image than stamp collecting. There are some university types into coin collecting, They are quite posh about it and call themselves numismatists.

Today there are lots of fancy looking coins around which commemorate special events such as the Olympics and there are even coins with Disney characters on them.

Some are several centimetres in diameter and heavy with it. Put a few of them in your pocket or purse and you’ll know what a racehorse feels like which has weights strapped on for a race handicap.

These sorts of coin are aimed at ripping off collectors, – er – , that is, they are intended to appeal to collectors and are not intended for circulation.

If you are attracted by this type of coin, by all means collect them. Take pride in owning them, enjoy looking at them.

Just don’t risk disappointment by thinking you are own a valuable investment. It is possible that the coins may hold their value, or even increase in value but is more likely that they won’t, because there are too many other collectors holding them and demand may be  limited when you come to sell.

Coins and stamps are more likely to hold their value if they were produced for their original purpose, – currency in circulation or the cost of sending mail. If they have been produced to persuade collectors to empty their wallets, they are less likely to do so.

Gold and silver coins will keep the underlying value of the metal (the bullion value) but if the face value of the coins you bought are more than the bullion value you will most likely lose out when you come to sell.

The first coins were minted around two and a half millenia ago. One candidate for the first coin minted is the Lydian Lion, issued around 600 BC in Lydia, Asia Minor (now Turkey). Not all experts agree on this but the Lion has a good claim to be first.  For the full story and to see a picture of the coin see the following link:

My main collecting interests are early English coins and coins from the Byzantine Empire (324-1483). Holding these coins in my had gives  me  a imaginative link with the men and women who used them all those centuries ago when life was more perilous,  lacking in comfort  and so much shorter, compared with today.