The habit of coin collectors often start when they save coins they have received in circulation that they find interesting. These may be from the change kept from a trip abroad, or a spark of interest in an old coin found in circulation. Over time, their interest may increase and their search for new coins will be enhanced. This signals the beginning of a potentially expensive hobby.

Most collectors try to focus their limited financial resources on specific themes. Some focus on coins of a certain nation or historic period, some collect coins from various nations, some settle on error coins or exonumia (coin-like objects such as token coins and medals, and other items used in place of legal currency or for commemoration).

Every collector collects what interests them, and there are as many ways of collecting as there are collectors. There are, however, a few common scopes of interest.

Country Collections
Many collectors attempt to obtain an example from every country which has issued a coin. In contrast to those who collect coins from all countries, many collect coins from only one country, often their own. It’s a matter of broad or narrow, general or specific collection

Year collections
Rather than collecting one example of a type, some collectors prefer to collect by year, and thus collect one cent for every year from the 19th Century to the present. This requires meticulous patience on the part of the collector but does not overstrain the collector’s budget, depending on the denomination chosen.

Error Collections
The automation of coin manufacturing processes during the 19th Century has decreased the number of error coins produced, and somewhat perversely, increased their collectability. This is a case of rare items, potentially fetching high prices in the market.

Collectors of modem coins find errors desirable because modem processes make the likelihood of their production very limited.

Examples of coin errors include doubled dies, repunched mint marks, overdates, double strikes, off metal coins, displaced or off center coins, clipped coins, and mules (different denominations on two sides of one coin).

A common reason given for purchasing coins is as an investment. As with any investment, careful research is required.

As discussed in the numismatics entry, prices cycle can drop, particular for coins that are not in great long-term collector demand.

Condition, surviving population and demand determine price.

Surviving population can be initially estimated from mintage figures.

A word of caution: Claims made by advertisers using popular media outlets should be treated with great skepticism.

Based on study and experience, specialists are able to distinguish the exceptions due to melting and other circumstances.

As a result, age is not usually a relevant factor.

In contrast to investments in the classical financial sense (such as stocks and bonds), a coin collection does not produce income until it is sold and may even incur costs (storage costs, etc) until then.

Many of the reasons given for and factors influencing investing in coins are similar to investing in stamps or gold. On the other hand, there is also the value of the collector’s satisfaction which is not quantifiable.

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