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Darkside Philosophy: What makes a country?

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Pillar of the Community
United States
960 Posts
 Posted 02/23/2012  3:01 pm Show Profile Check jgfindring's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add jgfindring to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

I am interested in how others define what is a different country for "One From Each Country" collectors. I actually do three from each, since the albums I use hold three coins across, so each country gets it's own row.
My criteria:
First, to be counted, it must issue / have issued coins for circulation. This eliminates places like Nuie, Tuvalu, Gough Islands, etc.
Second, new name means new country. Congo becomes Zaire, they are different countries.
Third, large changes in type of government. All of the Socialist Republics of Eastern Europe that are now Democracies or Republics are new, i.e. Communist Poland and modern Republic of Poland are different countries.
Fourth, colonial versus independent, i.e., British Nigeria is different from Nigeria, British Ceylon different from Ceylon, different from Sri Lanka.
Fifth, colonies / protectorates / whatever's with their own coinage, i.e., French Polynesia.
Sixth, occupied countries with new or special coinage, i.e., Vichy France, Japanese occupied China, Italian occupied Albania.
With these criteria, France for example gets listed as: 1. Kingdom, 2. First Republic, 3. First Empire, 4. Restoration, 5. Second Republic, 6. Second Empire, 7. Third Republic, 8. Vichy, 9. Fourth and Fifth Republics (to be consistent I suppose I should count those two as different, but despite what the French might say, they're the same). Germany, aside from the German States, gets Empire, Weimer Republic, Reich, East, and West / Reunited. Poor Great Britain is just Great Britain.

So what do you do? What makes something a separate country on your list?


Up to 377 Countries now! Working on Canadian, Australian and Euro type sets.
Completed US sets:Lincoln Memorial w/ proof;Lincoln Shield w/proof;Jefferson w/proof;Roosevelt w/proof;Washington w/proof;Statehood w/proof;Franklin;Kennedy w/proof;Eisenhower w/proof;SBA w/proof;Sacagawea w/proof;Presidential w/proof.
Close: LWC missing 2; Liberty nickel missing 3; Mercs missing 1; Walkers missing 2. 7070 type set missing 10.
I AM A COLLECTOR! I don't care if the value is going to go up, down or sideways! I don't collect coins to get rich, but as a hobby to RELAX!
Valued Member
United States
228 Posts
 Posted 02/23/2012  3:24 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add vb3347 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am not really an OFEC collector, I just like the diversity of world coins and collect anything that I like or get a good price on. I am up to 122 'countries' now.

I keep a list of everything I have on my Excel spreadsheet, in alphabetical order by country. I list all my French coins under 'France' and in parantheses write the era. Same with Germany. They all go under 'Germany', but in parantheses I would write (Prussia), (Weimar), ( DDR), etc. So basically they are counted as all 1 country with my system. Same with the changes in Albania, Poland, etc.....

Name changes are a new country for me also. Colonies are also new countries, so for example, I would not count French Guiana under France, or Belgian Congo under Belgium. And, like you, I count British Nigeria and Nigeria as 2 different countries.
Pillar of the Community
Australia
8858 Posts
 Posted 02/23/2012  5:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have collected World coins for over 35 years, but I regard myself as rather obtuse in my approach.

My collection includes World coins that date from the invention of coinage, right up to current times.

If my collection was to have an example of a coin from all countries, all centuries all cultures, the collection would number in the tens of thousands. Obviously impossible. Nevertheless, the collection IS representative across the centuries, with most cultures included. Coins of the Dark ages after the fall of the Roman Empire are the most elusive, but that period on World history is represented by Islamic, Chinese Byzantine and Indian coinages.

What my collection DOES do however, is trace the history of the development of coinage from it's invention to current times through all cultures.

My approach to achieving this is to only acquire coins that present themselves as representing exceptional value for money at the time of purchase. That helps to keep spending under control, but also helps to make the collection more appealing, when it will be auctioned out of my estate, to the benefit of my kids.

On the subject of acquiring high value coins, I am obliged to go to dealers or auction houses that have an internationally recognised reputation. Fakes abound in high value numismatic items, especially ancients. Coins in this category are only acquired rarely, because I am not made of money. The vast majority of the coins in my collection would be valued at 10 dollars or less.

As you may expect, most of the coins my collection are from the 19th and 20th centuries, but I have perhaps 400 or so that date pre 1800.

----------------------------------------------

Interesting addition acquired two days ago:
I bought an almost unidentifiable ancient out of dealers junk box for 6 dollars. About 25mm diameter thickish, with lots of crud and harder encrustation on it.

I love challenging identification exercises like this. Lots of fun. I dropped it in vinegar for 10 minutes, observing closely as the reaction proceeded. I took it out of the vinegar bath, and rubbed it vigorously with soap and water between my fingers. The coin was now much lighter in appearance, but at least I could now see lots of detail, impossible before the vinegar bath.

What was left of the coin enabled me to proceed with identification. I could see the letters 'TREB' above the image of the bust. That was all I needed to lead to a complete and unambiguous identification of it.

It has turned out to be a billon tetradrachm in a bit less than Fine condition, of the Roman Emperor Trebonianus Gallus (251-253AD) minted in Syria (now Lebanon). In it's current cleaned state, it would have a value of perhaps $50.
Edited by sel_69l
02/23/2012 6:09 pm
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Australia
11221 Posts
 Posted 02/23/2012  7:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This thread has some recent discussion on the topic. Here is an older thread where people posted their "lists of countries".


Quote:
First, to be counted, it must issue / have issued coins for circulation. This eliminates places like Nuie, Tuvalu, Gough Islands, etc.

You can add Tuvalu to the "keepers" list. Their earlier coinage was intended to circulate alongside the Australian coinage they ordinarily use, and I am told it did indeed do so to a limited extent.

Personally, I don't mind including NCLT-only countries in my list - though I consider pursuing them to be of secondary importance. Likewise, I'm happy to include "unofficial countries" if the price is right.


Quote:
Third, large changes in type of government. All of the Socialist Republics of Eastern Europe that are now Democracies or Republics are new, i.e. Communist Poland and modern Republic of Poland are different countries.
...
With these criteria, France for example gets listed as: 1. Kingdom, 2. First Republic, 3. First Empire, 4. Restoration, 5. Second Republic, 6. Second Empire, 7. Third Republic, 8. Vichy, 9. Fourth and Fifth Republics

I used to flag such things as separate countries. But my old coin database program had a 512 country limit, and I hit that limit long before the database became obsolete, so I was forced to re-amalgamate my nine "France" countries down to two ("France" and "France - Vichy State"). Likewise Germany is now just "Germany - Reich", "Germany - Federal" and "Germany - East". All the German states get filed as their own separate countries.

Generally, if a country's name remains the same, it doesn't get listed as a separate country, even if the politics have changed dramatically (kingdom to republic, colony to independent, etc). Russian Empire, RFSFR and the modern Russian republic are all just "Russia" to me, thought the USSR is listed separately. But a name change will get a new listing, even if there's no change in government (eg. Belize and Sri Lanka).

The European Union is another special case. I file circulating euro coinage separately to the old national coinages, so both France and Germany have additional listings under "European Union - France" and "European Union - Germany". Modern NCLT from Eurozone countries, however, gets filed with the old national coinages.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
Pillar of the Community
Canada
3226 Posts
 Posted 02/23/2012  9:41 pm  Show Profile Check Libertad's eCrater Listings Bookmark this reply Add Libertad to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I was just about to comment on the Euro. Does one collect currency or countries? I thought Euros had different designs for each country within it? (I don't collect Euros so I can't say for sure, but I think that there exist AT LEAST commemorative versions of such countries since I do remember seeing one with Queen Beatrix.)
Selling paper money: http://gtacoins.ecrater.com
Want to Buy or Trade: Nuevos Pesos Méxicanos (UNC): P95, P96, P97, P98, P99, P105a and P105b.
Nickel, not Nickle :)
Pillar of the Community
United States
960 Posts
 Posted 02/23/2012  9:50 pm  Show Profile Check jgfindring's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add jgfindring to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, Euros have different designs for each country on the regular circulating coinage, plus circulating commemoratives at 2 euros. Each country can also issue commemoratives of other denominations but they are legal tender only in the country of issue.
Up to 377 Countries now! Working on Canadian, Australian and Euro type sets.
Completed US sets:Lincoln Memorial w/ proof;Lincoln Shield w/proof;Jefferson w/proof;Roosevelt w/proof;Washington w/proof;Statehood w/proof;Franklin;Kennedy w/proof;Eisenhower w/proof;SBA w/proof;Sacagawea w/proof;Presidential w/proof.
Close: LWC missing 2; Liberty nickel missing 3; Mercs missing 1; Walkers missing 2. 7070 type set missing 10.
I AM A COLLECTOR! I don't care if the value is going to go up, down or sideways! I don't collect coins to get rich, but as a hobby to RELAX!
Pillar of the Community
United States
960 Posts
 Posted 02/23/2012  9:52 pm  Show Profile Check jgfindring's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add jgfindring to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
To be more precise, one side is different for each country, the other side is the same for all countries.
Up to 377 Countries now! Working on Canadian, Australian and Euro type sets.
Completed US sets:Lincoln Memorial w/ proof;Lincoln Shield w/proof;Jefferson w/proof;Roosevelt w/proof;Washington w/proof;Statehood w/proof;Franklin;Kennedy w/proof;Eisenhower w/proof;SBA w/proof;Sacagawea w/proof;Presidential w/proof.
Close: LWC missing 2; Liberty nickel missing 3; Mercs missing 1; Walkers missing 2. 7070 type set missing 10.
I AM A COLLECTOR! I don't care if the value is going to go up, down or sideways! I don't collect coins to get rich, but as a hobby to RELAX!
Pillar of the Community
Australia
8858 Posts
 Posted 02/23/2012  10:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The rough latest date of my World collection is around 1950, when silver was all but gone from World circulating coinages.

Except for Mexico, the latest date that is carried on a circulating silver coin anywhere in the World, is 1974, which is the 5 Mark silver coin of Germany. Austria withdrew the silver 10 schilling in 1973.
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Australia
11221 Posts
 Posted 02/23/2012  10:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Does one collect currency or countries?

The existence of monetary unions means that one really has to collect currencies, rather than countries. Besides the euro, there are three other large multinational monetary unions: the Caribbean States dollar, the Central African franc and the West African franc. OFEC collectors find that trying to find genuine coins actually issued in the names of the member-states of any of these monetary unions to be the most challenging holes to fill.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
Valued Member
United States
228 Posts
 Posted 02/23/2012  11:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add vb3347 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Except for Mexico, the latest date that is carried on a circulating silver coin anywhere in the World, is 1974, which is the 5 Mark silver coin of Germany. Austria withdrew the silver 10 schilling in 1973.


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that France minted some 50 Franc coins for circulation as late as 1979.
Pillar of the Community
Germany
765 Posts
 Posted 02/23/2012  11:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add augsburger to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
See, I make it easier for myself. I am a one million from every country sort of person. It makes defining a country a lot less difficult as you'll never make it to a million I just collect anything and everything I can.
Pillar of the Community
United States
2605 Posts
 Posted 02/24/2012  01:36 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add svslav to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If I were an OFEC, or 2FEC, or even 3FEC then jgfindring's "philosophy" would make perfect sense. Knowing my collecting habits, I'd say, I would go for as many counties as I could. And having experienced different regimes in the same geographical locale I agree that those ARE different countries.

But I am a magpie who brings everything that shines and available to his nest, so I am not concerned with the number of countries in my database. Actually I find it easier to have fewer big categories with subdivisions than just hundreds of separate "countries".
My first division is by continents (which itself already could be problematic). Then I have countries, with their modern names and their current boundaries. Then each country could be subdivided according to different regions and principalities and governments it had.
So, I have "Germany" with subcategories of different German states and different regimes.
I have "India" with subcategories of different states, European colonies, and the republic. I know, that is unfair to Pakistan and Bangladesh who make their own countries in my catalog, but to construct a 100% accurate catalog you would have to make it four-dimensional.

All the "oldies" I place by the location. I have a couple of Romans, I stuck them in "Italy". If I ever get Roman provincial they would get to the country which currently occupies the territory - Turkey, Egypt, Croatia, etc.
I got a pulo from the Golden Horde, a Tatar - Mongol khanate prostrating over most of modern Asian Russia, and I filed in under "Russia".

Couple more examples, I catalog Nagorno-Karabakh in "Azerbaijan", and Transdniestria in "Moldova".
Pillar of the Community
Australia
8858 Posts
 Posted 02/24/2012  02:42 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
vb3347: I can't confirm either way if the 50 Francs circulated or not.
I remember seeing an advertisement in a coin magazine in Australia advertising them as legal tender and as such, may have had limited circulation. Like I said, I can't confirm either way.

I guess that there may me several other silver coins the may also fall into this 'twilight' category, and perhaps also around the same period of 1974 to 1992 when the Mexican coins were issued.

The 50 Franc silver coin is quite a large coin and may have seen very limited circulation only, due to it's large size, and I GUESS that was probably the intention anyway.

When I was in Germany and Austria in 1970, the silver 5 marks and the the 10 Schilling were in wide scale everyday circulation. So also was the silver 20 Drachma of 1960, in Greece.
Valued Member
Israel
376 Posts
 Posted 02/24/2012  07:40 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Angielczyk to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
vb3347 My cousin was a market trader in Northern France and would often receive both the 50 and smaller 10 silver franc coins. He used to keep them in a large jar and each time that I visited him from the UK he would give me one. The latest year that I have is 50 francs from 1977 so I know that they were circulating to some degree then.
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Norway
497 Posts
 Posted 02/24/2012  08:21 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Litotes to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with Sap. One can say that I do not so much collect coins from different countries, as I collect coins with different place names. It is different to be attributed to Ceylon or Sri Lanka, but is it not different to be attributed to France - whichever version of government.

I do not require the name of the place to be given on the coin, but I appreciate extra when it is.
Valued Member
United States
259 Posts
 Posted 02/24/2012  09:30 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add chasinva69 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I just rely on the Krause world coin catalogue to answer this for me. If a coin is listed in there, either from the 1700's, 1800's, 1900's and now 2000's, it is eligible for my OFEC collection.
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