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Why Do You Collect? Not What, Or At Least That's Secondary, But Why?

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Valued Member
United States
412 Posts
 Posted 04/06/2020  4:46 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add KauaiHawaiiGuy to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
When I am at this Coin Community Site, I spend most of my time in the US coin grading forum. I tried explaining to the members there why I collect, and a few got it, many did not. I thought it would be an interesting topic then about why each of us collects, and as the title says, what you collect is secondary to why. I'll go first.

I collect Morgan and Peace dollars. Most of my coins are common date mint mark, probably 80% or 85%, the rest not as common, but nearly all were obtained the same way, through eBay auctions. You see why I collect is not to have the best or rarest or most expensive Dollars, but I love the feeling of buying something for less than the next guy. As a matter of fact getting that bargain is more important to me than what Morgan or Peace dollar I'm bidding on. That's the part that some of the folks couldn't understand. I was given advice about trying to collect complete sets, or only certain years, or collecting the best of a mint mark and year. It was hard for many folks to understand that I could be just as happy buying a VG-10 as a MS-64, if I knew that I was buying that VG-10 at a better price than the average buyer. And don't get me wrong, those are all great reasons or ways to collect, that's the whole point of this question/thread, everyone has a different reason for collecting coins.

Where I live there are not a lot of live places to go and look at coins and buy them in to person, so for me it's pretty much eBay. When I see a dollar listed on eBay that starts out low enough and I think might be something I'd like to add to my hoard (and for me hoard might be a better description that collection), I scroll through recent sales of the same year, mint mark and condition. I only buy raw coins. I'll find the last 10 or 15 eBay sales and total up the prices they paid and then divide that number by 10 or 15 and then I have a good idea what real people at eBay are actually paying for the same coin. Then I will bid no higher than about 15 or 20% below the average price paid, and I'm a sniper, one bid and one bid only, either I get it or I don't, and if I don't, so what, there's always more. And if I do, then I can't wait for the mail to arrive to see if I did well or if I was fooled by the pictures. When I first started, I was fooled a bit more than I would have liked, but now I've gotten much better at discerning so don't bid on losers as often.

So I suppose that is really the reason why I collect. I must be a hoarder and I like hoarding silver dollars. Been at it for about 4 years now and have upwards of 260 Morgan and Peace dollars, and I'm having fun. So that's my reason, now what's yours?

New Member
United States
14 Posts
 Posted 04/06/2020  5:52 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add DiscoLover82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
For me it's as simple as follows: I like coins and think they're cool. On one hand, I think older coins are especially cool just on account of their age and lifespan; following what's going on in terms of new coins and designs is neat though too, and I often think about how much my coin collection will be worth 60 years from now when there will be plenty of 60+ year old coins still in excellent condition.
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United States
4467 Posts
 Posted 04/06/2020  6:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I collect coins and medals because I enjoy learning about history and use the pieces I collect to explore the past.

Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Pillar of the Community
United States
1976 Posts
 Posted 04/06/2020  6:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hfjacinto to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I collect as I like history and the coins I collect are from a different time. I really like the Peace dollars as they span 2 periods of history that I really like to study. Think about the Peace dollars that where spent, they lived through the roaring 20's, everything from speakeasies to the great gatsby to prohibition to universal suffrage to the Great Depression. The Peace dollars spread through a time of massive change, in which the people moved to cities, women expressed their self interest, technological marvels (we went from horses to cars) to the atomic bomb. Peace dollars experienced it all.

Just think of the history that IHC experienced (civil war to almost wwI).

Coins are a way to experience history!
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Australia
13341 Posts
 Posted 04/06/2020  6:24 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The connection to history and geography is what's important.

Consider this: coins are one of the few 2500 year old inventions that are still being used today. If you could go back in time 2000-odd years, snatch yourself a random ancient Roman citizen and dump them in the 21st century, there'd be a lot of things he/she simply wouldn't understand: our cities, our transportation, our weaponry, our clothing, our habits, our culture would all be utterly alien to them. But give them a handful of coins, and they would immediately know what they were, and how to use them.
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
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Canada
3484 Posts
 Posted 04/06/2020  7:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add oriole to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I love the diversity of coinage-from touching the ancient world to the large chunks of silver and copper and the endless different designs.
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Canada
3484 Posts
 Posted 04/06/2020  7:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add oriole to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Good point, @sap, but they would also understand the wheel, and even more ancient invention. The vehicles with the wheels, well that is a different matter.
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United States
758 Posts
 Posted 04/06/2020  8:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ballyhoo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I began collecting in 1974 to earn the Boy Scout merit badge and have been hook ever since. I collect primarily U.S. coinage, mostly dimes, but over the years acquired many foreign coins of interest. From the beginning I think it was largely about the history behind each and the time period in general. As I've gotten older it's more about the artist design each bears and conveys. As to the secondary, which I get the expected responses, is that I would love to assemble every business strike issue of U.S. coinage with the exception of the gold series. Not in high grade, the best there is, but a nice circulated run of each with nice overall eye appeal. Being a realist, if I were a wealthy man that wouldn't be a problem. Since I am not, I have instructed my heir to pick up where I leave off in the hope that our name is one day attached to such an undertaking.
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there's no problems only solutions - the late, great John Lennon
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United States
3406 Posts
 Posted 04/06/2020  8:27 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add matthewvincent to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The question for me is not 'why' but "why still?"
After several years away from collecting do to health concerns I have started to inventory my holdings for eventual sale.

But gosh, darn I am looking on eBay for upgrades
to my prized Barber dime collection!

I suppose I was like all kids - interested in money.
And interested in the odd looking coin. My memories
of sitting on my parents bed and bugging my father
to look at his coins.
He eventually gave me some of his duplicates.

And my Great Aunt Tootsie's coins...she came to live us
in later years and her coins sat undisturbed in a closet until her death. With my " Red Book Knowledge" I examined them...(the swear filter prohibits me from saying what I said!)

I still collect, or at least still sit and study these coins, because they evoke memories of long ago.

When a member of the CCF posts with the question of what to put away for his/her children I get really fired up! Coins, without the memories of the person who assembled them, are just pieces of metal to be sold if possible.
SPEND TIME WITH YOUR KIDS!

Without my early exposure to coins my Great Aunt's collection would have be sold for a fraction of their worth. Dad started the learning process. Looking at the coins in my possession evokes many pleasant memories of them both.

As to why I am back in the group - I just may have something to teach new collectors. I hope so...

Brother, can you spare a "BARBER" dime?
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United States
13591 Posts
 Posted 04/06/2020  9:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add T-BOP to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
First let me say I've been collecting coins since 1963 . And of cause still do with one 9 year hiatus ( house , raising kids and bills up to my head ). Coin collecting was never in my genes because no family members were coin collectors . But it must have been be in my DNA . I feel I was born to collect or should I say hoard . One day in my very early teens I picked up a nice looking Barber half dollar with an O mint mark that blew me away, that moment started me in one heck of a ride in Numismatics . So why do I collect ? for the love of classic U.S. coins .
Proud Member of The Black Sheep Squadron !
Bedrock of the Community
Australia
17070 Posts
 Posted 04/06/2020  9:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Primary to my life is my faith, family and (now retired) career. In that order.
Coins come 4th in my life, classic cars 5th, gem cutting 6th. (but now 3rd.)

I have had an interest in coins since a young child and good professional assistance and access to numismatics generally, since my mid teens, throughout the whole of my numismatic life.

Not a surprise now, my interest extends cross the whole of numismatics, ancient to modern.


Why do I collect and study numismatics generally?
-Because coins R me, a lifetime interest, learning curve still steep.
Edited by sel_69l
04/06/2020 10:48 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
595 Posts
 Posted 04/06/2020  11:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add janknez to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
When I was in junior high, I acquired a 1854 quarter. Since I lived in Illinois and I got the coin there, I figured that coin could have been in Abe Lincoln's pocket at one time or another. It's the history the coins represent that I like.

Hope you all are staying safe.

Jan
Bedrock of the Community
United States
19337 Posts
 Posted 04/07/2020  09:52 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I really don't know why. I have been collecting many things since I was a kid. Those Hot Wheel cars, full size cars. knives, swords, guns, tools and just to many things. Don't know why, just want to collect. I've been trying to get rid of stuff but it's difficult. I'm getting old now so it may well be time to even get rid of coins. I really have no idea why I collect so much stuff, just do.
just carl
Valued Member
United States
412 Posts
 Posted 04/07/2020  10:18 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add KauaiHawaiiGuy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I said I collect because I like to buy something for less than the next guy ....... who doesn't, and I said I collect Morgan and Peace dollars, but I didn't say why those coins.

It's the feel, the weight, the heft and the size of what real money once was that attracted me to silver dollars, as well as the history and beauty of the coins. When I hold a real silver dollar in my hand, I know that it's not just a piece of metal that has a picture on it and some written denomination that says what it's supposed to be, but that it really is worth something, something beyond the words written on it. Of course today the silver in a silver dollar has even more real worth than just a dollar even without any historical or numismatic value.

But that's why I love my silver dollars.
Pillar of the Community
United States
1026 Posts
 Posted 04/07/2020  11:00 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CitationSquirrel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
As many have already stated, in the end it comes down to the history. Where have those coins been? What have they seen? Who designed them? How did they make them? Over time, I may drift and collect different coins for different reasons (I think I might be able to flip something and make a profit or something really is aesthetically pleasing). But in then end I always seem to come back to the history.
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United States
3497 Posts
 Posted 04/07/2020  11:46 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add KenKat to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I like to collect for a few reasons.

1) I like the pursuit of a goal - to complete a set, for example. I enjoy looking for the right coin at the right price that will fit in with all the other coins in the set such that the overall set has the look I am going for.
2) I like to save stuff. For example, I still had a bunch of sports cards that I had saved as a kid. One particular series had the most traction as one summer a friend and I collected 1973 Topps Baseball cards. We never got them all but I eventually completed that set many years later (2006 maybe)
3) I like history - coins definitely fit the bill there as they represent different parts of US and world history.
Edited by KenKat
04/07/2020 11:47 am
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