When most people think of coin collecting their perception is of someone sitting hunched over a table with a stack of blue folders attempting to collect each date and mint mark of a series of coins.
Until about ten years ago this was generally the case. Many readers over thirty will recall searching through rolls of cents and filling those holes in their albums until about ten or twelve remained to be filled. These were the scarce ones, the ones you had to buy at a coin shop or show. These ten or twelve coins would set you back a few hundred dollars. At that point many people just gave up and retired their collection to a dresser drawer or old trunk where it remains today unchanged and virtually forgotten.
About ten years ago a new form of coin collecting started to emerge; collecting coins by theme. Tailoring a coin collection to a particular interest, period in history, design or meaningful date.
One gentleman, who visits me on a regular basis, collects coins with eagles on them. One day he brought his collection in for me to look at and at the least I must say it was impressive.
Hundreds of coins from the United States, Latin America and Europe; in metals from copper to gold. There were coins ranging in size from smaller than a dime to larger than a silver dollar; some dating back over three hundred years.
Even with a collection of this size he still has many years of fun ahead of him.
Civil War collectors for years have been incorporating a few samples of Confederate money in their memorabilia collections. Currently many World War II collectors are including coins from occupied nations as well as wartime emergency coinage such as the 1943 steel cent in their collections.
Much of the occupation coinage of this period with its unimaginative designs minted in zinc reflects the bleakness many people felt during this era.
Coins depicting animals is one of the most popular themes, especially among young collectors.
From the anteater on Australia’s five cent coin to the yak on Nepal’s ten Paisa piece, thousands of different types of coins exist with an animal theme. The best part is hundreds of coins from all over the world can be purchased for less than fifty cents each, and many are available for free from friends and relatives who have traveled abroad.
1936 is the year John, one of my regular customers, was born. He collects coins dated 1936, and he has hundreds of them from all corners of the world and he still needs hundreds more to come close to completing his collection.