I’m not sure what you picture when you think of someone who collects coins. I would bet, however, that I don’t fit your stereotypical image. I’m about to exit my 20′s and enter the long lost world of being 30 years old. I have three kids, two of which are still knee high to a grasshopper. I coach sports, I play sports, I watch manly shows on TV, I know how to change my own oil, and I can change the biggest diaper explosion you’ve ever seen. I can catch, clean and cook a fish. I can also read “LadyBug Girl” like it’s going out of style.
What I’m saying is, I’m not your stereotypical collector. I don’t own a coin shop. I’m not 100. I button my shirt all the way up. I hate knee high socks. At our monthly coin club meeting my son and I are the youngest in the group by at least a decade if not more. We’re the only ones in the group that knows how to work an iPad. We stick out.
But that doesn’t make us “nerdy”. Or does it? There seems to be a stereotype when it comes to collecting coins. But I’m here to address them. So lo-and-behold, my reasons you need to get into collecting:
1. It’s an investment
You’re not buying and selling pieces of cardboard with Topps or Fleer in the corner. There are no rookie cards to be purchased. A lot of the coins you’re going to come across have an intrinsic value built in because they’re made of a precious metal.
My wife questioned the hobby (and the money I dumped into it) a lot more before she realized there was an investment aspect to everything. If you’re an educated buyer, you can really do yourself some good buying and selling some coins. Not to mention the long-term returns seen from buying and holding precious metals.
A fellow member of my club told me last meeting that over the 30 years he’s been collecting he’s paid for his house in cash just from his coin investing. He didn’t do that overnight, and coins weren’t what he lived on, but it provided a nice supplementary income. Nice enough to pay for a house in cash. Not too bad if you ask me.
2. Coin collecting is a transferable asset
What do I mean by that? I mean you can pass it on to your children one day. I want to leave my kids with two things when I pass: a legacy of a father who loved them to no end, and the knowledge and comfort of who I was as a person. Anything else I leave them is a material asset or inheritance that comes second to those two things.
Now, you may argue that coins are a material asset or inheritance of some sort. But I would disagree with you slightly. To me, passing on a collection I was passionate about tells my kids more about who I was as a man. And to me that’s better than a financial inheritance. The last thing I would want is to leave them $1 million in gold and silver coins just to have them scrap the metal the day after they put me in the ground. I’d rather them understand the hobby and value the collection….which means you also have to consider the next reason to collect:
3. It’s an educational tool
Coins are a hands on learning tool for history. Can I go examine the chair in which Lincoln was shot while at Ford’s Theatre? No. But I CAN hold and examine a coin that was circulated while he was president. I can learn about things like the Coinage Act of 1864 that said we would print In God We Trust on our coins.
Coins are an instrument not fully utilized in teaching people about history. Do you know why the war time nickels were made of silver? Because they needed the nickel to make ammunition. Instead of expecting our children to learn history from reading paragraph after paragraph in a text book, let them hold a 1943 Nickel and compare it to a 1950 Nickel. Some might brush it off, but I guarantee you it will resonate with some of them.
4. It’s challenging
This is a two-fold reason. It’s challenging because there is more information about coins out there than any one person will ever be able to memorize. There are books written about the different variations of one single coin. If you start getting into die varieties and mint errors and VAMs, you will literally be overcome with the amount of information out there. So it’s challenging to become an expert.
It can also be challenging to build a collection. One of the collections I’m working on is the Flying Eagle & Indian Head Album. It’s a challenge to collect every date, especially the 1877. It’s even more of a challenge if you start collecting the different varieties of some of the coins. Try building a run of Morgan Dollars and see if it’s not challenging. Which runs completely contrary to the final reason…..
5. It’s easy
Video: Investing in Numismatics and Bullion coins Safely and Smartly
Yes, it can be both challenging and easy. Don’t believe me? Reach into your pocket and pull out that change. Or check your ashtray for some loose coins. ANYBODY can collect coins. You don’t have to build a $25k collection of Morgan Dollars before you’re considered a collector. Maybe you like wheat pennies. You can literally build a collection of those for .10-30 cents a piece (for most dates). There is literally a coin collection for everyone’s budget. Because of that, no one has an excuse.