What coins should I collect?

If you are undecided about what coins to collect here are a few ideas:

By country

Often, the easiest way to start your coin collection by getting coins from your own country but, also try getting coins from as many as possible countries in the world.

A Series Collection

The goal of a series coin collector is to acquire one of each date and mintmark made, usually including any major design differences. For example, the U.S. Standing Liberty quarter was produced from 1916 to 1930 at the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco mints (coins were not made at all three mints every year, and none were produced at any mint in 1922); a major change to the obverse was made in 1917, and the full set of coins is generally considered to include both designs for that year from each mint.

A Type Collection

A coin collector building a type set seeks to have one of each series and major design variation within each series. Examples would be 20th century Canadian coinage or U.S. gold coins.

Ancient Coins

From the invention of coinage in Ionia about 650 BC to the last Roman emperor of 450 AD, the gold, silver and bronze coins of the ancient world are surprisingly available. A common silver drachma issued by Alexander the Great might cost a few hundred pound or dollars. A common silver denarius from one of the early Roman emperors might cost around the same. Gold costs more, but bronze -- being more common -- costs less. So for only a few tens of pounds you can own a bronze coin that circulated during the time of Archimedes or St. Paul. Most collectors of ancient coins work on themes: the Twelve Caesars, the town of Carthage, the goddess Diana, etc.

By theme

If you love birds it is a good idea to collect as many coins possible where birds form part of the coin design. Some people collect only flower coins or any other topic that interests them. (Do not choose a difficult theme – you will not find “Spiderman” coins!).

If collecting from a particular country, you can work on one or more series, a coin type set, commemorative coins, errors, die varieties, paper money, etc. You may also want to set bounds on the grades of coins you collect, e.g. all G-VG, VF or better, or “Uncirculated” and, if you can afford it, “Mint”.

Tokens, Tickets, Tallies and Cheques

When the governments ignored the needs of the people and refused to issue sufficient low value coins, the traders took matters into their own hands and issued tokens. In Great Britain this took place in the mid 1600's, the 1790's and the 1810's.

Although less valuable than coins, tokens are nevertheless much more interesting if you are interested in local history and like to do research.

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