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Why Collect Coins?

by Rod O'Driscoll
For many years, I have had a passion in collecting, very often in explaining my passion to non-collectors, they just don’t understand. I will always be a collector at heart and it has given me many thousands of hours of enjoyment and peace. A few reasons I collect:

  • My main reason for collecting is that its my  hobby, I find it fun and a great stress free way to spend some time. With the manic pace that life has some times, its a great way to temporarily get off the speeding bus we call life and just enjoy some peace and quiet in studying your craft.
  • I also collect coins and bullion as an investment, which holds true for other collectibles as well. There is something to be said for being able to hold your investment in your hands. Once you hold a bar of gold or silver in your hands, holding a quarterly RRSP statement just doesn’t compare anymore. When looking at the performance of gold and silver over time, they perform really well. I often have had people come to me and sell their gold who made more than $800 an ounce profit. To see this, we only need look back at historical prices of gold, in 1968 the average price of gold was $38.69 an ounce, in 1974 it was $159.26 an ounce, in April of 2001 it was $260 and in October 2010 it was at $1370. Collector coins are a good investment as well (although I don’t recommend mint products). When collecting coins, I always say, buy the book before the coin – in other words educate yourself first.
  • Collecting and dealing is like being a treasure hunter every day. You never know when that ultra rare item will walk in the door. We have purchased and discovered items which up to that point were unknown which is quite exciting.
  • Collecting to celebrate art. Many coins, comics, stamps etc . are fantastic pieces of art which have been created by masterful craft persons. One collector once indicated to me that his collection was indeed a miniature art collection.
  • Collecting as a way to study history and geography. Collectibles often tell a unique story.  As a child I found collecting a great way to educate myself about significant historical events. The history of the world has been documented in many different types of collectible and can be quite enjoyable to the history buff. One need only hold an item that is 300 years old and wonder for a few minutes about where that item has been over that long period of time to get a sense of its history.
  • Camaraderie and fellowship are something that most collectors indicate as a great part of their hobby. Many friendships have been formed by collectors who share common interests and passions.
  • Collecting can often give one a sense of accomplishment, its a great feeling to be able to complete a collection after years of trying to find that elusive piece.
  • Significance. There is a type of prestige in collecting rare items. For instance, coin collecting which is one of the oldest hobbies was once only practiced by Kings and the wealthy. Thats why coin collecting is often called the “Hobby of Kings”
  • Hobbies can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you want. While there are those who collect items that are literally free, there are also those who only want the best. Some of these people are the one’s who paid $3,737,500 for an 1804 USA silver dollar in April of 2008, or the ones who paid, $657,000 for a Babe Ruth Jersey,  or $1,075,500 for a Detective Comics, Comic book in February, 2010. Then there is of course the art market which is the highest price of all collectibles. In the History of art, many individual pieces have sold for in excess of $100 million with the top selling piece being one by American painter Jackson Pollock which fetched over $140 million!!! On the other side, coins which you might think very valuable can be attained very cheaply for instance a copper coin from the Ming Dynasty can be easily purchased for $20 depending on its condition.
  • Finally, collecting is a nice way to leave a legacy to your children and family. Many people collect items so they can pass them on to their children so they can be a family treasure for years to come. They see it as a way of preserving their heritage. With the high prices of silver and gold many collectible items are being melted for the bullion value never to be seen again.

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