Throughout history, humans have liked to collect things. From traditional stamps and books to the stranger miniature chairs and Star Wars movie paraphernalia, we have liked to collect items that have meaning to us as well as, hopefully, future value to others. Unlike the Beanie Baby craze, coins have always been popular to collect without as much risk of them losing value over time.
What Is Numismatics?
People who dabble in numismatics like to collect and study money. This could be anything related to currency, from coins and paper money to other collectibles like medals or tokens. While some do it for the fun of finding the perfect coin to fit their collection, other numismatics collect coins to build wealth.
What Do Coin Collectors Do?
Simply put, coin collectors collect coins. Depending on their individual tastes, they could collect just one type of coin, such as gold loonies, a Canadian coin featuring a loon. Other collectors like to focus on limited edition coins, while still others like hunting down antique coins.
What Is the Best Coin to Start Collecting?
American Eagles, or American Eagle gold bullion coins, are a good coin for new collectors to start with. They are one ounce of 22-karat gold. American eagles are often recommended as a way for investors to diversify their portfolio. At a cost of over $1,400 an ounce, adding just one to your collection each month is a way to hedge your bets against other forms of investing. American Eagles come in one-ounce, 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce, and 1/10 ounce sizes.
The American Eagle is also a very attractive coin, featuring Lady Liberty confidently striding across the front surface with an eagle depicted on the reverse.
Did Ancient Greece Have Coins?
While most ancient civilizations worked on a barter system, the ancient Greeks had coins as early as the 6th century B.C.E. As the Greek city-states grew, each began to produce their own coins with designs exclusive to their city-state. Unlike modern-day coins that are stamped with a die press, the designs on coins from the ancient Greece city-states were hand-hammered onto each coin individually. Greek coins were minted mainly in silver, but gold, copper, and other metal alloys were also used. Due to their age, ancient Greek coins are generally highly collectible today.
What Currency Did the Byzantine Empire Use?
Nearly a millennia later, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Byzantines began minting their own form of coin, the nummus. The nummus -- Latin for coin -- was a copper or bronze coin in varying denominations and is highly collectible due to its rarity. Later periods saw the rise in gold coins as well.
Each nummus was minted with the face of the ruling Byzantine emperor of the time on it. While worn down with use over the centuries, the faces are still recognizable and help collectors identify how old the coin is.
How Can You Buy U.S. Gold Coins?
U.S. gold coins can be purchased from the U.S. Mint, from individual coin shops, and from reputable online dealers. No matter who you order from, be sure to get a certificate of authenticity. Obviously, the biggest concern when collecting gold coins is that they are made of pure gold as opposed to an alloy. Both the American Eagle and the Canadian Maple Leaf gold coins are known for their purity and are easy to resell due to their good reputation in the numismatics world. The American Eagle is also guaranteed by the U.S. Mint.
What Is the Most Valuable Coin?
Every collector dreams of finding that "one" coin to complete their collection, but anyone who has ever dabbled in numismatics would like to get their hands on the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar. It is a silver coin featuring Lady Liberty in profile with long flowing hair. It was the first coin ever minted at the newly created U.S. Mint in 1794 and it recently sold at auction for 10 million dollars.
Everything from tiny coins from ancient Greece to valuable American Eagles can be collected, admired, and sold for a profit later. Numismatics is appealing to hobbyists as well as serious collectors.