By Michael Joffre – mtltimes.ca
The other day, someone came in our office with a group of coins, and during my conversation with them they asked “why would anyone collect coins?”. Well here are some of my reasons…perhaps you have yours…
History. There are very few activities where you can actually hold history in your hands. How many authentic objects from the Roman Empire, the knights of medieval Europe or early America have you seen? How about OWNING them? When you hold a 2,000 year old coin, you get a special feeling of being connected with the past. This in turn will motivate you to learn more about history, and how it relates to your coins.
The Hunt. For collectors, there is nothing more exciting than trying to find that elusive item they are missing. Some coins are so rare, that a lifetime of searching, and an unlimited budget will not produce results…so finding a rare item to add to your collection can be a special event.
Clubs. Collecting for some is a private thing, but it does not need to be. By getting together with fellow collectors, you can share stories, learn from each other, help each other find missing items, and most importantly make new friends. I have found that coin collectors in general, are some of the nicest people, and this is why I have joined so many clubs. In Montreal, there is the Lakeshore Coins Club (in Pointe-Claire), and the Montreal Numismatic Society (downtown). Outside of Montreal, there is a big club in Boucherville, and another in Quebec City. Of course we have a national club, the Royal Canadian Numismatic Society, and the largest club in the world is the American Numismatic Association. I am president of both Montreal clubs, and a member of all of the others mentioned, and will be happy to provide information about them to anyone who wishes to contact me.
Travel. There are coin conventions and exhibits across Canada, the USA, and around the world. Planning a vacation around them can be fun, as it is an excuse to visit places you have not been. Also, many major cities actually have either coin, or major museums with major collections on display.
Financial. Many coins are made of precious metals, like gold, silver, and platinum, which over time (as per my previous article on gold), have shown to be an excellent preserver of wealth from inflation. Furthermore, a basket of rare, quality condition coins, would have likely given you a return much superior to the stock market over the last 5, 10, 20, or 50 years, if purchased at a proper market price.
Learning. Coin collecting seems like a simple past-time, but as the old saying goes…the more you know, the more you know that you do not know. This is why learning is so important in our hobby. When I started out collecting as a kid, I had no books, and went to the library to look at an old reference or two. Today, I have thousands (yes thousands!) of reference books, catalogs, research papers, etc, relating to coins…and I am just scratching the surface. Not only can coin collectors learn about history, but also geography, economics, metallurgy, art, religion, politics, etc, etc. Young children have the added benefit of learning math skills as well.
Unfortunately, there is not enough space here for me to continue with a myriad of other reasons to collect,…but to sum it up in one big reason…because coin collecting is FUN.
Michael Joffre is owner of Carsley Whetstone & Company Inc. a firm that buys and sells rare coins and related collectables. He is always interested in buying older coin collections. CWC also carries a full line of books and collecting supplies, available in stock in their retail store. Michael can be reached at 514-289-9761, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information please visit: