Posted on 7/26/2018
One of the biggest decisions for most collectors who become interested in numismatics is what to collect. Large numbers are attracted to the hobby when buying from the U.S. Mint, or purchasing a coin from a national advertiser.
Coins such as American Silver Eagles and Morgan Silver Dollars attract huge numbers into the hobby. These coins, and others, are often referred to as “gateway” material that introduces new collectors to numismatics. The same can said about the many bullion buyers who eventually gravitate to coin collecting.
After the first introduction into the hobby, collectors often explore other areas of interest. They may choose Lincoln cents, Buffalo nickels, Mercury dimes, Washington quarters and a host of other familiar series.
Typically, these collectors choose a series, and try to find an example of every date and mintmark in the best condition they can afford. Millions of collectors have participated in the hobby over the decades in this fashion. Many of the most famous collectors of all time, including Louis Eliasberg collected this way. Set registry collecting, which has become enormously popular, is based on this model.
Collecting by date and mintmark can be fun, and even addictive, but lacks an important element that can greatly increase enjoyment of the hobby. Numismatic camaraderie and friendship is what makes our hobby truly enjoyable. You can sit alone and buy coins on the internet, but you would be missing out on many of the best aspects of the hobby. This includes numismatic education that can only be learned by establishing relationships with those who have been in the hobby for years.
|A previous World's Fair of Money show|
One of the ways to experience numismatic camaraderie at its best is to consider specialized collecting. Specialized collecting is best described as becoming fully immersed in an area of numismatics. For example, instead of collecting U.S. Large Cents by date, you would study and begin to collect by Sheldon variety. Some serious collectors of Large Cents even specialize in trying to find an example of every variety for just one year, 1794 being the most popular. (To see varieties of US cents listed in NGC VarietyPlus, click here.)
Once you become involved in the early coppers, you can then join the Early American Coppers (EAC). Large Cent collectors love to share their hobby. Nearly every rare coin convention has at least one or two dealers who only sell early U.S. copper coinage. The opportunities for numismatic friendship are endless in this area of the market.
Large Cents are just one example of specializing in numismatics. There are dozens of clubs and organizations devoted to specific series or area of numismatics.
Next month, August 14-18 in Philadelphia, the American Numismatic Association will conduct the World’s Fair of Money. Many of the largest specialty numismatic clubs in the country will conduct meetings at the convention. This would be a wonderful opportunity to meet other collectors and world-class experts.
A partial list of club meetings at the convention include (according to the schedule updated July 12):
Wednesday, August 15
- John Reich Collectors Society (Bust coinage)
- National Silver Dollar Roundtable
- Barber Coin Collectors Society
- Token and Medal Society
- Bust Quarter Collectors Society
- Society of Bearded Numismatists
Thursday, August 16
- Bust Half Nut Club
- Liberty Seated Collectors Club
- American Israel Numismatics Association
- Medal Collectors of America
- Civil War Token Society
- CONECA (error coins)
Friday, August 17
- The Elongated Collectors
- Early American Coppers
- Association of Dedicated Byzantine Collectors
- Society of Ration Token Collectors
- Numismatic Bibliomania Society (General Meeting)
- Philippine Collector's Forum
- Fly-in Club (Flying Eagle Cents)
- Colonial Coin Collectors Club
- International Primitive Money Society
Saturday, August 18
- Women in Numismatics
- Society of Paper Money Collectors
- International Bank Note Society
- Military Money Collectors Club
The above list is only partial, but gives you an idea of the incredible diversity of numismatic collecting opportunities the hobby offers. For a complete list with meeting times, check money.org. Some meetings are for members only, and may require an introduction or other requirement for attendance. Most of these clubs have a very active web presence with membership information available.
The social aspect of numismatics is a wonderful benefit and can provide you with a lifetime of enjoyment. Some of my closest friends are my fellow numismatists, and I look forward to every convention I attend.
Many collectors are introduced to the hobby as mentioned above, but soon drop out for a variety of reasons. Becoming a part of a specialized numismatic fraternity is a sure way to stay involved for many years to come.
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