From the June 22 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:
Do you consider the history behind a coin when making buying decisions?
Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.
Do I consider the history of a coin before purchasing it? Absolutely. My love of history and coins go together. First, I consider the coin itself. Who designed it? Is it a sub-type of the series? First or last year of issue? Arrows by the date? Motto or no motto, etc.? Then I like to consider the date itself. What was happening in the United States when it was struck? Who was President? Was there something significant that year? Is it a key date? All of these matters go into consideration when I consider the purchase of a coin. I love connecting coins with history.
Indeed I do. One of my favorite features of Numismatic News is the Item of the Week page, which is near the back of each issue. I love reading about the unique history of each coin that is mentioned, and more than once I have been moved to purchase that particular coin. I suspect there is a story behind every one of our older coins just waiting to be told.
I do consider the history behind the coin. Since I teach history, I look for coins that coincide with significant historical events. They become teaching aids that bring history alive for my students. In addition, I live in New Orleans. I was willing to pay more for a coin from the El Cazador wreck because that event shaped the direction of my city.
In addition, I am trying to collect a coin from each political entity of the 20th century. By their very nature, these coins have a history behind them. Russian Empire or Soviet Union? German Empire, Weimar Republic, or united Germany? People’s Republic or Republic of China? Nigeria and Biafra. The search has been fascinating and educational.
Dr. Lloyd A. Harsch
Absolutely! Be it a commemorative coin, regular issue, or a token, it’s very important to learn and understand the marvelous history behind the issue (and) makes collecting much more enjoyable and educational, too! This is a big part of what numismatics is all about.
Absolutely! History has always played a most important part in the issue of coins, currency and tokens. The history of a state, country, person, or event can all lend much interest and a special appreciation for most any collectible. As my dear long-departed friend William C. Henderson often said: [Collectibles] can tell an interesting story!’
Colorado Springs, Colo.
While history is an important component in acquiring coins, my answer is “sort of.” One buys commemorative coins either for the history, the beauty of the design, or both reasons.
When one acquires ancient coins, either the history or the wonder at humans many generations ago making coins is significant. I appreciate the most crudely made coins juxtaposed with skillfully crafted pieces, reflecting different levels of advancement by civilization.
Some collectors like acquiring sets of coins, with history of secondary importance. Investors may not give history a thought. But using historical perspective in making hobby acquisitions is a good way to enhance the joy of collecting.
Bruce R Frohman
I do consider the history when I am buying coins for certain type sets, and sometimes, if the history of the coin is compelling, I may purchase the coin for my collection as well. The history of coins was a big reason why I started collecting. I think it’s a shame if you collect coins but care nothing about the history and stories the coins can tell about the countries or people that produced them. If you are acquiring coins solely for value, then, in my opinion, you are an investor, not really a collector.
Yes! I do think about the history that was the present when a coin was struck when I am buying. To me, they are inseparable.
Yes, over the years, I have considered the historical aspect in coin purchases. A very few have been a blunder. This was “short term” histories. Yes, this included the time of the Zeppelins, in stamp collecting. Lucky for me, no purchase, no loss.
A few coins; Morgan, and Peace silver dollars, for one. I even went through a number of “junk” boxes. Many years ago, I came across a Great Britain large cent, 1797. Yes, no typo. Somewhat worn, it was a find. The first steam-pressed coin ever. This is my most historical coin find ever. My statement is from an article from NN, many years ago.
Yes, I think that is very important.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.
More Collecting Resources
• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700 is your guide to images, prices and information on coins from so long ago.
• Error coins can bring big money. Learn to detect them and how to cash in on them with Strike It Rich With Pocket Change.