In my opinion these are the 4 types of coin collectors that you will find wherever you go and look for information on this subject.
I must clarify that this is not a definitive or scientific classification. This classification is the way I identify and group certain behaviors that people adopt when collecting coins. The importance of this classification lies in the fact that depending on the type of collector, his interests, motivations, and even the type of coin he looks for, buys or sells, change.
In other words, if you can recognize what type of collector the person you are conversing with is, you will be able to adjust your interactions according to those topics and points that really interest them.
The first type of coin collector is the novice. Actually, we could say that it is a stage that all people interested in collecting go through, before moving on to the next types.
Even so, novice collectors present peculiarities that make them a type, that’s why I include it in the list.
Novice collectors generally do not have much idea about the type of collection they want to develop in the future. They might initially be interested in ancient Roman coins, because they are the best known, or if they prefer modern pieces they opt for collecting valuable 2 euro coins.
The second peculiarity of novice collectors is that they tend to buy overpriced coins. It is not that they are stupid, far from it, but that they do not yet have a solid knowledge of how to value a coin at its right price.
In fact, since the popularization of coin collecting, many auction houses are recording sales of lots at prices well above the real value of those pieces. In the numismatic blog Adolfo Ruiz Callejas has a very interesting article on why we are seeing this phenomenon recurrently. Adolfo’s conclusion is (in my own words) that they are novice collectors with good budgets and little knowledge.
The third characteristic, from my point of view, is that as a group they end up abandoning coin collecting quickly.
Those who manage to overcome the honeymoon stage with numismatics, and consolidate a genuine taste for coins, will inevitably become one of the following types of collectors that I discuss below.
Recommendations for new collectors
If you are just starting out as a coin collector I want to give you some recommendations that will help you to know what kind of collector you want to be.
ONE: Read a lot about numismatics and coin collecting. Education will help you know what kind of collector you want to be.
TWO: If you can, limit as much as possible from the beginning what kind of coins you want to collect: Modern or ancient? Spanish or American? Rare coins?
THREE: Set yourself a limited budget and start by collecting the most common and less valuable coins before jumping into more expensive pieces. If you soon get bored of collecting coins, you won’t have wasted much money.
FOUR: Be wary of bargains or one-time opportunities that seem almost impossible. There are many counterfeit coins in the collectible coin market, and recognizing them is important so you don’t get ripped off.
FIVE: Try to make early contact with other collectors to share impressions. Coin collecting can be a solitary activity, but it is always better to be part of a community with common interests.
If you follow these tips, you will probably soon jump from novice collector to one of the following categories of collectors.
Entertainment collectors are those who prioritize their enjoyment over any of the other benefits of collecting coins. If a random coin looks beautiful to them, and they think it will make them happy to have it, then they will try to obtain it. It does not have to be a valuable or rare coin.
To such a collector, there is more value in a funny story associated with the coin, or how they got it, than the piece itself. This is not to say that he does not value the coin, but that value will be mediated by the possibility of sharing his passion with someone else.
For this reason, collectors for entertainment tend to network and create communities with other collectors. They love virtual forums, and also spaces where they can take their love for coin collecting to the maximum.
The professional collector’s fundamental characteristic is his detailed knowledge of the pieces he has, and those he wishes to acquire. Their fundamental motivation is the story behind the piece, more than the piece itself.
It is usual that professional collectors are also lovers of history, the arts, archeology or even the technologies applied in the manufacture of coins. Many times, a coin is just a justification to start an exhaustive research.
On the other hand, they can tell you hours of questions and details about a coin, which are usually unknown to the rest of us. Even if we are interested in coin collecting. Professional collectors are close to numismatic experts in terms of encyclopedic knowledge of their coins.
This type of collector is characterized by seeking and acquiring pieces of high value, and that could potentially increase in price over time. Of course, he also enjoys and knows those pieces he has in his collection, but he differs from the other types in his ultimate motivation: to capitalize on his coins.
For this, rarely will an investment collector go after a coin that is common or can be found in abundance. This type of piece tends to hold its value, or sometimes even lose it.
To invest, the collector of this type will look for those ancient or modern coins that he intuits will increase in price in the medium to long term.
An investment collector’s mecca is to acquire the world’s most expensive ancient coin, the 1933 $20 Double Eagle. Not so much because right now it is valued at $18 million, but because every time it comes up for auction it breaks the record for the most expensive coin. That is to say, its value increases with absolute certainty.
Of course, almost no investor collector will be able to get his hands on this piece, but in the numismatic market there are many expensive specimens, such as the gold Charles and Joanna Antique Coins, which can be very good investments.
What kind of coin collector do you want to be?
Well, now that you know what the main types of collectors are, you are more prepared to recognize them, know what they like to talk about or even how you should approach them.
Also, you can think about what kind of collector of ancient coins you want to be. It will depend on your tastes, your way of being, and also on your wallet to buy collectible coins.
If you liked this article you can share it with your friends, or in your social networks. However, the most important thing is that before you go to read the next article, leave me a comment telling me what kind of coin collector you are, or want to be.
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