Coin And Stamp Collecting Overview

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There are as many different combinations of interests as there are different people in the world. For this reason, hobbies and the approach people take to them varies just as widely. The important point in choosing a hobby is that it is able to grow and adapt as the person exploring it grows and adapts. This is why many people interested in collecting opt to collect stamps or coins.

Stamp Collecting

Stamp collecting is more than simply gathering up a large amount of stamps. It can include anything related to stamps, such as items relevant to the mail system, special or unique envelopes, and much more. Stamps showcase more than merely aesthetically pleasing pictures and illustrations. Important figures, historical and cultural events and artworks have all been featured in the stamp. This gives the hobby more relevance and significance to the collector, as well as diversifying the hobby immeasurably. A collector can specialize in incredibly specific fields or spread their collection over any number of interests, themes, or periods.

Stamp collecting is often referred to as philately, but there is an important distinction to be made. Philately is the collection and study of stamps, postmarks, and related materials. There are many more collectors than philatelists, but most philatelists start out as simple collectors and develop a passion for the study of their hobby.

Coin Collecting

While coin collecting is primarily concerned with the study and collection of coins it can also involve paper money. Coin collecting is also known as numismatics, taken from the Greek word nomisma, meaning coin. Numismatics can, however, include the collection or study of medals.

Throughout history coins have had value, some remarkably high. Not only can they represent a specific value, they have their own intrinsic value. Each coin contains an amount of gold, silver or other (typically valuable) substance. This can make the hobby particularly expensive, especially if it involves older coins, as these are not only more likely to contain higher contents of precious metals, but due to their age and often rarity can represent a value far beyond their metals alone.

The trend in modern times in most nations is to replace the old coins with new ones made of inexpensive metals. Thus today the coins in circulation have little to no intrinsic value anymore. They serve merely as a representative of value.

The coin collector must be cautious in the practice of their hobby. As a serious hobby it is not all about simply collecting every different coin that you come across. The coin must be significant in some way to be worth adding to a collection. Part of the hobby of coin collecting is physically examining the coin to determine grade, find blemishes or other detractions, and verify the coin’s authenticity. This allows the value and/or significance of the coin to be accurately evaluated.

The first step upon obtaining a new acquisition is to identify the coin. The country of origin and face value of the piece must be determined. If it lacks a denomination the coin may be merely a token. An expert is often required to determine the authenticity of a coin, particularly if an authentic example would prove especially valuable. Many coin collectors have been duped by clever forgeries, dealing devastating blows not only to the collector’s finances, but their reputation and self-esteem. Even the most seasoned collector should, for this reason, consult with one or more experts before purchasing any particularly expensive coin.

The overall condition of a coin is summarized by its grade. The grade will play the largest role in determining the coin’s market price. Proper cleaning without damaging the coin is therefore an important aspect of the hobby. A coin that has been used as currency will usually end up damaged in any number of ways, none of them pleasing to the eye or the collector. Coins in a collection should be kept clean and safe from harm.

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