Hobby or habit? Why do you collect?

A lot of people collect coins, but not all think of themselves as collectors.

The coin collecting habit can sneak up on you. Before you know it, you’re checking your change every day and accumulating a collection of commemorative coin designs that you know you will never spend. So when does the habit turn into a hobby?

We investigated with a few collectors and here’s what they had to say.

Collecting new coins from change

A lot of people look out for the latest coins to be issued into circulation. The London Underground coin and the London 2012 50p designs have been disappearing from circulation FAST!


Here’s what you said about that.

Daniel Wright,
I like to collect the first circulated versions of new designed coins as it has a novelty factor, nice shiny coins in my change – they catch my eye (rather like a magpie).

Sheree Hall,
I collect coins that I haven’t come across before, like in loose change. But If I see the coin more frequently I spend it. I got a 50p NHS coin last week that was made in 1998, I’ll hold on to it as I haven’t seen one before!

I never really thought of myself as a collector until I realised I was checking my change for 50ps every day! Now I want to find the London Underground coin.

Bee Rian,
I’ve recently started saving any strange 2 pounds coins I get in my change! It’s surprising how many designs are in circulation really. I now have about 14 pounds worth of designs saved. Including Darwin, and the Olympics.

Collecting non-circulating coins

Non-circulating coins come in many forms, from classics like the Sovereign and Britannia range, to commemoratives for special events like the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee or London Underground 150th Anniversary, to novelty coins and medals designed purely for fun.

London Underground coins

Lots of people collect these coins to mark an event or due to an appreciation for the aesthetic quality of the designs.

Thomas Humble,
“The quality and meaning of the coin makes it collectable. And I only collect coins that are crafted with artistic meaning. I do not like or collect photo coins. I am also a collector of model cars.”

Simon Steele Law,
“I collect coins not only because it is a fascinating and educational hobby, I collect coins to appreciate their artistic beauty and their wonderful designs”

Steve Kettle,
I collect only British coins because I like the designs, and the skill of the artist. Of particular interest to me are the British Isles coins.. Jersey/Guernsey/IOM/Gibraltar as they are consistently so different to mainland, and just that little bit tougher to obtain.

David Kane,
I collect decimal and crown-sized coins of the world for the artwork and low mintages.

Collecting old coins

Of course all new coins will eventually become old coins, but it is not always easy to predict which ones will become the collectable rarities of the future.

Older coins

Collectors of old coins are often interested in the story of the coin, and in what it represents. Coins that are hundreds or even thousands of years old were a part of life in a time we can only imagine. To own a tangible piece of a bygone age is something very special and it keeps many people enthralled with the magic of coins.

David Moss,
I love to collect ancient coins, because they are incredible historical artefacts, and are not always as expensive as people think.

Rebecca Clarke,
I started calling myself a coin collector the day after I got a 1942 NZ Florin from a vending machine. I went to the local coin and stamp collecting shop and bought myself a NZ pre-decimal catalogue.

In summary

It seems that most of you get enjoyment from coins, and that’s when the collecting bug bites. Known as ‘the hobby of Kings’, you’re certainly in good company! We’ll leave you with a wonderful comment from someone who obviously recognises the true value of coins.

Leonard Richard Stanway,
In my opinion I think it becomes a hobby when you stop thinking “that’s pretty”, “that’s old” or “that’s worth something” and start to really look at them. In other words, you start noticing the details, differences and appreciate them as coins, not money.

We want to hear from collectors

Have you got all the London 2012 50ps? Do you have a collection of ancient or world coins? Do you collect anything else? maybe you have a collection of coins but don’t think of yourself as a collector? Leave us a comment!

Related Posts