By Peter Mosiondz, Jr. for CoinWeek ….
Coin collecting is one of the oldest and certainly one of the most popular hobbies in existence. Some might say that if is not the most widely followed of hobbies, it’s right up there.
Young and old alike have shared the pleasures and rewards of coin collecting for centuries. The hobby appeals to people from all walks of life – from kids just starting out to kings and rulers of sovereign nations.
Perhaps the primary attraction to this hobby of kids and kings is the fact that you can literally hold history in your hands. For an expenditure of a few dollars you can own an ancient coin that circulated when Jesus Christ walked the earth. You may even ask yourself, Is this the coin that He held in His hands when He said ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s…’?
We can trace the origins of coins to well over 2,700 years ago. In the seventh century BCE the kingdom of Lydia struck the first coin ever made, or at least in the scope of our present knowledge. Situated on the Mediterranean coast of modern Turkey, Lydia at that time was one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations in the world. Its popular king is even remembered to this day when we say “as rich as Croesus”.
As we said, coins can lead us on a fascinating journey and a deeper understanding and appreciation of history. We might even say that it’s a romantic journey as we explore the people, places and times involved and imagine ourselves being there. Romance and contemplation is not limited to ancient times either. When we hold that silver coin in our hands that was minted in the 1930s, who cannot help but think of the hardships our parents or grandparents endured during the Great Depression? Did dad spend that dime or quarter for a loaf of bread or a quart of milk for his family?
So you see, coins are virtual history that we hold in our hands.
In addition to the many pleasures that coin collecting affords all of us, another benefit is the social aspect of this great hobby. We are able to share a common interest with other collectors. Perhaps you already have a collecting friend or maybe a close friend will show an interest in taking up the hobby when he or she notices your enthusiasm. Possibly you’ll join a local coin club and meet many new friends who share your passion. By and large coin collectors are a friendly group of people. This fraternal bond and camaraderie is what keeps most of our collecting sparks well lit and keeps us actively engaged. Many of our new coin acquaintances will result in friendships that last a lifetime.
Why do nations make money in the first place? Because we use paper money and coins to purchase the things we need and want. What did people do before monetary systems were established? They bartered. For example, if you are a clothier and I am a farmer I may offer you a certain amount of crops and food items for your clothing for my family.
The government of each country is the only agency that can issue coins and paper money. Each nation decides upon the “denomination” or value of each piece of this currency. We often refer to this as the “face value”. This tells us how much the money is worth when we want to buy something.
In the United States our basic unit of currency is the dollar. One dollar is worth the equivalent of two 50-cent pieces (half-dollars), four 25-cent pieces (quarters), 10 dimes (10-cent pieces), 20 nickels (five-cent pieces), or a hundred cents (often referred to as “pennies”).
Coins are made at mints. That is to say they are “coined” or struck at these government facilities. U.S. coins are presently struck for circulation at two Mints: the Philadelphia Mint and the Denver Mint. Coins bear a “P” mintmark for those struck at Philadelphia (excepting the cent), and a “D” mintmark for those made in Denver.
Remember that every road traveled begins with the first step. In coin collecting it begins with that first coin. The most fantastic collections ever formed all began similarly; the acquisition of that first coin.
Canadian One-Cent Coins Currently Available on eBay