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Coin collecting – one of the oldest hobbies in the world

by | Jul 11, 2021

Coin Collection

What is a coin collecting hobby? 

As the name suggests, coin collecting refers to the hobby of collecting coins. This hobby is also sometimes called numismatics though the two are not totally the same. Numismatics include systematic study of a currency and is not just limited to coins but also tokens, paper money and other similar items. It is an academic discipline. Coin collecting, on the other hand, is often limited exclusively to coins and is a hobby rather than an academic pursuit. 

Is coin collecting the oldest hobby in the world? 

While it is difficult to pin any single hobby as the oldest in the world, coin collecting is definitely among the oldest hobbies. Coin collections were even maintained in Medieval Mesopotamia and Ancient Rome and it has also been pursued by many famous kings and queens. King Henry IV used to have his own coin collection and even Emperor Augustus Caesar was in the habit of collecting old or foreign coins and gifting them to friends. 

During the Renaissance period, coin collecting became increasingly popular among the royals and elite classes. As a result, it began to be called the hobby of kings. However, as the field of numismatics continued to grow, coin collecting emerged as a popular hobby among the middle classes as well. It is one of the oldest hobbies because coins are one of the easiest collectible art forms of any era. They are easier to transport and are more affordable to collect for common people than jewelry or art paintings. 

Coin collecting hobby in today’s world

Coin collecting continues to be one of the most popular and common hobbies across the world. Today, there are coin dealers, coin auctions, numismatic exhibitions, and even books and magazines on the subject of coin collecting. More and more people prefer coin collections because unlike stamps or other artifacts that might be damaged with time, coins are usually more durable and carry more value because of their metal. 

Coin collectors can collect a variety of coins depending on their interests. For some, coin collecting is a simple hobby and they collect coins from all time periods such as Maurya, Gupta, Mughal Empire in India or coins from Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro civilization or coins of foreign denominations. Others maintain specific volumes of coin collection according to time period, metal, historical value, etc. 

It is also a more educational hobby than one may think. The figures, shapes and letters inscribed on coins can reveal a lot about culture, religion, monarchs, famous places, festivals, etc., especially on careful study. 

How to start a coin collection? 

  • The best place to start looking for your coin collecting is usually your own home. Ask your parents or grandparents for old coins. 
  • Join Facebook groups and coin collecting clubs to connect with other collectors. You can exchange extra coins from your collections with them.
  • A variety of coins can be gathered from markets and bankers. 
  • Ask for coins of foreign denominations from friends or relatives who visit other countries. 
  • Look out for coin auctions and fests to boost your collection. 

It is also important to take care of your coin collection. Washing old coins with chemicals could damage them. Wearing gloves while handling coins and arranging them in coin folders or albums would help in preserving your collection. 

Amongst the oldest hobbies in the world, coin collecting can be a truly fascinating experience. To start from scratch and build a collection of coins that not only extends beyond your geographical limitations but also surpasses boundaries of time and history is an amazing feat. What other hobbies do you think would have been popular in olden times? 

References: 

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coin_collecting
  2. https://www.britannica.com/topic/coin-collecting
  3. https://www.thehindu.com/children/treasure-this/article27012690.ece
  4. https://www.sachishiksha.in/hobby-of-coin-collection/
  5. https://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/report-coin-collection-is-the-most-popular-of-all-hobbies-1623618
  6. https://www.orissapost.com/numismatics-a-dying-hobby/

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