The Fascination Of Coin Collecting
Way back in the mists of time, Chinese Emperor Wu-ti had a problem. His treasury was nearly empty. He had been fighting a series of failed military campaigns and needed to raise money to maintain his empire. Because this was around 2,000 years ago he had no access to banks or any form of lending. He then came up with a genius way of raising cash for his ventures. As a result, the Emperor is credited with inventing one of the first forms of currency using ancient coins.
When the noblemen came to pay tribute to the Court they did not granted an audience until they bought a small piece of deerskin. Officials embroidered this deerskin with inscriptions affirming its authenticity. Each deerskin cost 480 ounces of silver. Alternatively, the person wanting the audience could pay with 400 strings of copper cash coins.
These transactions are one of the first known to involve ancient coins. They show how someone used them to convert such coinage to an alternative means of exchange. Unlike coins today, the ones used at the time had an intrinsic value. This was the metal from which they made it. The grades were simple. Gold coins were the most valuable. Silver coins were slightly less valuable. Copper coins were even less valuable. Base metal coins made of iron, bronze and other alloys were at the bottom of the pile.
Each country, each Kingdom, sometimes each district, sometimes even each city had at their own form of coinage. These were exchangeable for goods and services and known to be of a specific value. In this way, it was possible for everybody to barter and trade safely. They knew that the worth of a particular coin was fixed.
Starting out – collecting basics
As people traveled and traded across continents they would exchange coins. People are always intrigued by the different, and some collected coins. Not just those made of precious metals but those that had unusual designs or from exotic locations. Others who saw these, in turn, wanted to buy them. Coin collecting became a “thing” in its own right.
Today we know coin collecting as “numismatics.” Coins relate to the history of countries. Their social developments, wars, and people. They interest and enthrall millions of people – and the collecting bug is easy to catch.
There is a huge amount to learn about coins, and coin collectors need the knowledge to trade their coins safely without paying over the odds for them or missing out on a good bargain. People who collect coins both in the United States and worldwide take advantage of organizations like the American Numismatic Association, the Professional Numismatists Guild, and many other numismatic associations.
These organizations have a vast knowledge of the types and grades of coins traded. They have access to coin grading services for those who collect coins seriously and need to verify their coin collections or to get valuations for sale or insurance purposes. There is a standard grading scale which has come about and takes into account the condition of the coin, mint marks, rarity and market value.
Collecting coins – taking it further
United States coins are a great place to start your collection if you are a beginner. The coins are accessible and well-known enough to enable you to buy with confidence. There is a ready market to both buy and sell and enough interest to keep you going with the dramatic history involved in their production. Revolutions, wars, politics, the creation of new states and the demise of old ones. The social changes and military struggles of America are reflected in its rich mix of coinage through the centuries. This is what makes coin collecting so fascinating and rewarding.
Nothing compares, though, to discovering a rare coin which nobody else has found. This is the pinnacle of any coin collectors dream. Stories abound of people finding a rare Morgan silver dollar on a flea market stall or under the floorboards of an old house. Whether such stories are true or not’ the romance and adventure are enough to many people into this absorbing and fascinating hobby.
There is a wealth of information on the internet, and many local collecting clubs and associations to join. Regular selling fairs, exhibitions, conferences and gatherings happen across the country and these are a good starting point to find out more.
Coin collectors love talking about their collections and you can gain a lot of knowledge by going to one of these events and talking to the numismatists.
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The Morgan Silver Dollar is an essential part of American History. The first was released in 1878 and became an immediate success. We have sourced 3 different versions of this iconic coin. These will be an investment as well as a family heirloom for generations to come.
Morgan Silver Dollar
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