It might seem to be a bit counter intuitive to collect coins as opposed to save them but the work of the Numismatist is one that requires great skill and knowledge. The title Numismatist comes from a late Latin word that literally translates as “of coins” and it is a catch all description for a group of people that include not only collectors but also specialist dealers that service the collectors and academics that use coins to date and base there research on. A field study derivative of this is the work of the archaeologist. If you are interested, then Coin Dealer UK at http://www.gmcoins.co.uk/ could offer you even more information than this little article could hope to cover.
The Royal mint offers little starter sets for children to collect 50 pence and one pound coins as they usually feature a different designs on the back or tails. For example the 50 pence piece that contained a depiction of the pagoda at Kew Gardens is now worth from £45 up to £230 as only 250,000 were minted. The other item that the Mint produces is commemoration packs that are sealed in Perspex presentation cases for the birth or birthday/death/marriage of a major member of the Royal family. This is usually a coin of all denomination plus a special large £5 one.
Numismatist themselves fall into one of two camps. There are those that just enjoying having the coins and making a study of them. This includes how and when they were minted, what the design process was and what the thinking was behind the use of the images. This can date back to the first time that civilisations began to use coins as a way of commerce and purchase and the fledging monetarisation of society. A numismatist does not necessarily collect coins per say they may just enjoy the field of study in them and the academic knowledge that they can bring to us about the time.
The second type are the dealers in coins. There are viewed as professional numismatists as they will be above to ascertain the authenticity of a coin or set of coins and be able to give a value to them as to what they would make on the open market. They need to have a working knowledge of the coins background and history but for them this is not the driving desire to own one. They would contact an academic numismatist to give them some information and this is how the two camps help and complement each other. However there are occasions when the academic world’s branches such as the curator of a museum of even a field archaeologist may need the services of the numismatist to help them.
An intriguing and engaging hobby that has some lucrative aspects.