1 Mar 2013 16:51:00
Collecting old coins is a fantastic and often very interesting hobby. Firstly you need to decide exactly what type of old coins that you would like to collect and the reasons for it. For example are you looking to collect Roman, Greek, Byzantine or just something that is out of circulation in your country?
Then you need to decide if you want to buy coins that are already clean and have been attributed or if you want to buy uncleaned coins and take the time to clean them and attribute them yourself? Cleaning old coins yourself can be really rewarding but often very time consuming, but on the other side of the coin so to speak it gives you opportunities to technically discover and attribute coins that could often prove to be quite valuable. We have put together a coin cleaning guide that can be found here that answers a lot of the common questions about exactly where to start.
Most people that collect uncleaned old coins do it as a hobby, however a number of people do it as a hobby based business. They will buy, then clean coins and spend time identifying and attributing them before selling them on ebay or other coin sites. Taking this approach can be somewhat of a lottery as the financial outcome can depend on a number of factors. These include how long the coins will take to clean, the age and origin of the uncleaned coins and the general condition that the coins are in under the crust and then the demand for a particular coin.
When you buy and clean old coins for a hobby you can often end up with some really interesting and historical pieces, and often find that you find some valuable coins. It can be a very addictive hobby as it is a way for almost anyone to bring treasure hunting into their own home on a budget to suit their hobby. Once you start to clean and identify old coins you will find it easier and easier over time as you become more experienced.
Old and ancient coins can come in a wide range of shapes and sizes depending on the age, origin, and denomination. Generally old coins are usually smaller than a lot of their modern counterparts. This was mainly due to the cost and rarity of the raw materials to produce them in their region. As an example a Roman coin that is European and the same age as it’s Middle Eastern counterpart is generally always larger from Europe. That being said very early examples from each region are generally larger and thicker and as time went on currency was made smaller and smaller as it was more practical.
Unlike the currencies produced today often these old coins could be used for a very very long time, often centuries in some examples especially the really ancient ones. This means that when you find a larger coin in fine condition it can be a very nice find. A lot of people tend to collect ancient old coins for a purely historical point of view. There is nothing quite like holding a Cleopatra coin in your hands or a Greek coin with a picture of a God on it. It conjures all sorts of thoughts about the past and who would have used it and held it. The great thing about collecting old coins is that they were often stored in Hoards with other valuables and ended up being lost for thousands of years until discovery in modern times. Also old coins are fantastic because they are datable and often can be worth money to collectors so it is a great hobby to have.