Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rare coins

One of my brothers-in-law is a collector, even more so now that he’s less mobile. He has DVDs, CDs, miniature clocks, cameras, various other things - and the cutest little dog on the earth. (He acts like a fur collar when he lies on the windowsill behind your head - the dog, I mean, not my brother-in-law.)
Collecting must be a kind of natural facet of our natures: the number of human beings who collect things must be well into the millions, if not billions. I’ve had the collecting bug myself at times, from that old standby, stamp collecting, to the books of various authors (we have all the Dick Francis books, for instance). I find that after a while I get a bit obsessive about collecting, and have to pull back from it before I go crazy - or other members of my family do!
There was a bit of a crazy moment in New Zealand a while ago when it was discovered that a particular coin that might be in the possession of any and every member of the public was actually quite rare. Of course when I looked I didn’t have any of the coins, but I’ve often passed shops that advertise themselves as coin dealers and wondered about what coins are worth collecting and what are not. Like the stamp dealer, a coin dealer has to have a world of information at his fingertips. He can’t just focus on particular areas of coin collecting: he has to be a jack of all trades.
A true coin collector should focus on quality, not quantity. Chasing the elusive rare coin, and being patient until you can acquire it, is better than collecting everything in sight. Having a bit of money up your sleeve in the first place helps too!
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