Common Rare Coin Collecting Themes

Rare coin collecting is a fascinating hobby that’s enjoyed by millions of people, young and old, worldwide. Added to this, it’s one that can offer significant investment potential too, if you make careful decisions along the way when it comes to expanding your collection.

That’s all good and well if you’re a seasoned coin collector, numismatist or know a thing or two about smart coin investments, but what if you’re just starting out? You might not have the faintest idea what to start your collection with.

Generally, the idea is to stick to collecting a certain type of coin. For starters, this makes searching for new coins much easier because your field of interest is narrowed. Secondly, you’ll learn a lot more about your coins if you focus on a particular collection as opposed to collecting any old coins that pass your way. And of course, it’s much easier to set ‘goals’ if they’re made within a defined field. 

So without further ado, let’s look at the most popular coin collection themes. 

‘Country’ Collections

Many collectors choose to collect coins from certain countries, and sometimes you’ll find there’s a preference for either old or modern coins. For example, you might only be interested in rare South African coins. Alternatively, you might find that a collector is intent on collecting a sample coin from each country that has ever issued a coin. This is one of the most popular themes, and it’s for good reason. It’s very interesting to see how designs and coin sizes differ from country to country.

‘Year’ Collections

These collections focus on a specific coin and denomination. For example, you might be interested in collecting every South African 10c or 50c from the first date it was issued until present. Year collections are especially popular themes for numismatists who are interested in US coins, as the designs tend to change significantly from year to year.

‘Error Coin’ Collections

Essentially these are coins that have been minted with mistakes on them. Regardless of whether these mistakes are significant or not, they are classed as error coins. Typical errors include double strikes, re-punched mint marks, double dies, over-dates and clipped coins. ‘Mule’ error coins are possibly the most interesting error coins in that each side of the coin has a different denomination. Error coins, although rare, are hugely popular and make valuable investment coins. One of South Cape Coin’s specialities is rare South African error coins, so if you’d like to see what they have available then contact them today.

‘Subject’ Collections

Collectors might have an interest in the particular design of a coin, especially one that features say a flower, bird or ship. They would then focus on collecting as many different coins as they can with that emblem on it. If you enjoy research then this is the type of collection you might enjoy working on as it requires finding out which countries have that emblem on their coins, both past and present.

‘Type’ Collections

These collections are generally defined as only containing one of each design for a series (such as the South African ZAR series 1874-1902). However, a collector may choose to also include coins that have variations to the design of the particular coin that he is focusing on, especially if it is a significant variation.

‘Period’ Collections

These are coins which come from a popular period in time. Commonly, this will include the ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine eras and also coins from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Some collectors choose to focus only on coins from a particular ruler’s reign that interests them. Typically, coins reflect the events of the time in which they were produced, so coins issued during historically important periods, for example a royal coronation or presidential inauguration, might be especially attractive for certain collectors.

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The 1898 Single “9” is the most important African coin. Sold by Rare Coin Investments.

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