I have been busy lately and haven't been able to write many articles, but finally, here is another one :)
Many coin collectors collect for pleasure, while others collect for profit. But most fall somewhere in between.
What differentiates a collector from an investor?
A coin collector will collect coins because they enjoy it. Maybe they will coin roll hunt for enjoyment, maybe they will complete their set of Peace Dollars or Buffalo Nickels, but they do it for enjoyment. Most often, collectors will not sell their collection for a long time and will likely never sell it. Once they pass, it will be turned over to the inheritors, who can do what they want with it. An investor, on the other hand, will purchase coins for a profit. Often, their purchases have nothing to do with enjoyment, but with profit. An investor of precious metals would be far more likely to purchase a silver bar at a great deal slightly under spot than to pay a few dollars over spot for a coin with numismatic value, such as a Perth Mint Silver 1 ounce Koala. A coin investor will attempt to find the best deals and will not care what type the coin is. Let's take, for example, two similarly valued coins, the Perth Mint Kookaburra and the Perth Mint Koala. If a certain Kookaburra is a dollar or so cheaper than a similar Koala, the investors would likely choose the Kookaburra. A collector, though, would mostly choose based on what they want more.
Somewhere In Between
Most numismatists fall somewhere in between, where they will buy coins for enjoyment while paying a bit more, but will probably buy a simple silver bar if they can find one for under spot to attempt to sell for profit. Many others, when coin roll hunting, will separate copper pennies from the zinc pennies and sell the copper pennies...for profit. The reason they start, though, is for enjoyment and not for profit.
Many collectors and investors purchase precious metals. Many collectors also are what is called a "silver stacker," which is one who purchases silver and collects silver for the purpose of profit and investment. The precious metals are silver, which is the cheapest and most common unless you count copper. Gold is far more expensive and less common, but when prices rise, gold can go up several hundred dollars an ounce. Platinum and palladium are the least common and also expensive, but the most popular ones are silver and gold.
Collectors are most likely to purchase silver coins with some sort of a numismatist value. That can be a coin such as a Walking Liberty Half Dollar, a Mercury Dime, or even a modern silver coin, like an American Eagle or one of the Perth Mint coins, such as a Koala or Kookaburra. Investors may also purchase these, but investors will also purchase silver rounds and silver bars, which have no face value. Silver rounds normally have some sort of design to them, but silver bars are mostly just a block of silver. These are both collected for their metal content and not for numismatics enjoyment.
Gold is pretty much the same as the silver, coming in coins, rounds, and bars. There are less modern gold coins and most of them are a full ounce, but if you'd like to purchase a gold coin for a more affordable price, you definitely can, with the $2.5 Indian Head gold coins, with less gold content than many others. There are several other gold coins, as well as rounds and bars that you can purchase for a more affordable price, while silver is mostly just an ounce or more.