Welcome to part 2 of numismatic myths, a listing of common myths and misconceptions non-collectors and new collectors have about the hobby.
1. A Coin You’ve Never Seen Before Is Rare
It happens all the time. A non-collector sees something they’ve never seen before and think it is super valuable or rare. Dealers and collectors often have to deal with people who bring in a coin or note that they have found hoping to strike it rich only to be told what they have is worth face value or little more. A common example of this is the 1943 Lincoln Steel Cent. Because copper was needed for the war efforts, the US Mint created steel cents for one year, 1943. People may find one and think they have found a “silver penny” because of its silvery-grey color. Unfortunately for them, these coins are worth little more than face value. This also happens with even modern coins and banknotes. The two-dollar bill is still being printed by the US Mint, with the newest series being Series 2013. These are definitely much rarer than the other common denominations, but they are not exceptionally rare. Cash registers do not have a place for them in drawers, but they are entirely legal tender. In my personal opinion, the US should stop printing one-dollar bills and switch to only having dollar coins that are meant for circulation. If that was to occur, the two-dollar bill would become much more common. Two-dollar bills are worth two dollars, unless it is uncirculated, in which case it may be worth slightly more. The last common example of this happening is with Sacagawea, Native American, or Presidential Dollars. These are not generally circulated and have a gold color to them. These coins are not gold, but unfortunately, many people believe they have struck it rich and won’t have to worry about paying for their kid’s college because they have found a regular “gold” dollar coin. At least they are worth one dollar.
2. Coin Collecting Is for Old People
Someone inherited their grandpa’s coin collection or some other relative who is probably “old.” Coin collecting used to be a very popular hobby several years ago when coins and currency were actively circulated by the public. That being said, most people in the past had a coin collection. That doesn’t mean, though, that coin collecting is for retirees. I'm only a teenager and I collect coins. Young people are absolutely able to get involved in collecting, but unfortunately, they often don’t. Don’t be discouraged from collecting if you’re young, even if you see lots of much older dealers and even if the shows are mostly filled with baby boomers. Help keep the hobby going.
3. You Can Get Rich Collecting Coins
Okay. There is the small minority that is able to strike it rich collecting coins, but nobody should ever start collecting with the intent of making money. Collect because you enjoy collecting, not for profit. Dealers are out to make a profit, but they are also collectors. If a coin dealer did not enjoy collecting, they would not have made it very far as a dealer. If you try to make money, you will be disappointed. If you join for the fun of the hobby, you will be pleasantly surprised if you make money. Large news sources generally only discuss coin collecting when a really expensive coin was sold or when someone found a huge hoard of coins. This does not normally happen.
Thank you for reading Part 2! Get ready for Part 3 next week.