Coin collecting has been around likely since someone invented the first coin. Collecting is one of the most popular pastimes people enjoy with their discretionary money. Coin collecting is a natural choice of hobby, since we see coins and bank notes virtually every day.
Among the spoils of war inventoried by Pompey the Great when he dragged the unfortunate Mithradates VI of Pontus through the streets of ancient Rome was a coin collection. Julius Caesar's nephew the Emperor Augustus was known to give what contemporary chroniclers call “ancient” coins to some of his colleagues. Since that time there have been the sophisticated and the unsophisticated, the rich and the poor, the elite of society and the commoner—all with one interest in common: the pleasure of collecting coins they value.
Coin collecting took root early in the history of the United States. By 1816, a major coin collection was in the makings, and the first acknowledged auction specializing in collectible coins took place in 1828. Nobody really knows just how many people collect coins today, in part due to a lack of reliable studies and in part due to a lack of an acceptable definition of where accumulating coins stops and true collecting coins begins. We know one thing for certain: There are innumerable people who have old coins they found, inherited, or simply accumulated and are keeping the coins either for their collecting pleasure or because they hope those holdings may have significant value.
Coin collecting is a very organized hobby. There are local, regional, and national organizations open to anyone with such an interest. There are hobby and trade publications, some of which are published weekly. The Internet has more numismatic-related sites than anyone could possibly read. There are a significant number of books on aspects of the subject published every year.
The nice thing about coin collecting is that it is for everyone. You can collect modestly by going through your change, or you can spend significant sums to own some of the almost legendary rarities of the hobby. There is an entry level for everyone.
The most important thing is to learn as much about what you are collecting as possible. By learning, you will avoid the many potential pitfalls and mistakes. Collecting should be a fun pursuit. By reading this book, I hope you, too, will enjoy coin collecting.