New Year, New Hobby
The hobby of kings
During the Renaissance, kings, queens and members of the nobility started collecting coins. That’s probably why the pastime eventually became known as ‘the hobby of the kings,’ but you don’t need to be a king or a queen to start collecting coins. It’s easy, inexpensive and you can get started straight away.
Why people collect coins
It can be a fascinating window into eras of history. Mankind has been using coins as currency for over 2,000 years. Collecting coins gives the collector the chance to experience some of that history. A collection can also become a family heirloom to pass on to the next generation.
Everybody has his or her own reasons for starting a coin collection. Sometimes a young child is given coins as a christening gift, which then inspires them to start collecting later in life. Or it could simply be a single coin that sparks the imagination.
Coins can be great souvenirs of places you’ve visited, and many people start collecting foreign currency after a trip abroad. Coins really can tell you a lot about the culture and history of a country.
Choosing a theme
One good way to start coin collecting is choosing a theme for your collection. By choosing something you’re interested in, such as royalty, literature, the military or history, you can decide which types of coins to collect and make your collection truly personal to you.
Themes you could choose from include buildings, transport, special events or historical figures. Choosing a broad theme gives you more opportunity, as the coins could come from any period and from any country. We have a range of coins to suit all budgets.
As you build your collection, you will find that each coin brings back particular memories; where and when you bought them, what was happening in your life at the time, each coin holding a special meaning for you.
Collecting types of coins
Some collectors prefer to look for particular types of coins, like pennies or crowns. You might want to try and collect examples from different rulers or decades.
Other collections are built around types of metal, for example gold or silver coins, or ‘Piedforts,’ which are double-thickness silver Proof coins.
The Royal Mint often strikes coins to mark special events in the UK. This continues an ancient tradition that was possibly started by the Romans, who minted special coins to celebrate military victories. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games all had special coins struck for them, as did the characters from the books of Beatrix Potter and the anniversary of the Great Fire of London.
These commemorative designs are not just available to buy; they also go into circulation, so you can find them just by looking at the change in your purses and pockets! Looking out for these special commemorative coins in your change gives you another option for your coin collection.
The Royal Mint
Many collectors value the quality of coins produced by The Royal Mint. We have been striking coins for over 1,100 years and all our coins uphold the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship.
The Royal Mint site at Llantrisant in South Wales is also home to one of Europe’s largest coin museums, curated by coin experts. You can visit The Royal Mint Experience, which gives you the chance to glimpse behind the scenes to how and where our coins are made, and to discover some of the special rarities from our history.
The expertise at The Royal Mint and the quality of our coins are two reasons why many collectors like to base their collections around UK and Commonwealth coins.
A hobby to enjoy
When you start coin collecting you’ll be in good company. Louis XIV, the Sun King, enjoyed his own collection so much that he looked at it every day, saying that he could “Always find something new to learn.”
Your collection could bring you the same pleasure. All it takes is a single coin to get started, along with a curiosity to know more. Enjoy your new hobby!