Home for the Coin Enthusiast

Hi, welcome to coinenthusiast.com
 
I have been collecting coins for over ten years.  The intent of this web site is to share with others my thoughts and learnings regarding coin collecting.

 

In the year 2000 I sustained a sports injury and while I was laid up I was looking for a non-sports related activity to occupy my time.  I rediscovered the hobby I knew as a kid.  As a boy I collected Mercury dimes and I knew enough about the desirability of the 1909 S VDB Cent to joke with my brother often that I had found one in my change. 

 

The first purchase I made as an adult was a 1909 S VDB cent that I bought at the Northern California Coin Show in Santa Rosa.  It was graded fine 12.  The experience at the show was interesting, fun, and exhilarating. I loved the energy of the show and I was anxious to go to another.

 

Over the years I continued to collect key date coins (several times upgrading my 1909S F12 cent to ultimately arrive at a MS 64 graded coin).  I then expanded my interests, and collection, to include colonial coins, civil war era money, commemoratives, and gold type coins. 

 

After collecting domestic coins for several years I began pursuing ancient coins, putting together collections of the Roman Twelve Caesars, and a type set of coinage from 600 – 400 BC.

 

Coin collecting for me is about much more than the coins I have accumulated.  Although it is satisfying to complete a specific collection, what I enjoy most is the world that coin collecting has opened up for me.  It is through coins that I have vastly expanded my knowledge of history, art, finance, geography, and culture.

 

For example,

It was through collecting colonial coins that I became interested in the founding fathers and read several books on our forbearers and the creation of our financial systems and governmental structure. It was colonial coins that fueled my interest in Benjamin Franklin and lead me to read several biographies on his life and to visit the Franklin exhibit in Washington DC.   A scientist, diplomat, inventor, writer, publisher, world class chess player... has there ever been a greater American polymath than Franklin?

 

Collecting civil war money gave me an appreciation for the desperate measures taken during war times to keep an economy running in the face of coin hoarding. I found it fascinating to learn how in lieu of coinage, stamps and tokens were used as money.  A study of civil war money led to an overall examination of the civil war and the era. This included reading battle field histories and biographies of Abraham Lincoln. The latter generated a deep admiration for this great man.

 

Obtaining a Columbian Exposition Half Dollar not only meant learning about the exposition itself - and the appearance of the first Ferris Wheel, early demonstrations of alternating current, etc. - but led to expanding my knowledge of the many great technological advances made during the industrial revolution.  Also, I was in turn inspired to read the hugely entertaining book, Devil in the White City.  A fascinating story of crime and historical milestones.

 

My pursuit of collecting ancient coins led to an introduction to the invention of coins. The earliest coins were made of electrum in Asia Minor around the 7th century BC.  The study of electrum got me interested in precious metals; their excavation, refinement and as instruments of investment.   This led to a study of the early coin types of the Aegean Sea area.   I learned a good deal about the history and geography of ancient Greece and the Greek islands and this research led ultimately to a study of the development of evolutionary biology.  

  

How are coins linked to biology?


I am reading a book entitled Darwin’s Ghost.  It is about the scientists whose work was a precursor and building block to Darwin’s work in evolution by natural selection. How did I come to read this book?  I saw it in a book store and as I casually flipped through the pages I came across a map of the Aegean sea with a note that Aristotle had conducted studies while living in Lesbos.  Lesbos is an island I first encountered while investigating electrum coins.  I was intrigued to learn more about the island from Aristotle’s perspective and the role it played in his studies on evolution.

 

To collect the Coins of the Twelve Caesars is to soon find one's self immersed in the glories and tragedies of the entire Roman Empire.  The Twelve Caesars were categorized as such by the historian Suetonius and range from Julius Caesar to Domitian.  As I have collected the denarii of the Twelve Caesars I have come to be awed by the scope of the Roman empire both in terms of geographical size (from Britain to the middle east) and in terms of it contributions to society (arches, concrete, Julian calendar, etc.).  Also, the stories of the times are fascinating, exciting and more enthralling than most creative fiction;  Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon and bringing troops into Rome, battles with the Gaul’s and Carthaginians,  Caligula’s evil behavior, and Julius and Antony’s flings with Cleopatra. It was the latter tale that sparked my interest in Egypt, where I eventually sailed the Nile, visited the Valley of the Kings, and crawled into the center of a Great Pyramid. 

 

“Degrees of Separation”, “Connections”, whatever you like to call it, coin collecting is a link to broadening and deepening one's knowledge and appreciation of the world.