Some people primarily collect coins. Others focus on studying them. Still others do a bit of both.
So what’s the difference between being a coin collector and numismatist?
While the terms are often used interchangeably, there are definitive differences between being a coin collector and numismatist — and many people are both.
Let’s find out more about what it means to be a coin collector and a numismatist…
Being A Coin Collector
Somebody who gathers coins with the intention of completing sets of coins, based on their own goals and guidelines.
Some coin collectors may accumulate coins without much regard to date, mintmark, denomination, or nation of origin. But generally, coin collectors aim to complete sets of coins.
What’s A Numismatist?
A numismatist is a person who studies coins and money. Numismatists approach the world of money more from a historic, social, or artistic sense.
Numismatists may spend many hours every week or even every day dedicating time to researching whatever they can about coins and money. Many numismatists focus on certain areas (such as Lincoln cents, 20th century coins, Canadian coins, or other specific topics). Others take a more general approach to the coins.
Numismatists may write books or websites about coins, others simply read and study the countless publications available. But read or write, numismatists spend much time finding out about coins.
Many numismatists even set goals to discover new design varieties, errors, and other interesting things.
Being A Coin Collector And Numismatist
As you may see, it’s possible to collect coins but never really study them. It’s also possible to study coins but never necessarily set out on collecting them. However, countless individuals fill the roles of being both a coin collector and numismatist.
Something that many coin collectors enjoy about the hobby is the idea of learning more about historic places, great people, and interesting eras through the designs and backgrounds of the coins in their collections.
Many people find the minting process to be both a beautiful art and incredible science well worth studying.
Numerous people will focus their efforts on acquiring certain coins based on tone, color, and eye appeal; this leads many such connoisseurs to find out more about the natural processes which create coin toning.
Coin grading is another major area of focus for numismatists who study — and collect — coins.
Coin Clubs & Coin Publications
There are dozens of major coin publications and hundreds of coin clubs available for those who want to learn more about coins and enjoy the coin collecting experience.
- A Guide Book of United States Coins is one of the best books available for anybody involved in coins.
- The American Numismatic Association (ANA) is a legendary coin organization with thousands of members.