Most youngsters and young adults are now into video games, television and other such pursuits that traditional hobbies such as gardening, reading books, playing chess and even stamps and coins collection are fading away. Many of us have seen our grandparents indulge us in their coin collections that were made over years, each acquisition having a story behind it. Nowadays, we have stopped valuing coin and stamp collection as a hobby but it is quite valuable and we must continue with it.
A hobby like stamp or coin collection allows us to know more about our past and explore different aspects of it. For instance, a coin of the British era had special markings such as the bust of the current ruler (Queen Victoria or King George V or a similar figure) which have a history associated with them. Similarly, areas such as Goa, Pondicherry and Chandannagore which were traditionally under the Portuguese, Dutch or French have had different coins in circulation. Knowing about the history of these coins is fascinating and as a culturally advanced generation, we must know the history that has shaped us up to be like this.
Coin and stamp collection also has another incentive, that of being a stock of wealth. Each coin or stamp worth collecting, shall be valued in lakhs in future, for those who continue with the hobby. For instance, a Victories silver rupee coin can bring Rs 3 to 5 lakhs for you, should you choose to sell it. In the US, a stamp which was introduced for the Wright brothers had an aeroplane printed upside down in around 100 stamps. These stamps have fetched around $400,000 for each copy from collectors. Coins belonging to older eras can fetch you more money should you choose to sell it. Coin collectors are quite an ambitious group and they stop at nothing to complete their collections. Therefore, by investing in coins or stamps, you would be able to build wealth in no time almost.
If you want to start off a coin or stamp collection, it may not be wise for you start buying coins to begin the collection. Buying old coins can be quite expensive and you would be unwise to spend a fortune in acquiring only a few pieces. Instead, you should keep a lookout for the pieces that are being launched in recent times in order to make the collection. For instance, to commemorate the birth centenary of a national hero, the Indian postal department or the Mint releases stamps that show their faces and coins of denomination Re.1, Rs.2 or Rs.5 even respectively. These items can be acquired quite easily and you do not have to spend any money in getting them. However, in ten to fifteen years, these would be worth Rs.10,000 or Rs.15,000 even. When you are in dire need of money, you can put up these stamps and coins for sale to bail you out in tough times.
You can also rummage through your grandparents’ old items to find coins which belonged to the bygone eras. People belonging to the older generation had a habit of keeping aside rare coins and using these you can start up your collection. The trick to be a good coin collector is to read a lot and find out about the worth of various pieces. Coins which have a story behind them or are very rare are highly valued. If you find a few coins in your grandparents’ chest, then wipe them clean with a cotton cloth, akin to what is used for cleaning spectacles. Do not use cleaning liquids as they may “over clean” the coins and take away their antique appearance. For stamps, use an empty photo album and keep them between the folds of the cellophane. You should handle them with care as very old stamps may tear at the slightest manhandling. Special albums are available in the market which you can use for storing your stamp collection. These albums are inexpensive and have special compartments for stocking each stamp. From time to time, you should dust the insides of the cellophane paper with talcum powder so that the stamps do not stick to them and tear.
Once you have begun your coin or stamp collection, you should start visiting auctions for them, as an onlooker as least. You can come to know of stamp or coin auctions through the classifieds pages on newspapers or the stamps and coins for sale section of online classifieds. Upon visiting these auctions, you can come to know more about being a stamp or coin collector, the history behind different stamps and coins and network with other collectors. However, do not expect other collectors to be too generous to you as coin and stamp collection is a competitive hobby and each one wants to emerge on top of the game.
It would be better for you to buy multiple pieces of a particular stamp or collect a couple of coins of a particular value (such as coins to commemorate the birth centenary of national heroes) as you can sell off the others to raise capital for expanding your coin collection range. A collection of coins can be expanded only if you are willing to trade them. To be able to trade, you need to have multiple coins or stamps in your collection.
If you have a couple of coins of a particular denomination or design and want to sell them, then you should log into the stamps and coins for sale page on online classifieds. You can define the specifications of the coins and stamps and upload a photograph so that the buyer can assess the coin and stamp before contacting you. Putting up an advertisement does not cost money on the websites and you will get responses instantly.
Coin and stamp collection is a great hobby that you should indulge in. Initiate your children into it too for increasing their interest in history and the art.