Coin collecting has been the hobby of many people for many years. If you refer to history, the first coin collectors were kings and emperors of different kingdoms all over the world. Some of the first known coin collectors are the Roman Emperors and King Farouk of Egypt.
Nowadays, instead of simply collecting coins, modern coin collectors collect coins according to a theme. Some of these themes are:
1) Country Collection
2) Year Collection
3) Error Collection
4) Subject Collection
5) Type Collection
6) Composition Collection
7) Period Collection
Collecting by country is one of the top coin collecting themes. Coin collectors who collect coins from different countries do their best to get their hands on current or past coins from as many countries as possible. This type of coin collecting would most likely be never ending since many countries keep on changing their currencies.
Year collections focus more on a specific coin and denomination. Under a year collection theme, a coin collector will collect his coins by year. For example, an enthusiastic collector of the Lincoln cent may collect all Lincoln coins from the date it was first created in 1909 up to the present.
The challenge in year collection is to complete the collection in terms of year. Once a collector has completed the set of Lincoln cents, he will move on to another type of coin and start over again. Many enthusiastic coin collectors who collect coins by year will be able to complete several sets of coins during their lifetime.
Error collections are coin collections that are more focused on coins with mistakes on them. The mistakes on these coins may be either be very obvious or not at all. Older coins will usually have more mistakes because coins were minted by hand before the 19th century.
Common errors are found on coins are double dies, overdates, double strikes, repunched mint marks, off metal coins, displace coins and clipped coins.
Another very interesting error is a mule. These coins are very interesting because each side of the coin has a different denomination. Coin collectors usually desire coins with errors because they are very unusual. These kind of coins are seldom found nowadays as minting has become fully automated.
Subject collections are the collections where collectors collect coins which have a specific subject like a ship or animals marked on the coin. To expand the subject collection, the collector would have to do a lot of research to find out which countries have coins with the subject of his collection.
Sometimes coin collectors collect coins which are designed in a particular way. For instance, a coin collector may collect certain coins which have a hole in the center. There are some countries which create coins with a hole in the center. This collector will collect coins from different countries but with holes in the center.
Even the coin composition can be a coin collection theme. Some coins are created with a combination of 2 or more metals. There are international coins which are composed of different kinds of metals. Some countries make their coins bimetal and some may use more than two combinations of metal for their coins.
Period collections are collections based on the period from which the coins were created. Some collections consist of coins from the Victorian era. Other collectors may go as far down history as the Byzantine or Greek period for their collections. There are several periods which can be the basis for period collection.
Initially, coin collectors might have started collecting coins because of having extra coins after a holiday trip overseas or because they like the design of a certain coin. As the collectors' interest increases, so will his appetite for more variety or more specific coins.
Although there are different kinds of coin collecting themes, most coin collectors are generalists and they simply prefer to have a little bit of everything.
In reality, coin collecting preference is all up to the collector and does not have to depend on a particular theme. Whatever a collector fancies in a coin can be the basis for the collection.
Many collectors strive to surpass each other by procuring the most sought after coins available. Coin collecting has now become a sort of competition for many collectors. Most collectors wish to outwit and outshine others with their collection of coins. However, there are also coin collectors who are just proud of having a unique set of coins not found in any other collector's collection.