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Simple Rules For Hobby Success

Tom Becker

1. Collect what you can afford. Agonizing about the cost of purchases or feeling guilty afterward won't add to your enjoyment of the hobby. If you make collecting a competition based on monetary value you will always lose. It's okay to dream about owning the rarities but the veteran collectors know our hobby is really about making the most of reasonable accomplishments and small pleasures. Use some ingenuity and seek out challenging areas of numismatics that are both affordable and enjoyable. There are many possibilities, but it's up to you to find them. The investigation can be half the fun.

2. Develop an acquisition plan that enables you to always remain in the hunt. A sure way to lose interest in a hobby is through lack of participation. If reaching for your wallet so new coins can be added to the growing pile is your most important numismatic activity then you would probably find greater enjoyment with a different hobby.

3. Be patient. This seems to be the most difficult lesson for coin collectors to learn. After discovering the hobby the beginner often feels an urgency to make everything happen right now. I can't count the number of collectors who have said something like, “If I had only known then what I know now.”

Preparation and planning should be the first step in any acquisition program. Confident collectors gain the most from the hobby.

4.Strive to obtain coins that are of better quality than the average encountered example. Coin collecting is all about discrimination and compromise. You will gain greater satisfaction from owning quality, even if this means having fewer coins. Every coin in your collection should be a pleasing acquisition long after the purchase was made. It is better to have vacancies in a set than to fill these spaces with coins that only serve that purpose. Does surrounding it with bunches of dandelions enhance the beauty of a rose?

5. Anticipate that your collecting interests will change. Never force yourself to continue a project if you've lost interest in it. Keeping patience in mind, don't be too quick to call it quits or start over. Coin collecting can provide a lifetime of enjoyment. Now and then taking a break may be the best thing to do.

6. Make an effort to enjoy the “people” side of our hobby. The coins are nice. It's the people who collect them that really make things interesting. Sharing interests and “talking coins” is an invaluable way to gain knowledge and sustain interest. Learn how to deal with dealers. Some of the greatest collections ever assembled would not have gotten off the ground without professional assistance. Working with a dealer who is looking out for your best interest can prove to be a tremendous advantage. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover how many dealers there are who are very interested in helping collectors of modest means.

7. Money doesn't make a great collector. After meeting and speaking with thousands of enthusiasts, I can tell who is really enjoying the hobby. It is seldom the people with the deepest pockets. Sadly, I've also encountered far too many “six month wonders” that begin in a blaze of enthusiasm and soon burn out. Please pace yourself. All the good deals are not going to disappear tomorrow. Sample the coins offered by a variety of dealers. Attend coin shows and ask questions. Think of coin collecting as if it were fine wine that is best sipped to be truly appreciated.

8. Get everyone involved. I know my father and I got along better and communicated more often once he began sharing my interest in coin collecting. Even if the kids end up going back to video games, please make an attempt to share your hobby with family members. You may be pleasantly surprised how much you enjoy telling others about your hobby.

You are encouraged to disregard all my suggestions if you have already discovered a way to enjoy the hobby that suits you. Coin collectors are special people who are entitled to enjoy a wonderful hobby in any way that pleases them and sustains their interest.


Tom Becker is a regular contributor to the Canadian Coin Reference Site, you can direct your questions directly to Tom easily by E-mail: or visit Tom's website @


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