David M. Sundman,
Currency reflects the culture and time in which it was produced, and U.S. coins and paper money tell the story of America in a way that no other artifact can. Why? Because they have been used since the nation's beginning. Pathfinders and trendsetters – Benjamin Franklin, Robert E. Lee, Teddy Roosevelt, Marilyn Monroe – you, your parents and grandparents have all used coins. When you hold one in your hand, you're holding a tangible link to the past.
And the same holds for U.S. paper money. Many vignettes on early issues were engraved by well-known artists, and offer a snapshot of life as it was then. Still others were printed by famous statesmen like Paul Revere and Benjamin Franklin, or were signed by men whose signatures can be found on the Declaration of Independence.
You'll travel back to colonial America with a large cent or Continental currency, or to the Civil War with a two-cent piece or Confederate note. Paper money chronicles the art and history of American economics, while every U.S. coin is an enduring legacy from our nation's past!
Have a plan for your collection
When many collectors begin, they may want to collect everything, because all different coin or paper money types fascinate them. But, after gaining more knowledge and experience, they usually find that it's good to have a plan and a focus for what they want to collect. Although there are various ways to collect, building a complete date and mint mark collection (such as Lincoln cents) is considered by many to be the ultimate coin collecting achievement. After anticipating, and waiting to fill the next space in your album, you'll experience the proud satisfaction when you locate that coin.
Of course, one of the greatest thrills of collecting is hunting for elusive pieces that make your collection stand out. Some collectors dream of owning a scarce coin like the 1909-S V.D.B. Lincoln cent. Still others might search for a crisp 1905 $20 "Technicolor" Gold Certificate. Others search patiently for prominent rarities from the annals of numismatic lore. Coins like the 1913 Liberty Head nickel, with only five known specimens, one of which sold for $5 million in April 2007; the very first National Bank Note ever released, which sold for $220,000 in March 2001; or the King Farouk 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 gold piece, which sold for $7.59 million in July of 2002. Rarities like these are not the majority, and most collectors are drawn to the hobby because it offers history, art, challenge of completion, and fellowship.
Whatever your interest or experience, I hope you’ll enjoy this fun, useful, and educational guide to the hobby.
David M. Sundman,