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Forum Home > FAQs > How to collect? / Collecting Strategies

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Posts: 489

I am asked this question by collectors new to the hobby very often; so here is the FAQ article. Please keep in mind that every coin collection is unique, reflecting its owner’s individual approach to the hobby. But while there is considerable diversity in what numismatists collect, decisions about how to collect generally focus on two well established methods:

1.      Type Collection

2.      Date/MintMark Collection


A type collection includes representative examples from many different coin series, while a date/mintmark collection aspires to completeness within a single series. Though different in focus—the breadth of type collecting contrasts with the depth of date/mintmark collecting—they both have an important place in numismatics.

A type collection provides a broad overview of numismatics—British India, Portuguese India, Princely States, Presidency Coins,Republic of India, etc. —and typically contains a single example of each design type within the scope of the set. For instance, a basic type set of Republic of India coins would have all the different designs of definitive and commemorative coins from 1950 onwards.

Within a particular series, type sets usually account for significant changes. For example, at various times 5 Rupees coins were copper-nickel, stainless steel or nickel-brass, and each design change is eligible for inclusion in a type set. Also, major design subtypes, such as size of the Lion Capital of Ashoka, usually are represented with separate coins. Minor modifications in design or composition also might be included, depending on the collector’s preferences.

Assembling a type set generally is very economical, both in terms of effort and expenditure, because the coins chosen from each series are entirely up to you. If you’re seeking the big copper-nickel Rupee coin (1962-1974) for a type set of 1 Rupee, the common 1962 will serve just as well as the rare 1970.

Date/mintmark collecting, on the other hand, enables you to pursue a particular interest in detail by acquiring every combination within a specific coin series. This approach is more expansive as well as more expensive than type collecting. Not only are there many more coins to collect, but sooner or later, a date/mintmark collector will encounter “key” dates, like the scarce 1911 Rupee coin. Every date/mintmark set also involves choices about whether to include collector-only issues like recent proof coins, or the die/mule varieties.

Your particular collecting approach likely will depend on the interaction of interest and budget. Series with many inexpensive issues generally are good candidates for date/mintmark collecting. For series that are more elusive, or not currently of your major interests, you might be satisfied with a single example of the type.

However, there is a middle-of-the road approach between the breadth of a type set and the depth of a date/mintmark set; that is termed “concentrated collecting”.  This kind of collection contains one example from each decade of a series’ lifespan, and one example from every mint that struck them. Concentrated collections are compact, because the same coin can represent both a decade and a mint.

Take the British Indian Rupee coins, for example.  A date/mintmark/variety collection has around 200 pieces, which can be quite daunting to complete. On the other hand, acquiring only a single example might not seem sufficient for such a sprawling series. A concentrated collection falls between these extremes, capturing the essence of the series with only 5~7 coins. Whichever specific coins you choose, a concentrated collection can be a nice blend of breadth and depth.

At the end of the day your collection is just that—your collection—so its contents and development should reflect your priorities and your preferences. Whether you’re pursuing a type collection or a date/mintmark collection, or mixing these methodologies, a definite collecting approach will help you achieve your collecting goals.

"Coin collecting is the only hobby in the world that you can
spend all the money in the world and still have some left over" 
September 1, 2012 at 12:03 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 91

Very nice guidelines.Can you suggest some reasonble & trusted sites from where beginners can confidently think of purchasing notes & coins like

September 6, 2012 at 11:05 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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