Develop a Passion for Coins

There are numerous definitions for passion.  Before anyone gets the wrong idea, let's clarify what we mean by passion as it pertains to the topic of coins:

Passion:  A strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.(1)

Now that we've dispelled any confusion about passion, let's get down to business...

Collectors who enthusiastically connect with their coins will develop a true passion and pave the way to prosper in the hobby in multiple ways.

Can we be more specific?  As it relates to coin collecting, exactly what is passion?

First, let’s look at an example of passion in a famous person from the sports world and then tie it back to our hobby.

Collectors whose "internal compass" points true north for passion are well situated to prosper in the hobby.
The coin collector whose “internal compass” points true north for passion is well situated to prosper in the hobby. That could mean years of entertainment, camaraderie, financial benefit, or whatever the goal(s) might be. Financial benefit? Yes, you read that correctly. Hobbyists who love coins tend to study them in great depth, evaluate rarity and demand, recognize trends, understand quality, and can identify the small subset of rare coins destined to rise consistently in future value. Image by Shutterstock.

Passion Kept the Flame Alive

Just about everyone has heard of basketball legend Michael Jordan.  He is heralded by many sports writers as the greatest hoops player who ever lived.

It was not always this way.

As a sophomore in high school, Jordan was not a budding superstar.  He tried out for the varsity team but lacked in talent and was banished to the JV squad.  In spite of this devastating blow, his passion for the game motivated him to continue on and strive toward excellence.(2)

Displaying a tenacious work ethic, Jordan spent many hours alone in the gym forging his illustrious skillset, and within a few short years, became a household name throughout the world because of his dazzling play on the basketball court.

How far would Jordan have gotten without his love of basketball?  Early failures could have easily derailed his career, but it was devotion to the sport that kept him on track, eventually rising to the pinnacle of his profession.

Basketball legend Michael Jordan is an example of greatness fueled by passion.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan is immortalized by this bronze statue named The Spirit, portraying the superstar soaring above two helpless defenders. The statue was originally installed in 1994 outside the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls. In 2017, it was relocated inside to the United Center atrium. Image by Fredrick Lee on Unsplash.

How Do You Know When You're Passionate About Coins?

Top-tier collectors who reap the finest rewards the coin hobby offers have something in common with Mr. Jordan…

They are individuals who have a passion for their vocation as well.

Bluntly stated, anyone who fails to take a similar attitude toward coins will probably never go far as a collector and will almost certainly never score well as a coin investor.

How does one develop a passion for coins?

This Rare Coins 101 Axiom provides the answer:

A.  When you make the effort to learn about coins,

B.  You discover the more you learn, the more fun you have with coins, and…

C.  You eagerly return to Step A and repeat. 

Thus, once you sense the thrill of the ride, the fun feeds itself, escalates, and burgeons into a passion.

Coin collecting may never be as exhilarating as a wild roller coaster ride, but it can deliver more than its share of thrills too.
Coin collecting may never be as exhilarating as a wild roller coaster ride, but it can deliver more than its share of thrills too. (Modified) Image by Shutterstock.

Okay, so how do you know when you’ve reached the passion stage?

Here are a few clues:

  • You'd rather spend money on coins than a flat screen TV or latest iPhone.
  • You fell in love with Miss Liberty because you know who she is and what she represents.
  • You study coin auction catalogs in the bathroom.
  • When you hold an 1863 cent, you can almost hear cannon fire.
  • Fiction novel NO, Coin World magazine YES.
  • You’ve looked at least 100 examples of a particular coin before settling on just the right one for you.
  • If you stumble on a wheat penny, you set it aside, even though it couldn't sell for even five cents.
  • You have sentimental feelings about certain coins in your collection.
  • Buying a coin gives you a warm fuzzy.
  • You belong to at least one numismatic association.
  • You can explain the 70-point grading scale.
  • You have learned the 1804 silver dollar was actually minted no earlier than 1834.
  • You salivate uncontrollably at coin shows and always spend more than planned.
  • Your family and friends all know you're a coin collector.
  • Your idea of a vacation is to pay homage to the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian.
  • You converse with your 1897 Morgan dollar:  Who has owned you and what things did you buy?
  • You get goosebumps thinking about the historic events your coins have witnessed.
  • You fantasize about owning famous rare coins.

There’s plenty of other clues that could have been mentioned, but you get the idea.

If you nodded your head in agreement to most if not all of the above, it shows you’re instilled with the deep-seated devotion indicative of a superbly accomplished collector.  You will get there, if you’re not there already.  Should you choose to purchase a few coins for investment purposes, your inherent numismatic talent will have positioned you to harvest an additional bounty.

Got any other suggestions on how you know you’ve become passionate about coins?  Share them with everyone!  Drop me a note at my Contact page.

Quick Links to Other "Getting Started in Coin Collecting" Chapters...

The next chapter in this section is Get to Know People.

Use the links directly below to navigate the "Getting Started in Coin Collecting" section.

All the chapters referenced above are accessible from any other chapter in this section.  Thus, no need to return to the "Getting Started in Coin Collecting" Introductory page to link to other chapters.


1. Merriam Webster's Deluxe Dictionary, Tenth Collegiate Edition. Pleasantville, NY:  The Reader's Digest Association, Inc, 1998.

2. Michael Jordan On Being Cut From High School Varsity: “I Just Wasn’t Good Enough.”