Are you a numismatist? If so, you are one of 7 to 10 million in the U.S. that’s a “coin collector.” And it is serious business. No true collector would offer a penny for their thoughts, lest they accidentally traded away their prized, million-dollar penny.
Connection to the Past
It is not just the love of money that drives the collector of coins. It is a love of history. We humans like to believe that we live in the present. But philosophically, there is no such thing as the present. We combine a reasonable expectation of the near future with the unreliable memory of what happened before. The place where past and future meets is what makes up our perception of the present. In other words, without the past, there would be no now.
Collecting coins is a great way to physically connect to the past. We cannot teleport back to ancient Rome. But with the right coin, we can teleport a piece of ancient Rome to our time. We can personally have the coin of the realm, even if that realm was from a bygone era that history almost forgot.
Mightier than the Sword
They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Collectors of autographs will appreciate this saying a little more than most. An autograph is not just a signature signed by a person who is famous. It is an original document or manuscript written by that person’s own hand. Like coin collectors, autograph collectors are driven by a deep connection to history. But it is less about the artifacts of history, and more about the ideas that shaped it.
A resource like the Raab Collection can be useful for professional collectors, and invaluable to those looking to get started. There, you can find books and guides to help you sort out what’s important in the field. Three subjects of particular interest are:
- – Authenticating autographs
- – The history of collecting
- – What gives autographs their value
It is one thing to know the ancient words by heart. It is quite another to hold the original documents in hand. These are the documents that started wars, and stopped them. These are the words that created civilization as we know it. Important autographs are among our greatest treasures. Collecting and preserving them is among our highest callings.
In the Eye of the Beholder
People don’t tend to collect art primarily for historical reasons. We know that because new art is sold by new artists everyday. For the same reason, we know that it is not all about fame and fortune. Art that has no intrinsic value created by nobodies is still sold everyday to art collectors. Granted, some of those purchases are speculative. They hope the artist will become famous, and their art, valuable. But it is still a good buy even if that never happens.
That is because at the heart of it, what is being purchased is beauty. That is not to say that the world of art lacks history and money. This list of the top 10 private art collections features one that is worth $10B. But when you look at that empty space on your wall, you are not thinking $10B. You’re thinking beauty.
The automobile single-handedly redefined community and culture. It decoupled location from living. We can work one place, shop another, and live somewhere else entirely. We don’t have to live right next door to the people we loved. It enabled instant, private messaging, as mail could travel from one place to another in minutes rather than hours weeks. And if none of that seems like a good reason for you to collect cars, there’s more to consider.
If you love engineering, industrial design, and applied science, you want to be a car collector. You just need unlimited resources, and a giant, 100-car garage. Absent those two things, you might want to consider collecting consumer electronics. They are not quite as timeless. But they do scratch the same itch.
Whether coins, documents, art, cars, or something else, for the sake of history, beauty, love, or greed, collect something. Even if you are the only one in the world who cares about it, your obsession will keep it from being lost to time.
Article Submitted By Community Writer