New numismatist? Welcome!
Coin collecting starts the second you set aside a circulating coin because you’ve seen something special. It’s usually different for everyone. It might be a coin from your birth year, your first coloured coin, the oldest coin you’ve found, a gift from a loved one, or a coin that came into your life at a significant moment.
It’s a great hobby because coins are everywhere!
The history of collecting
You are joining a long line of coin lovers. Coin collecting goes way back to ancient Greece, when people were often gifted coins on special occasions.
Nowadays, millions of people around the world carry on the tradition.
Why people collect
People collect coins for lots of reasons!
You might love owning the different artistic designs. Or your curiosity might be more historical, looking into the story behind the coins. They can be tiny portals into the time in which they were made, sharing insights on the design, the production method, the owner, and all the people involved in creating it.
For other collectors, it’s the community that’s the most fun. And the whole family can get in on the action, trading and competing.
If you’re of the financially passionate persuasion, collecting can simply be a golden investment for your future.
Keep the change
The best place to start collecting is in your change. Empty out your wallet, piggy bank or swear jar, then start rummaging for stories. Pick out any coins that you think are cool.
Once you start noticing your shrapnel is special, choosing your collecting ‘theme’ makes the hunt much more fun. Pick a time period, coin finish, denomination, coloured coins, commemorative coins, Mint Mark, design theme, artist—the options will shape your collection in no time.
For example, older coins can sometimes feel like a timewarp. They just helped you buy a coffee, but 50 years ago they were helping someone buy new typewriter tape, or even…a retro coffee! And they’ve exchanged hands thousands of times along the way.
Whereas commemorative coins tell a different version of history, mostly through the image on their reverse. These coins celebrate something significant to Australia and can usually be found on 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 coins.
Next to the life-well-lived character of circulating coins, uncirculated coins have that out-of-the box shine.
These coins don’t come in your change, they are purchased from the Mint Shop or eShop.
Uncirculated coins are special because they are polished and struck harder than everyday coins. This makes their design clearer and shinier. Often, they have pictures you won’t see on circulating coins.
So that they stay in mint condition, these coins are sold in special packaging that protects them and looks good too.
Mind your language
You’re a collector now, so it’s time to know the lingo. This will help while you learn more about coins and as you click around our website reading about coin types and histories.
Check out our coin glossary for some basic coin terms.