The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 27, Number 11, March 17, 2024, Article 19


In the February 2024 issue of Love Letter from the Love Token Society, Carol Bastable published an article titled "What Kind of Collector are You?" With permission, we're republishing it here. These themes are universal and likely apply to many of our readers. -Editor

LT carol rev Have you ever wondered what drives one collector to collect one thing and another collector to pursue another thing? In the world of numismatics, collectors are greatly varied from coins to paper money and U.S. to ancient and foreign. Then there are the token and exomunia collectors. We fall into the exonumia field with love tokens. Yet even within our field, the options to collect are vast.

You collect what Strikes You: You do not have a specific plan or direction in your collecting. You are not building on any direction to your collecting or checking anything off of a list when you make a purchase. In fact, you probably do not have a formal want list. You are governed by what jumps out at you and grabs your attention. Often this is how many collectors start out. After being immersed in collecting for some time, you may hone your interests more.

You collect for reasons of Sentiment: You are collecting love tokens that remind you of people or things in your life. You may have assembled a family tree of initialed love tokens representing your family or you may purchase initialed love tokens and names for gifts, pairing the love token to the person. You may have a cat or dog so you want love tokens with those designs. I did a lot of roller skating in my teens and twenties. I even met my husband (now divorced) at the roller skating rink. Roller skating was a big part of my life. When I moved from the north to Florida, the roller rink was where I went to meet new friends. It would be no surprise that I have a love token (1883 Seated dime) with a roller skate on it.

You collect by a specific Theme: I know a collector that for years only collected one type, one dollar gold love tokens. It took him quite a few years to realize that he was also passionate about military themed love tokens and decided to add another area to his collecting. Collecting by theme gives a focus to the collection and helps from getting distracted with so many other love tokens out there. This also helps to budget what you spend for your collection. If you cannot find any love tokens with your specific theme, then your money is saved for when you do locate something.

  LT roller skate LT Carol

You are a Crossover Coin Collector: You may have or had a Morgan dollar collection (or Indian cents, Bust coins, etc.) and you want to add love tokens on these host coins to your collection. Or you are paying special attention to the host coin's condition. You want UNC or AU examples and maybe pass up any that have been holed or soldered.

You collect to Complete a Task: Perhaps you are compiling a date or type set of love tokens.

You collect for a Cross-section of Variety or are a Bulk Collector: I find myself doing this because I want to document and research what is out there. I tell myself that once I write my book that I can sell off some of the more common love tokens that do not excite me too much. But, for now I must hold onto them. Other bulk collectors are compulsive and buy or make offers on a lot of what they see. Some bulk buyers are like packrats and squirrel their collection away in boxes after purchasing. It is hard to have order to the collection: either a working knowledge of everything you own or a map to be able to retrieve an item you might want to view. Sometimes quantity makes it harder to actually enjoy your collection.

You collect for Rarity: Rare design types, rare dates, or rare type coins excite you. You really enjoy having a one of, a love token that no other similar ones are known to exist. You may periodically sell off coins from your collection to upgrade the collection as a whole as you add even scarcer items to your collection.

LT military riffles You collect for Historical Importance: You like love tokens that have a story, often rooted in history. These would be the trench art coins, names of important towns, important people, or political, just to name some obvious examples that come to mind. You enjoy holding history in your hands and the feel of finding and preserving something important.

You collect based on Price: You set limits for what you will pay for specific types of love tokens. Like no more than ten dollars for an initialed dime or no more than thirty-five for a pictorial love token. Many newer collectors will collect by cost. They have found a new collectible but do not know exactly what it is worth or how much money they want to sink into the hobby. It takes time to grow into being a dedicated and serious collector. There is a comfort level with how much one wants to spend on the hobby. The longer you collect however, the more you will realize what is rare and what is worth spending more for. The drawback with price limits is having a mediocre collection because the odds are low that you will get something truly great at a bargain basement price. It could happen but not very often.

There is going to be some overlap in the types of collecting from category to category and some collectors may also find that they fit into more than one type of collector. Perhaps you even start as one type of collector and end as another as time goes by. There is probably some psychology that goes into collecting and addressing what motivates us to collect but I am just a collector and not a psychiatrist. I have known and spoken with many collectors over the years that have enabled me to try to define collecting here. I hope you enjoy some introspection as you think about where your collecting falls.

For more information on the Love Token Society, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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