Coin collecting is the hobby that lets you hold a piece of history in the palm of your hand, which makes it both engaging and enjoyable! Coin collecting for kids (suggested seven years and older) is an interactive way to encourage a variety of different skills, from math to reading comprehension to harnessing curiosity and exploring different cultures and eras. As a former teacher, I appreciate the hands-on learning opportunity that coins and currency provide. I have chosen the top five educational benefits to this hobby in hopes that educators or family members encourage their youth to explore the world of coin collecting.
History and Culture
Every coin tells a story of its own. From the year and country that it was minted to who was in office at said time or what historical events were going on in that time period. They don’t call it history you can hold in your hand for nothing. Coin collecting lets you travel the world and experience cultures far and wide from the comfort of your home or classroom. From kings to emperors, gods and goddesses to presidents and prominent figures. Nods to art, musicians and cultural values can also be found on coins. Century old motifs, allegories and tales are known to grace currency worldwide. History originated with storytelling and coin collecting carries that practice. Exposing children to different cultures is directly connected to fostering empathy and understanding.
Naturally a coin’s origin is a large part of its history and story! From the country to the state and city it was minted in, the location tells a lot about each piece. For U.S. coins for instance, you can tell exactly where the coin was minted just by looking at it. Coins have mint marks which indicate the location where the coin was minted. Present-day mint marks are: “P” for Philadelphia, “D” for Denver, “S” for San Francisco and “W” for West Point! For world coins, you can look for inscriptions or design references to figure out where in the world it originated from!
For younger learners, coins can be an interactive way to develop numerical skills. Like learning to identify and differentiate denominations from shapes and sizes to value. For example, once they become familiar with pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, they can understand higher-value coins like dollars and euros. This foundational knowledge enhances their numerical fluency and ability to identify and then classify coins.
Observation and Attention to detail
Coin collecting requires observation and attention to detail. For new collectors, it could be understanding what the coin is, where it is from and its denomination. For more seasoned collectors, it could be finding a collecting niche they enjoy! Error coins are a very interesting way to activate these skills in finding where the error lies and what caused it in the mint!
Research and Critical Thinking
I’ve said it once and I will say it again because it is such a true sentiment to coin collecting, a coin is a piece of history that you can hold in your hand. A coin tells a lot of the story, but there is always more information that can be dug up. Every piece has a rich history of where it came from and why it was created in the first place. Personally, one of my favorite parts of this job is getting to research different coins and discover its story! Research and critical thinking go hand in hand. If you don’t get all the information you need from your first Google search, your brain is using critical thinking skills to understand what questions you need to ask to get more of the answers you are seeking. Coin collecting is a unique hobby that ties both the past and present together through exploration and learning. There are so many skills that are born from coin collecting that are beneficial in all areas of life. Amongst the top five we covered in this blog, the act of collecting activates patience, organization and an appreciation for culture and diversity! To learn more about collecting or getting your children, grandkids or students involved, I highly encourage you to visit Littleton’s very own Learn Center here!
Susan A. graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 2021 after an abbreviated college experience split between Plymouth State University and the University of New Hampshire. She is an eight-time self-published author and social media content creator.