Why I stopped my base metal 50 pence and 2 Pound collection

Started by mmiguel, January 06, 2023, 07:34:01 PM

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mmiguel

My humble collection started with the possibility of getting euros from different countries.

Soon after, my mother started going to London for job reasons, and each time she used to get me one or two different coins she got from circulation. As a Spaniard, used to old Pesetas and euro coins, the 7-side shaped 50p coins and the huge and valuable 2-Pounds immediately caught me.

Designs were cool, and coins were big (bigger than euro or peseta at least). When starting to buy my own coins, I discovered the IoM and Gibraltar coins. Uff, big deal, specially those super valuable old 50p Christmas coins, the Kew Gardens one or the Hercules Labours set. 'Too expensive for now, but with patience everything will arrive' (spoiler: it never arrived).

As the decade progressed, collection increased, but then covid came and this happened (blue is new coins per year, orange cumulative sum - only for 50p coin, for 2-pound feeling is that it would be the same - data from Numista with filters - there may be minor mistakes).




Even restricting to UK, Gibraltar and Isle of Man... the complete collection is almost impossible (quantity, Brexit means additional taxes, and the amount of non-circulating coins outnumbers the circulating ones).

So bye bye. I'll keep getting some base ones from UK that catch my eye, but the once dreamed complete collection is over. Not angry at all: better for my money, my collection has become a bit more selective, and better for everybody I guess, as they will definitely earn more money (otherwise they wouldn't launch so many coins) and more buyers will be happy to buy new coins. World progresses!

Is there a similar feeling in UK coin collectors?

Figleaf

Do a similar exercise on EU or US issues and you get a similar picture. The "private mints" made it worse in the case of the UK but it all amounts to the same thing: over-issuing.

The dark truth is that politicians have an interest in spurious issues. There is pressure from the government budget penny-counters to force the mints to finance themselves, pressure from responsible ministers to lower the cost of minting and, at the minimum in the case of the EU, overcapacity, all while demand for cash is getting smaller. Like printed news getting crushed by "social media" and shops getting sorted out by online buying, banks are sitting on mints, hoping they'll stop breathing.

For collectors, the issue is simple. Collect what you like and stop thinking in terms of "complete". Enjoy yourself with what YOU find interesting and don't let the marketeers tell you what you "must have".

It's more difficult for the uninformed buyers of the fluff, caught in a net of commercial lies, ranging from calling "coins" of British flyspeck outpost British to suggesting that the fluff issue with the lowest mintage are "rare" or that base metal coins, whether or not with a microscopic layer of silver are circulating because they are issued at face, even when most of them are sold in a coin card at an agio. Apart from lining pockets, the most pernicious effect of the web of lies is driving starting collectors away from collecting.

My advice to you is to forget about new issues and go back in time instead. There'll still be types you can't afford, but in general, you'll spend less per coin and have much more fun.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Alan71

I would say, yes, definitely.  It's pretty much one commemorative (or more) a month now.  Back in the 1990s there were fewer and you could get them all in the (much lower-priced) sets at the start of the year.  Only one or two were issued that weren't in sets.

First I stopped buying silver proofs (after 2002), then stopped base metal proofs (after 2011).  It's difficult to keep up with the number of commemoratives being issued now.  I try to keep on top of them, and for storage space purposes I only get them on the Change Checker/Westminster blue holders. 

I used to try and keep up with sterling/pound-at-par issues from the Crown Dependencies (particularly Jersey and Guernsey) and British Overseas Territories but I've stopped that now as their commemoratives were also getting too numerous and too silly (five Christmas 50p coins, Guernsey?  Really?).

I'm now limited to UK issues only.  I still get the annual set, even with the ridiculous £60-odd price tag, plus any other 50p and £2 commemoratives on the aforementioned blue cards, but that's it for me now.

In a way, all physical items - even coins - are becoming more and more redundant.  You can now google a coin whenever you want to remind yourself what it looks like.  In the "old days" you had to look at the coin itself, you would rarely see an image of it elsewhere.  Perhaps a virtual coin collection is the way forward!

mmiguel

A similar exercise for the 2€ commemorative coins.



In this case, there is not such a big step suddenly from one year to another (except the common designs!).

In the UK, there was only one previous huge step: the London Olympics (which btw I really enjoyed - nothing to do with the 2€ common issues). Now each country can issue 2(+common), and obviously there are more countries. And prior to 2015 the only huge deal was Monaco 2007, far away from the most difficult Vatican/San Marino ones. Now Andorra joined, and more countries are joining the "only in coincard" trend (Malta, Belgium)...

In the Spanish forums there has been many outrages, and not a general awakening. For the UK I guess it was much more evident: since 2017 the collection has grown 3 times, from around 200 to around 600. In €uro (to compare, from 2017 to now it has grown from 300 to 470), without common issues, it seems to be around 30 issues per year, but definitely much more expensive coins than 5 years ago.

Again, I agree that is good for everybody. Rich people can spend as much as they want and collections can get more selective. Some designs I really enjoy them (same as the UK ones, which I prefer). But some specific series like the Spanish World Heritage coins, the Bundeslander series, some nice coins from France lately or random coins from different countries like the Estonian wolf are pretty nice. Not painful at all to leave out HRM Duke Henri of Luxembourg, tbh.

brandm24

Quote from: Figleaf on January 06, 2023, 08:00:31 PMDo a similar exercise on EU or US issues and you get a similar picture. The "private mints" made it worse in the case of the UK but it all amounts to the same thing: over-issuing.


Peter
You're right about private mints in the US. Smooth talking salesmen on TV are very good at talking people into buying overpriced coins that they "need to have."

The biggest culprit though is the US Mint. So many different issues each year that most people can't keep up. I personally know a number of "complete set" collectors who have given up in disgust. Too expensive...too common...and no longer worth the effort. I never got involved in the hoopla which is fortunate, but many people do. To each their own of course, but the quest for complete sets often leads to a bad outcome.

Bruce
Always Faithful

krishna

Quote from: Figleaf on January 06, 2023, 08:00:31 PMDo a similar exercise on EU or US issues and you get a similar picture. The "private mints" made it worse in the case of the UK but it all amounts to the same thing: over-issuing.

The dark truth is that politicians have an interest in spurious issues. There is pressure from the government budget penny-counters to force the mints to finance themselves, pressure from responsible ministers to lower the cost of minting and, at the minimum in the case of the EU, overcapacity, all while demand for cash is getting smaller. Like printed news getting crushed by "social media" and shops getting sorted out by online buying, banks are sitting on mints, hoping they'll stop breathing.

For collectors, the issue is simple. Collect what you like and stop thinking in terms of "complete". Enjoy yourself with what YOU find interesting and don't let the marketeers tell you what you "must have".

It's more difficult for the uninformed buyers of the fluff, caught in a net of commercial lies, ranging from calling "coins" of British flyspeck outpost British to suggesting that the fluff issue with the lowest mintage are "rare" or that base metal coins, whether or not with a microscopic layer of silver are circulating because they are issued at face, even when most of them are sold in a coin card at an agio. Apart from lining pockets, the most pernicious effect of the web of lies is driving starting collectors away from collecting.

My advice to you is to forget about new issues and go back in time instead. There'll still be types you can't afford, but in general, you'll spend less per coin and have much more fun.

Peter

Similar predicament befalls the Indian mints. Such was the demand at a time, that we had to get coins minted from foreign mints. Now with inflation bringing the seigniorage value in the negative, and demand for petty change reducing by the day, the mints, which once were operating at over capacity are lying near dormancy now. The new focus of the government to derive monetary independence during these tough times from these mints, combined with the bureaucratic process of operations, is making the mints issue coins which is tarnishing their rich heritage and most of all dissuading the collector in her pursuit of collecting modern issues of Republic coins.
Hope the mints tide through such trying circumstances.

<k>

Tired of base metal? Then why not go for the same design in precious metals and different denominations?

See: Same Elton John design on various denominations.

See also some examples from Guernsey.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

mrbadexample

Quote from: mmiguel on January 06, 2023, 07:34:01 PMIs there a similar feeling in UK coin collectors?


I stopped with the commemorative issues 20 years ago when it started getting silly. If I get something new in my change I keep it but I no longer go looking for them.
The final nail in the coffin for me was the issue of the Beatrix Potter and Paddington (etc) garbage. I used to think we had a coinage to be proud of but now any old rubbish is deemed coin-worthy. Modern issues are made solely with the intention of parting people from their hard earned cash - I'm not playing that game.  ::)

Bimat

Can completely echo your sentiments, I'm finding it hard to keep up with the €2 commemorative coins, the basic versions + mint mark varieties + other variants like mint master's mark are way too many to fathom; at least for a collector in India. To add to the woes, the break I took between 2020-2022 has caused a large gap in the collection so it looks like I'll only add the coins which I can easily get, without looking for a "complete" collection...

Aditya
It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. Rowling.

krishna

Quote from: Bimat on June 13, 2023, 05:03:03 AMCan completely echo your sentiments, I'm finding it hard to keep up with the €2 commemorative coins, the basic versions + mint mark varieties + other variants like mint master's mark are way too many to fathom; at least for a collector in India. To add to the woes, the break I took between 2020-2022 has caused a large gap in the collection so it looks like I'll only add the coins which I can easily get, without looking for a "complete" collection...

Aditya

Thank god! Numismatics is not as rigid as religion.
You can do as you please here at least


Bimat

Quote from: krishna on June 13, 2023, 06:24:06 AMThank god! Numismatics is not as rigid as religion.
You can do as you please here at least

True that! Even during my most active days as a collector, I never tried to have a "complete" collection - it was rather near impossible back then as well. Weak rupee, expensive ones like those from Monaco, limited salary ;) are some of the reasons why it's difficult for me to have everything. So I just try to get a) What I like b) What I can afford!

I'll soon show-off my recent euro acquisitions - welcome addition to my collection after a long break! :)

Aditya
It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. Rowling.

krishna


mmiguel

Wow Pitcairn Islands and British Antarctic Territory are about to break the box this year.

Offa

The royal mint has gone crazy with the junk issues such as the cartoon characters. The diversity 50p was a knee jerk release due to the BLM riots, now we are going to have Star Wars. I admit that I buy them even though I don't particularly like them as I made a resolution in 1968 to collect every decimal issue that can be found in your change. The £2 coins are becoming as wearisome as the subject matter has become more dubious. The golden year for 50p and £2 coins was 2009 with the Kew Gardens and blue Peter carded athletics 50p coins and my personal favourite £2 coin the Charles Darwin commemorative. I stopped buying £5 coins many years ago because of the dubious subject matter I only get the one which is in my annual proof set.
All coins are equal but some are more equal than others

Offa

Quote from: mmiguel on June 13, 2023, 10:49:23 PMWow Pitcairn Islands and British Antarctic Territory are about to break the box this year.



 Pitcairn islands coins in sterling denominations from the kon club even though the Pitcairn use the New Zealand dollar
All coins are equal but some are more equal than others