Would you like to be an exonumist?
Although it may sound like a job title from a morgue, it actually has something to do with a fun hobby. An exonumist is a person who engages in exonumia or the hobby of collecting tokens and novelty coins that are not used as currency.
The other items you may collect include wooden nickels, casino chips, badges, encased coins, medallions, counterstamped coins, elongated coins, and all forms of custom coins or personalized coins. Simply put, exonomists like to get their hands on any coin-like item that shares characteristics with typical coins, but are not government-issued.
If this is the first time you’ve ever heard of this hobby, you might be wondering what the point is in collecting coins that are not even accepted in monetary exchange.
To answer this question, consider the concept of intrinsic and perceived value. Gold or silver coins in and of themselves have value because they are made of precious metal. However, non-legal tender coins also have a form of perceived value; worth is attributed to that object based on how the market values it. If a group of people place high value on military coins or commemorative coins because they are rare and produced in remembrance of an important time in history, then the objects take on that value. You will find serious collectors willing to shell out serious cash for them.
Thus, custom coins are tokens that preserve a part of history and culture. If your collection is well preserved, you may pass this on to your children as sort of like a family heirloom. Many years down the line when they have their worth validated they may even end up in a museum for many generations to appreciate.
Before starting your collection, consider the different kinds of custom coins. You have military coins, police coins, and fire department coins. Usually those who commission such coins are proud of their branch of service. They want a token to symbolize the dedication and commitment their members have in service, and so they might have a coin made bearing the insignia of their department. The bearers of these coins carry them around with great pride, and are used to recognize affiliation.
Corporate coins are much the same way. Business owners have them made to commemorate a milestone event or to show the company’s dedication and commitment to service. These coins often have the company logo on it or the theme of an anniversary or the event. The coins are given away as mementos to celebrate the employee’s achievements in that organization.
There are other types of custom coins besides these but the ones mentioned above are the more common ones. Basically any coin that has a design made following the preferences of the client is such a coin. You might even have one made for yourself for marketing gimmicks, a giveaway at a celebratory event such as an important birthday (especially for senior people who have reached unusually long lives), wedding anniversaries or even a baptismal. What matters is that the lettering, colors and design are beautifully crafted into your choice of metal and is worthy of being a keepsake.
If you had a chance to collect such coins and put them together in your own collection, then you can display them proudly at home and pass them down to your children and grandchildren to remember all the ideals and important events that these coins signify.