It must have been one of the usual coin collecting stories. I was about six when I got a plastic treasure chest. I really wanted it, but then I had no idea what to store in there. After bugging my mom for a while, she gave me a handful of coins which they brought back from Czechoslovakia from a recent trip. I put them into the treasure chest and declared that I’m collecting coins.
Even as a little kid, I have had a fascination for cultures and languages, and without a doubt, I was collecting foreign coins. It has never crossed my mind to collect any local ones, which at the time was the Hungarian Forint. I have always associated it with the concept of money. It was much later, probably even 25 years after I started collecting that I added the current Hungarian series to my collection.
I did have some old Hungarian coins not much after I started collecting. Friends and family were very supportive of my new hobby. Little did they know…
It was one way to compensate for the lack of my sight, people were happy to read the coins to me, and describe them. Nobody in my immediate environment spoke any foreign languages, so it was always an adventure to try to figure out where are the coins from.
People who knew me dug up their old coins and asked their friends to do the same. In a couple of years I had over a hundred coins, which is a rather sizable collection for a small kid.
At that point, I was able to recognize and remember almost all of them. Thus, I didn’t have to organize my coins, they stayed in the treasure chest, probably for the next 5 years or so. Once in a while I dumped them on the table and impressed people how I was able to recognize almost each one of them.
At some point I even started collecting paper currency, but I will write about that in a later post. My collection continued growing until the end of high school, when I had about 500 or so, at that point I wasn’t able to tell them apart by touch anymore. There were some rather similar ones.
For a while I was too busy with college life, and I moved to the U.S. When it was certain that I will settle down in the United States, I brought my coins here from Hungary, and a new chapter of collecting started. This is when I started organizing my coins, and developed a much deeper interest.
Today, I have about 2000 unique coins from about 150 countries, so organization is really a key to the hobby.