Buying and Collecting Gold Coins - Where Does It All Begin?

How does the obsession for collecting gold coins begin? Some might say that the buying and hoarding of gold coins is a responsible, adult hobby, an investment for the future and should be taken very seriously. This is not a game. That may be true for some, but for most of us, there is a far simpler explanation. It all goes back to early childhood.

I have three very young grandchildren and sit for hours observing them in a way that I never had the time for with my own sons. They are attracted to anything shiny, or out of the ordinary; very tiny, glistening shells on the beach, pictures of huge and slightly scary dinosaurs, scrunchy pieces of coloured cellophane from sweet wrappers, glittery surfaces, smooth, shiny pebbles - anything that sparkles or shimmers.

At Christmas time, most of us were given a golden mesh bag containing gold coins made of chocolate, destined never to be eaten. They were traded during a game of 'shops', made into gold coin roads on the hallway carpet, piled on top of each other to make gold coin, knock-over towers, offered to favourite family members as special gifts, but only to hold for a few minutes before they were retrieved and squirreled away in a special place. They were eventually found, soggy and festering in the height of summer and thrown out, only to be replaced the following Christmas by another golden net, full of treasure.

That's the start of it. One day, we see something that catches our eye in a magazine article, a jeweller's window, a museum, that triggers the gold coin memory and we want to reclaim it, relive the thrill of finding that net bag filled with gold coins in the toe of a Christmas stocking. We have to find somewhere to buy at least one, and one is never enough. There are so many different kinds of gold coin in existence, that the collecting bug kicks in with a vengeance, and we have to own one of each! It can become a lifelong obsession and all because of a small stocking filler gift, once a year.

I blame the parents.

Rosie Barham, October 2008