All through history, whether it be ancient or contemporary, many famous people have been known to be either serious numismatists, or at least avid coin collectors, participating in a fascinating and often very lucrative hobby shared by millions around the globe. The list may be somewhat surprising, with names easily recognizable, while others are a bit more obscure, and some downright unexpected.
Coin collecting more than likely began as a hobby for kings and rulers of ancient and wealthy dynasties. History has shown there have been a few potentates that have put together some astonishing collections. French King Louis XIV possessed a collection that he carefully watched over and attended to each and every day. King Emmanuel III ofItaly owned a collection of over 100,000 coins, dating far back to ancient times, which he bequeathed to his Italian subjects upon his abdication of the throne in 1946. It was considered to be one of the most extensive private collections in the modern era, and certainly one of the most impressive.
There have been many other world leaders known to be enthusiastic coin collectors, not the least of which were three of America’s former presidents. John Quincy Adams is reputed to have been one of our country’s most renowned coin collectors during the colonial era. Adams’ face would of course be positioned on the one dollar Presidential Coin in the year 2008. Thomas Jefferson was in possession of a collection that encompassed both ancient and contemporary coins from all over the world. The man whose face adorns the dime, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was also a coin enthusiast, and led the fight to eradicate polio. Because of this effort, his crusade became what is called the March of Dimes in honor of his dedication to the cause.
In the world of sports, there are two notable personalities that were not only icons in the category of their chosen field of expertise, but were also known to the coin collecting arena as well. Wayne Gretzky, called The Great One by his fans, and one of the best athletes in the history of professional hockey, was also a devoted collector of both rare and valuable coins, though with an eye toward monetary rather than historical value. The recent Hall of Fame inductee and world renowned baseball player, Andre Dawson, is also a collector of note. His collection was considered one of the finest, though he recently decided to auction it off for quite a lucrative sum.
And from the movie screens of Hollywood, there are a few recognizable names that share common admiration for numismatics. Everyone certainly remembers Jed Clampett, played by Buddy Ebsen, from The Beverly Hillbillies television show. Though his unforgettable acting persona was not considered very cultured, Ebsen’s devotion to his collection certainly proves otherwise. There is also a few unverified rumors concerning Nicole Kidman, one of filmdom’s biggest mega-stars. She is reputed to have a fascination for coins and also in collecting them. Even the music industry can claim a coin collecting enthusiast among its members. Though Paul McCartney is not considered a qualified nor passionate numismatist, his interest is said to have its origins in the early days of the Beatles’ performances on stage. When the band was ‘pelted’ with pennies at the close of their shows, they would scoop them all up off the stage, and so began the coin collecting career one of Britain’s most honored musicians and composers.
The catalog of famous coin collectors is certainly quite interesting, and coin collecting continues to fascinate people from every walk of life, sharing a hobby that can boast over 140 million coin collectors in theUSalone, putting everyone who is drawn to its allure and historical significance among very good company indeed.