Topical collecting can be fun

The author’s first note featuring a military band, a $1 issue from the Bahamas.

The author’s first note featuring a military band, a $1 issue from the Bahamas.

I was reminded recently that there are always fresh ways to collect.

During the recent Ontario Numismatic Association convention, my friend Serge Pelletier sat beside me and placed four banknotes in front of me.

“I have started a new collection,” he announced. “Can you guess what?”

In front of me were four foreign banknotes. The colours were different, the sizes were different, the denominations were different, and they came from different nations and time periods. What they did have in common, was they all depicted ships.

It seemed a safe guess, and in fact was almost right. My friend is collecting notes that depict cargo ships.
It makes sense as Serge spent most of his career as a military logician and his speciality was loading stuff on and off of ships.

Now I have no idea how many notes and coins have been issued depicting cargo ships, but the number is pretty impressive. If we limit the list to primarily harbour scenes the list is still quite impressive. Of course most can be bought for just a few dollars. Even so it is a way to build a collection that is fun and a long way from the traditional world of Canadian decimal.

Stamp collectors call such an approach topical collecting, and it has become a fun way for people to find a collecting focus in the massive field of world issues.

That reminded me that I had often thought it would be interesting to put together a stamp collection featuring military bands. I mentioned that to Serge, and commented that it was too bad there were no notes or coins along that subject, because then I could put together a topical collection that included both coin and stamps.

It turns out that Serge was sure he had seen at least one banknote around that theme. What’s more, just a few hours later he had tracked one down on the bourse. It was a nice, crisp Bahamian $5 note with the local army band on the back, replete with white tunics and helmets.

I’m not sure how big my new collection will get. I figure there cannot be more than half a dozen items that meet the criteria, and I’m also sure that while my total cost will be modest, the collection will never be worth what it costs me to assemble. Even so, it will be a fun search that I expect will take a couple of years.

My point here is that you don’t have to collect ultra-high-end rarities to have fun. You can build a modest collection that is only of interest to you.

Collecting is, first and foremost, a hobby. Find your fun and enjoy.

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