Personality Traits of Coin Collectors

In sniffing around on the Internet, I discovered a wild assortment of opinions, and very little empirical research about the personality traits of a typical coin collector. Here is what I did find:


An abstract to a PhD thesis written by William S. Cahill1:


“A large number of individuals in the United States engage in the hobbies of stamp collecting and coin collecting. These recreational activities have long been believed to enhance academic learning for children although there has been no empirical evidence to support this belief. ….


The results of this study indicated that the collector group scored significantly higher in academic achievement than did the noncollector group. [boldface mine]. …Suggestions were offered as to how future research might more clearly delineate the relationship between collecting and academic achievement.”


My question is, “Does coin collecting increase intelligence, or do smart people just gravitate to this hobby?”


On a completely different tangent, researchers from Granada University say that a collecting hobby could easily become an obsessive psychological disorder, but that if self-control is practiced, “Collecting items is good from a psychological point of view, as it helps in developing positive skills and attitudes such as perseverance, order, patience and memory.”


Dr. Lopez Torrecillas says that perfectionism, meticulousness and extreme orderliness are common traits in collectors.2




Many folks have these traits, but are not collectors. What other ingredients make a collector?


Passion, patience, ability to roll with ups and downs, and an awareness of trends are other important dimensions, according to Cherie Burbach.3 Ability to roll with whatever comes your way is important for any bounty hunter, whether you have uncovered a brand-new treasure or learned your find is a fake. The writer goes on to say that an awareness of trends doesn’t mean the collector will follow them. “…Collectors like what they like, no matter what anyone else thinks.”


And a last shot. Dealers are different from collectors. Perhaps just like you, they have been involved in coins since their pre-teen years, are very intelligent, have a “coin-collecting gene,” and have exceptional memories. In addition, they are entrepreneurs, excel at risk management, and are willing to work long, crazy hours. (Pat could have written this description of himself, but credit goes to one Doug Winter, “Coin Dealer Traits—Is there a Coin Dealing Gene?”


Good news. My own observations were on the mark.


1 William S. Cahill (Florida Atlantic University) in 1986: Intelligence and Compulsive Personality Traits as Mediators in the Contribution of the Colleting Hobbies to Academic Achievement for Eighth and Ninth Grade Students, PhD thesis.



2 Source: Kate Melville, “Collecting items can trigger obsessive-compulsive disorder,”




3 Cherie Burbach (“Personality Traits of Collectors”,




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