“I don’t think any collector knows his true motivation.” – Robert Mapplethorpe
My mother used to collect spoons. Each year we’d make up to two road trips. Any stops we made along the way that sold spoons with the location’s name would be added to the collection. Eventually we got her a display case for them which proudly showed all the places we had been. There was nothing particularly special about any of the spoons. There may have been one or two oddball shaped spoons and one I remember well from Bucksnort, Tennessee. But the fun and purpose, I think, was the hunt for a spoon and then later the recollection of a certain roadside gas station or souvenir shop.
While I have coins and banknotes from every country I’ve visited, my motivation for collecting currency isn’t quite the same as my Mother’s when she collected spoons. But it is similar. For example, when I look over my banknotes from Mongolia I fondly recall the gers (or nomadic huts) and the Naadam Festival which both appear on Mongolian currency. Likewise Cuban coins remind me of all the national heroes of the past that emblazoned fences and the sides of buildings.
Currently, I do not have much in the way of collectible currency from either Egypt or Australia. But what I do have has camels, the Sphinx, and kangaroos. Why? Because as my collections grow, so does my understanding of the issuing nations behind the collectible coins and banknotes. For me, the broadening of my understanding of the World around me through its currency is what keeps me collecting. What is it for you?