By Simone | 7th February 2019
For Valentine’s Day this year we decided to do what we do best: celebrate our shared love for unique and hard-to-find objects. To do so, we asked some of our passionate experts, sellers and users a couple of questions. Today, we are sharing the story of our coins expert, Eric Toonen and his love for old coins. Together with his fellow experts he also curated a special Valentine’s collection.
Eric Toonen has collected many different things since his childhood, from old toys to glassware and postage stamps, but his true passion is collecting coins. He travels around Europe to find the best pieces and meet up with like-minded collectors.
It all started back in 1980. “This was a curious year for coins in the Netherlands, as the last coins featuring Queen Juliana and the last cent were minted. It really raised my interest, and I kept some coins from that period. Soon I started collecting coins. First ones that were out of circulation, but as my interest in the history behind them grew, the more I went looking for older and better coins.”
The thing Eric likes most about collecting coins is that it teaches you a lot about world history and politics. “As my collection grew I decided to focus on a niche: so-called ‘prison coins’. These were coins and tokens minted in the early 19th century for prisons, workhouses and colonies for vagabonds and other ‘low life’. Since these coins were minted in small numbers, handed back in and created out of low-grade metals that deteriorate in the ground, it’s very difficult to find them, which makes looking for them for me a bit more special. Talking to coin dealers throughout Europe in my search for prison coins often leads to me explaining to them what they are, expanding the knowledge.”
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