Coin Collecting Themes - One From Every Country

January 31, 2009

East African 5 cent - East Africa Ceased to Exist in 1964

A popular method of quickly building an interesting and diverse coin collection is by collecting using the 'one from every country' theme. In coin collecting circles if you collect with this method then you are abbreviated to being an OFEC collector. Put simply this just involves collecting one coin from every country. Of course like most other ways of collecting coins this leads to complications. What exactly defines a country and at what moment in time do you derive your country list will determine what coins you need. Here's some complications:

  • Countries come and go, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were countries that existed for a significant portion of the 20th century. Both have broken up into separate and distinct countries now.
  • What exactly defines a country is subject to a lot of argument. There are definite countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, but there are other so called countries whose status is a lot more murky. These include the Principality of the Hutt River and the Kingdom of Redonda. These 'countries', despite their claims have never been recognised as countries internationally, but they do issue coins.
  • Many European countries of today were formed from a number of independent provinces and kingdoms in the 18th and 19th centuries. Italy and Germany are good examples of this. These provinces and kingdoms could be legitimate inclusions in an OFEC collecting list.

So if you are going to use OFEC as a collecting theme the first thing you need to do is define exactly WHAT your list will be. Some good starts for creating your country list include:

  • Using the 20th Century Catalog of Standard Coins from Krause Publications to determine your list. Put simply, if a country or political entity is in the catalogue then you need a coin from it. You can expand this easily by including countries and kingdoms and provinces from the 19th Century Krause and even further back into the 18th and 17th Centuries.
  • Use the United Nations Members Nations list as your list of countries you need coins from. At the time of writing this list contains 192 nations.
  • Use a list of countries in the world from an authority such as the CIA. At time of writing the US State Department and the CIA recognized 195 countries in the world.
  • Use a list devised by other OFEC collectors. An internet coin collecting forum like the Coin Community would be a good place to find such a list.
  • Use any of the information above and your own research to come up with your own list. You don't need to include just countries and kingdoms and micro-nations, you could include any coin issuing authority at all. The could widen your collection into Canadian municipal tokens, English Conders, US State Tax Tokens, Australian Bread Tokens, German Phone Tokens.

At the end of the day what your list is doesn't really matter. You may, in fact expand or contract your list as time goes by. It's all about the fun of collecting and hunting for that next coin. So, why not get your country list together today and start collecting a coin from every country?

Posted by mnemtsas at January 31, 2009 12:14 PM
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