As I have posted previously, I collect pre-1982 pennies and all nickels because their intrinsic values (i.e. melt values) exceeds their respective face values. As of today, February 28, 2007, a pre-1982 penny has an intrinsic value of about 1.8254 cents (i.e., 182.54% of its face value) and a nickel has an intrinsic value of about 7.80 cents (i.e., about 156.01% of its face value). (See Coinflation.com.) I wouldn't call myself a serious collector, although I do save these coins when I receive them in change.
I enjoy collecting coins because coins are piece of American history. From a certain point of view they are small and readily accessible pieces of art. As such, I was really looking forward to the unveiling of the new Presidential dollar coins which were released on February 15, 2007. The first Presidential dollar coin contains a picture of the first president of the United States, George Washington.
Unfortunately, the new dollar coins are hard to find. The U.S. Mint is supposedly making 300 million of them, but I have yet to see one of them. I have been to three bank branches over the past three weeks, but each one has been out of the new coins. I was informed today that the branch I most recently visited had received a big box of the coins but that they were quickly snapped up by customers. I assume that this means that some people are hoarding a lot of these coins. I generally don't have a problem with people hoarding coins, as I do the same. However, I really wish banks would set limits on how many of these coins they sell to individual customers, as it doesn't seem right that someone can purchase hundreds of dollars of the new coins and then turn around and sell them on eBay or in a coin shop at a premium price.