In creating a memento of someone famous, or an event or place is a common occurrence. Some of these mementos will be more popular than others. While there are many methods of commemorating these people and events, one of the most popular and impressive is to be commemorated on a coin. This is due to the fact that a large amount of affection, artistry and attention to detail is required to make a commemorative coin. This not only makes the subject appropriately honored, but makes these coins highly sought after by collectors.
In the United States, commemorative coins are still relatively new. It is true that a few of these special coins were issued before the 1960s, it wasn't until later that commemorative coins were produced in large numbers. The very first commemorative coin that the United States minted was a two and a half dollar coin in 1948 to remember the California Gold Rush. Over the next half century, many other commemorative coins were produced, with the number greatly increasing from the 1960s onward. This is because these coins created a very positive response from the public and their creation attracts more collectors. Coin collecting is something that anyone can easily begin, and many get their start with commemorative coins.
Before the 1960s, all commemorative coins were also legal tender. After the 1960s, many commemorative coins were not legal tender, but items that were produced by the private sector specifically for the collectors' market. Let's face it, collectors probably would not spend these coins anyway. Some of these have become very valuable as the years have gone by, and the rarest can now cost many times what they originally sold for. It is important to remember that not all commemorative coins are "antiques." Even so, with all the new and original commemorative coins produced each year, all of them have the same potential to someday become a valuable collectors item.
If you have ever searched for commemorative coins on eBay, you were probably amazed at the sheer volume of these coins from all over the world and from all time periods that were available. These coins were once very difficult to track down, and now they are so much easier to acquire thanks to the opportunities afforded online.