All hobbies as you know, cost money! Some, way more than others...
Hobbies are something that most Americans enjoy. Some love to play golf. Others are heavily into fishing and will go out every chance they get. Although I have never enjoyed the hobby or sport of hunting, there are many that do. Those with deep pockets will go to far away places such as Africa for big game, and those with a more shallow wallet will just count the days until deer season comes in the Fall. My point of this post is while most have one or more hobbies, all of them cost money. Some a lot more money than others. But the hobby we all share here, is one that if we are lucky, will not only cost money, but it's a hobby that for the most part, is one that will pay us back in the long run, more money than we have put into it.
As far as needing or wanting to be "paid back", this will to a certain degree depend heavily on just what coins one collects. There are, as we know, many coin series to choose from. For those starting out, what to collect can be a huge decision and will depend on how much time and money we want to allot to this hobby that for years has been known as "The Hobby of Kings". For all of us that have collected for many years, we are fully aware how the hobby of a Numismitist got that label. If one collects high dollar pieces such as $20 Gold coins, one almost needs to be a King to afford such coins. But there are many coin series that are quite affordable.
Many of us fall into one of three categories. Old timers like myself have collected for years. Others collected somewhat when they were young, but family and careers became priorities, and coin collecting fell by the wayside for the most part. Now those former collectors are at a point where the kids are pretty much grown or off to school, and the old allure is calling them back. And last but not least, there are those that for many different reasons are just now starting into the hobby, but are unsure as to what to collect. And these folks, just like the rest of us, decide what to collect, based on the funds available to purchase these pieces of copper, silver or gold.
For the brand new collector it's very important to study and research the coin series you're leaning toward collecting. This is so important to adhere to so that you do not make the mistakes in number, that many of us long time collectors have repeatedly made. All of us that fall into this category remember each and every one of these painful snafus that have occurred in our collecting life. The more you study, and the more research you do before the purchase is made, will ensure "YOU WILL MAKE LESS OF THESE MISTAKES"!
As far as what to collect depends on two things. How much in the way of funds you have to put toward your coins & collect what YOU like. Not what someone else likes or has tried to steer you toward. In past posts I have tried to steer new collectors away from modern coins, BUT there are many modern coins that are most worthy to collect. But just imagine if there were 6 or 7 original oil paintings of the Mona Lisa? Wouldn't be worth near as much, would they? It's the same way with coins. If you collect, and the coin you buy has 10-20 thousand pieces just like it in the same grade, that coin may not be the best investment. But you don't have to collect coins as if they are an investment. Hobbies like the others mentioned above, many do not make you money for the most part. Some do. But most do not. So again collect what you like and what you can afford and what makes YOU happy.
Hobbies are supposed to be enjoyable. And if you can make money from your hobby that you enjoy, that's great. But if you don't make money from your hobby, it's not the end of the world. Regardless of what we collect, chances are we will die and no one but our heirs will make any money. This is because most collectors do a hell of a lot more buying than they do selling. Or else we would not have anything to show for this hobby we all enjoy. So we die, and then leave a pile of gold or silver for our heirs to fight over. We haven't made a cent here, have we?
The main thing is to always remember to have fun with your coins. The rest will for the most part, will take care of itself. AND COLLECT WHAT YOU LIKE!