Putting together a type set of coins is popular for coin collectors of all ages and experience levels. It embraces the love of collecting variety versus accumulation. A popular method among collectors is to build a “One From Every Country” (OFEC for short) type set. The level of diversity, historical curiosity and geographic references are the primary drivers that motivate and when complete is appreciated by both collectors and non-collectors alike.
Outline What Types of Coins to Collect
All you need is one coin from each country but which coin? The beautiful thing about an OFEC is that there are no rules or defined lists of what an OFEC set should contain. The first step to take is to determine your budget, time, and desire of what you want and based on whatever you choose you can't be wrong. Some popular methods are:
- small copper or brass coins like the U.S. cent
- by designs that best represent a country (or ones you just like)
- by composition like silver & gold
Develop a Strategy
Once you have budget and goal in mind the next step is to develop a strategy as to what countries will you get coins from. Sounds easy but what is a country? Here are some thoughts to consider:
- Do you include territories like the Falkland Islands who have their own coinage but are part of the United Kingdom
- What about former countries? It wasn't that long ago when the country of Yugoslavia existed but has since splintered into 7 different countries.
- Not all countries or territories produce coinage. For example, Guam is a self governing territory and they use U.S. currency for everyday transactions, Guam has no coinage of their own.
The next hurdle is getting a list of countries. There are some online lists you can get like the current U.N. members or even visiting the CIA's website. But for a collector I recommend the Krause Catalog of World Coins. It will provide you not just a resource for countries but also a list of every coin minted during a given time period. I highly recommend getting a used copy that is 2-3 years old as these can be picked up at places like Amazon.com or E-bay for just a few dollars. One that I recommend and use often is the Krause Circulating World Coins 1901-Present catalog, I've seen this as low as $5.
Storage and Presentation
The final phase of starting an OFEC set evolves around storage and presentation. Do I put them in a box, album, cabinet, or display case? This is really dependent on personal taste and preservation needs, if you are pursing coins with high values you may opt to store them in hard plastic holders like air-tites.
However, most collectors simply use cardboard 2x2's or mylar 2x2 flips and store them in a binder using coin pocket pages made to accommodate and 2x2 holder. While this may be practical and easy it may not be the best in presentation format. To help, we developed a template of countries and flags to that can be inserted along side your coin so you can visually see the country reference. The template was made based on the Krause Circulating World Coins and may not exactly fit your needs but more than likely will fill most of your needs and provide you with a great starting point.
The templates were designed to accommodate an 8 ½ x 11 inch sheet of perforated 2x2 blank inserts but this does not mean you cannot print these on regular paper or heavier card stock. If you download the template and wish to use with regular paper then I recommend after opening the file to select all of the cells in the table and to add a gray border to create cut-lines.