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Geocaching - A Global Hobby
March 19, 2008

Geocaching Growing Internationally

Last June I wrote a few blog posts about the coin related hobby of Geocaching. It's a great family hobby, where coins or other objects and a logbook are hidden and coordinates are logged into a central site, allowing others to find the "treasure" and record that they have been there. My family tried it back in June and enjoyed the experience. We were all quite surprised to find that there were many locations in our area. It was a great way to get outdoors, do some hiking and enjoy a little "treasure hunt".

Over the ensuing months I have kept an eye on the Geocaching hobby, especially with regards to the coins people use for their cache. I noted in my June posts that Geocaching was fast becoming a global enterprise and you can readily see on eBay a significant number of Geocaching coins from locations around the globe. Back in June I noted that there were about 430 total Geocaching coins listed on eBay, today I see there are 768 as of this posting.

These coins come in all shapes and sizes and they honor just about all areas and imaginable themes. While the majority are round coins with color enamel, you will also find a variety of examples in unusual shapes, such as the shape of the home state, county or country, native animals, local landmarks, or just plain things people find interesting such as candy, Ferris wheels, pets, plants, musical groups, insects, vehicles, toys, recycling, literary figures and mystical elements.

You can also see that more and more areas of the globe are being represented on Geocaching coins. Back in June I noted a variety of coins from areas such as Vienna, United Kingdom, Coventry, Isle of Man, Beijing and Japan. Today I notice an even wider selection from more places including Germany, Italy, Singapore, Canada, Norway, Wales, England, Hawaii, Czech Republic, Finland, Netherlands and Switzerland among others. Another phenomenon emerging with Geocaching coins are multiple country pieces. Today I noted a dual country coin for the U.S. and Canada, as well as a triple country coin for Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

It seems clear that people are taking great pride in their adventures and travels in Geocaching. In addition to just being fun, hobbyists are building a real sense of accomplishment as they branch out to larger areas and grander excursions. Without a doubt, this is one of the largest peripheral growth areas tied to the exonumia wing of numismatics.

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About the Author
Tom Michael has been Krause Publications primary market analyst on more than 80 world and United States coin catalogs produced over the last 20 years. He came to KP in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree in history, a master of arts degree in economics and a history of coin collecting stretching back to the 1960s. He began collecting world coins as a child by asking friends and relatives to bring coins back from overseas trips, visiting flea markets and having his mother watch for foreign coins in her register at the local grocery store. Today he works with a dedicated base of over 200 contributors to provide accurate market values for the five-volume Standard Catalog of World Coins series, as well as many specialty catalogs, including Coins & Currency of the Middle East and the fifth edition of Unusual World Coins.

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