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Coin collecting

The art of collecting and studying coins, other currency, and medals is known as numismatics. A coin collector or a person who studies coins is called a numismatist. These terms are derived from the Latin word numisma, which means 'money'. Some numismatists are professionals who appraise, buy, and sell coins, but most collect only as a hobby.

Coin collecting as a hobby appeared more than 2,000 years ago in Greece. The private collections of 15th-and 16th-century kings and nobles formed the basis for the great national collections of Austria, Hungary, and France.

A good coin collection is an investment. The value of many coins increases over a period of time because the demand for these coins increases while their supply remains unchanged. Coins may be of historical importance. The words and illustrations stamped on ancient coins are often a unique source of information about the civilizations that produced them.

The easiest and most inexpensive way to start collecting coins is to begin with coins that are still in circulation. There are many other ways for a beginner to get help in starting a collection. Books about coins and coin collecting can be found in public libraries. A beginning collector can meet other people who share a similar interest in coins by joining a coin club. In such clubs, collectors can get together for the exchange of information or even for buying and selling coins. Some clubs sponsor auctions in which coins are sold to the highest bidder.

Hire purchase

'Buy now, pay later' – that is the attraction of buying on credit. In a credit transaction, goods, money, or services are given to the buyer in exchange for the promise to pay in the future not only the full cost of the goods, money, or services but also an extra charge – called interest – for the privilege of using credit.

The system of buying goods on credit became very common during the second half of the 20th century. Today a large proportion of all the families in Great Britain buy durable goods – television sets, washing machines, refrigerators, articles of furniture, motorcars, and motorcycles – by hire purchase. In the USA, the proportion is much higher than in Great Britain and people there spend over 10% of their income on hire purchase installments.

The price of an article bought in this way is always higher because of interest. The buyer pays a part, perhaps 14 (one-quarter) or 13 (one-third), of the price when the goods are delivered to him. He then makes regular payments, weekly or monthly, until the full price has been paid. The seller remains the legal owner of the goods until the final payment has been made. In some countries, the governments control hire purchase by fixing the proportion of the first payments and the installments.

Hire purchase has its advantages. It helps newly married couples with small incomes to furnish their homes. It increases the demand on goods and in this way helps trade and employment.

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