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What Are Collectable Geocoins?

Rotary International collectable coin.

When I first started geocaching, I had no idea that there are actually TWO types of geocoins: trackable and collectable. It wasn’t until I doing research for the EatStayPlay.com Geocoin that I discovered the difference!

Back in April, I wrote an article all about what trackable geocoins are and how they work. But, since then, I’ve realized that many people might not actually know the difference between a trackable geocoin and one that you collect.

The difference (in a nutshell): A collectable geocoin typically does NOT have a tracking number on geocaching.com. While a collectable geocoin might move from cache to cache, its movements are not able to be tracked on geocaching.com.

This coin is non-trackable.

Some collectable geocoins DO have an ID number. That ID number is like when an artist makes prints of a painting and says: Print #127 of #230. While knowing that a collectable coin is part of a limited edition is really neat, I think that the ID number would cause confusion with people thinking that the coin is trackable!

Designs (and materials) vary from coin to coin. A standard geocoin is a minted, metal coin that can range in size from a dime to the size of a silver dollar. While most people think ah, “coin=round” that’s not necessarily the case. A “coin” can be in any shape and even be three-dimensional with raised portions.

4 Tips For Your Collection

1. Collect non-trackable coins.

There are a bunch of non-trackable coins available for personal collections. They range from minted coins, to wooden nickels, to plastic tokens, to signature items. (Not sure what a signature item is? Keep checking back, I’ll do an article about that soon!)

An example of a wooden nickel I found in a cache.

2. You should only collect unactivated trackable coins!

If the coin is already activated, then the owner is expecting it to move from cache to cache. Trust me, coin owners get really frustrated when their TRACKABLE geocoin ends up in somebody’s shoebox collection under the bed never to be seen again!

(I just found an article where the author said that any time she finds ANY geocoin in a cache, it goes into her personal collection. Not cool!)

Don't take a trackable item from a cache unless you're planning on moving it to another cache!

3. Collecting activated trackable coins.

I know I just said to only collect unactivated trackable coins. But, the exception to that is if YOU are the owner of the coin. ESP Boss has two coins from our original EatStayPlay.com Geocoin minting that he has kept. They are activated and he is the owner, but the coins remain in a frame on the office wall.

4. “Collect” the coin by discovering it.

Unlike finding a trackable item in a cache, taking it and moving it along, you can mark the trackable item’s number as “discovered” on your geocaching.com profile. That means that you are saying that you’ve seen the item but are not responsible for moving it along. I know of several geocachers who have an online “collection” of geocoins that they have found. This is perfect if you don’t want the responsibily of moving a coin or if you only cache occasionally. By discovering the coin, you can show the coin on your profile without getting angry emails from the coin owner when you haven’t moved it in 4 months!

Readers Weigh In:

  • What types of geocaching items do you collect? Coins? Signature items? Etc.
  • Have you ever had somebody “collect” your trackable?
  • Do you move trackable items or do you “discover” them? Which do you prefer?
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