For reasons I’ll explain shortly, I decided I wanted to start collecting coins. But, because I’m not the most patient of souls, to complete the collection in a timely manner, I want to be able to hunt through a lot of coins at a time. To do this, I need to be able to withdraw large bags of bagged coins from the bank. Banks, however, won’t let you do this on a personal account, because ordering in large bags of bagged coins isn’t cheap. Which meant I needed a business account. And to get a business account, you need a business… Which is why my new job is as a coin collector.

Or, more specifically, a Cointuber!

A cointuber, as I’m sure everyone knows, is a coin collector who hunts through coins in YouTube videos…

And, before anyone says anything, I’d just like to make it clear that, it’s not my fault!

Seriously, all I wanted to do was withdraw a big bunch of coins, each week, and hunt through them for the interesting ones. You know, like a coin collector might! When I learned that I’d need a business account to do so, I expected to be charged for the privilege. What I didn’t expect was just how much these charges would be!

But, as it turned out, that would be the least of my problems…

Anyway, “Why,” I hear you cry, in an unnecessarily exasperated tone of voice, I might add, “Why do you want to be a coin collector?!”

Which, to be fair, is not an unreasonable question.

Simply put, it’s to help with my writing.

After I get told how my latest tumour has responded to the Radiotherapy, I’m going to start writing that book I’ve been putting off for so long. Typically, though, I tend to write quite late into the night, after everyone else has gone to bed. And past experience has told me that if I try and go to sleep right after I’ve been doing creative writing, I’m doomed to insomnia.

Apparently J. R. R. Tolkien was a night owl as well…
Image by Comfreak from Pixabay

It’s okay for things like short posts, such as this one, they’re only a couple of thousand words long. I can write the entire post and it’s off my mind by the time I get into bed. It has an ending, so I don’t have to think on it any more. With a larger work, running into tens of thousands of words, there will be months before I reach the ending. That’s months of nights where my mind is whirring about what happens next.

What I need is something I can focus on, after I finish writing and before I try to sleep. But it has to be something distracting in its own right. Something that demands focus and attention, but has a clearly defined end…

In the past I’ve tried reading, but that doesn’t really work. More often than not, reading someone else’s work just makes me think of my own. Watching TV isn’t distracting enough. Gaming just leaves me frustrated because I suck so much!

In theory, I could do some weight training, have a shower and then tuck down. A shower just before bed has been shown to help you get to sleep. But, let’s be realistic, here, this is me we’re talking about. There’s literally zero chance that I’ll be working out every night, at one in the morning…!

I’d initially planned on doing jigsaws. But I did a test run and found that, while it was immersive enough, I really struggled to walk away from an incomplete puzzle. In fact, I stayed up until five in the morning until I finished it. Yeah, that’s not the answer.

And then fate intervened…

For some obscure reason, YouTube recommended me a video from Christopher Collects, a British coin collector and cointuber. In the video, Christopher got a big bag of 50p coins and hunted through them for the collectables. I was stunned. I hadn’t realised that there were so many commemorative 50p coins. Truth be told, I was barely aware that there were any!

And it wasn’t just the 50p coins: the £2 coin and the 10p coin has commemorative designs as well…

And so an idea struck me.

I mean, I used to be a bit of a coin collector, when I was young, and it was entertaining enough. And it appeared that a large bag of bagged coins contained enough coins to be distracting, but not too many to be overwhelming. It seemed ideal. I could work my way through a bag of coins a night, and, over time, try and build a complete collection of all the circulating British coins.

And if, and when, I got bored of the idea, I could simply cash all the coins back in, for the same money I paid for them. Sure, the coins would devalue a little over time but with the interest rate and rate of inflation where they are at the moment, what did I have to lose? Becoming a coin collector was, in essence, a hobby that was free.

It was perfect!

Becoming a coin collector seemed like a bullseye for my needs.
Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

So I started looking into it and, as you might expect, it wasn’t as perfect as all that.

Mainly due to the volume of coins that I wanted to hunt through each night. As expected, I simply wouldn’t be able to get hold of enough coins on a personal account. Which is something Christopher Collects had made abundantly clear in his videos. He’d had to get a business account to be a YouTube coin collector, and I would need one too.

The problem with business accounts is that they have monthly fees. So, immediately, the hobby was no longer free. But, I figured, how bad could the rates really be? And I booked an appointment with the manager of my local bank to see what sort of damage we were talking about.

And, as it turned out, the monthly fee wasn’t that bad. The cash handling fees, on the other hand, were something else! There were charges every time you withdraw cash from the bank. There were also charges every time you deposit it back in. These charges, depending on the bank, can be as much as:

  • £1 for every £100 of coins that you withdraw
  • £1 for every £100 of coins that you deposit

Given that my plan was to hunt through 1,000 coins of each of the £2 coin and the 50p coin and 2,000 of the 10p coin, every week, these costs were going to add up. I mean, that’s £2,700 worth of coins going in and out of the account four times a month. Which means a monthly charge of more than £200, at the example rate. I was relieved to discover that there are cheaper options available. But not that much cheaper. Still 70p per £100, each way. Becoming a coin collector, as I wished to be, was not going to be cheap.

In fact, these costs were way outside what I could justify paying, for what amounted to a distraction. My heart sank as I realised that it was back to the drawing board for me. And then the Bank Manager told me, “Oh, but if you open a new business account, there are no charges for the first 18 months…”

Game on!

So we set about filling in the application for my new business venture. Naturally, though, a business account requires a business plan, which is where the whole YouTube element comes in. The only way to turn my distraction into a business, is to earn an income from it. Basically, I need to emulate what Christopher Collects does and become a Cointuber. Christopher Collects, incidentally, has 44,000 subscribers, so making money as a Cointuber is a concept that does have some merit.

All I have to do is become a YouTube star…!

But first, the new business needed a name. And, because it will be linked to this website, what else was there to go for except Chubby Coins?!

Examples of some commemorative coins that I’ve already found. Each of which is above face value.
Which is to say, were I to sell them on eBay, the £2 coin would go for £3.50, the 50p coin would go for £7.50 and the 10p coin would go for £1.25.

So, the application was completed and submitted for approval at head office. A mere formality, I was assured…

Needless to say, my proposal was rejected. I called the bank manager and he said that there was nothing he could do. He also said that he’d never seen this before in his life!

I like to blaze my own trails…

So, I took stock.

And I tried again with another bank. In a branch in a larger town, where the levels of coinage I would be after would not seem so unusual.

I also completed the application online. And, while I was scrupulously honest with my proposal, not being face to face with a person meant I couldn’t keep randomly offering more details of the challenges involved. I was also able to come up with a more thought-out business plan, before I applied. Something that had a decent chance of working.

And I was accepted.

I became the owner, and sole trader, of Chubby Coins…

Just as the Coronavirus Lockdown started!

Already, two of my eighteen charge-free months have been frittered away, before I’ve been able to set foot in my bank.

Which is fine, because I’ve still got a couple of things to sort out before I start my life as a Cointuber coin collector. Firstly, I need to sort out the funds to act as a float for the coins that will be withdrawn and repaid each week.

Thankfully, I have that bit sorted. Hopefully!

Back in 2005, I saw a Steve Martin film called, A Simple Twist of Fate. In the film, Martin’s character bought a new gold coin each month, by way of a retirement plan. After a bit of research I realised that this is a solid retirement plan, so I started buying gold coins on eBay. At the time, gold was about $560 an ounce, and I was only buying smaller coins, each one way less than an ounce. But, after only a few months, the price of gold started going up very steeply. It quickly became too rich for my blood.

I ended up with a collection of 12 gold coins.

My hoard…

Cut to today, when the price of gold is currently considerably higher. If I sell my gold coins, I should have enough to act as the float for Chubby Coins. Or, as my brother Simon put it, “I can take my gold coin collection, and turn it into trash!”

Good old Simon.

Selling my gold coins, however, isn’t as easy as I hoped. I’d prefer to sell them as a job lot, which means I can’t really sell them on eBay. This means that I need to go through a bullion dealer. And, because of the Lockdown, I’ll need to send the coins by post…

And, once they’re out of my hands, how will I know I’m getting a fair deal? I don’t know anything about the gold coin market!

I fear that I’ll just have to be brave, choose one of the dealers and take the plunge. I’m not looking forward to it.

Assuming I do get enough money from the sale, the next issue is going to be collecting and re-depositing the coins. You see, while an individual coin is pretty light, a thousand of them isn’t. The weights of the coins are as follows:

  • £2 coins weigh 12g each, so 1,000 £2 coins weigh 12kg
  • 50p coins weigh 8g each, so 1,000 50p coins weigh 8kg
  • 10p coins weigh 6.5g each, so 2,000 10p coins weigh 13kg

It looks like being a coin collector is going to get me strong, because that’s a total weight of 33kg (73lb)…

Which I’ll need to carry to and from the bank, once a week. Frankly, I’m almost looking forward to someone trying to mug me. The look on their face when they put their back out…!

And then there’s just the small matter of becoming a successful Cointuber.

You see, part of the business plan is being able to put ad revenue on my videos. But in order to be eligible for monitisation, a YouTube channel needs 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watched content, in the previous 12 months.

And I’m currently a long way short of that!

[If you want to help with that, incidentally, please feel free to subscribe here.]

Mind you, it’s to be expected that I don’t have the subscribers or the watch time. After all, while I’ve had a channel for a long time, I haven’t posted much on there. Except for more recently, when I’ve been experimenting with ways to post reasonable videos. It’s a work in progress…

Thankfully, Cointubers only seem to show their hands in their videos. So, at least I don’t have to try and look presentable. But I do need an angle; a way to stand out from the coin collector crowd.

So I thought, what could be better than maths?!

As such, I intend to keep a running tally of how many of each type of the coins I collect. Which is why I want to count them in batches of 1,000. That will keep the numbers nice and round, and make it far easier to demonstrate the likelihood of finding any given coin.

Naturally, I’ll present this information in a more easily digestible way, like:

You can expect to search through this many 50p coins, to find this particular coin.

Which means that I get to make a spreadsheet. Yay! I do love a good spreadsheet.

There may even be graphs… With rolling averages and everything…

It’s so exciting!

Yeah, he gets it.
Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

Seriously, though, I’m hoping that this sort of information will be useful to people who are thinking about becoming coin collectors. Or even those who have been collecting for a while. A realistic, and up to date, expectation of how many coins they’ll need to search through to find what they want.

I’ve also put together collection sheets, for me to properly organise my coins as I sort through them. These sheets will form the counting surface for the videos and, in an ideal world, other people will like what they see. If so then I can look into turning the collection sheets into a form of merchandising.

Starting a business is not really what I had in mind, when I decided that collecting coins would be an ideal distraction from my writing. But a distraction it will certainly be. And I’ll have to try and make a success of Chubby Coins, because the business aspect is what got me the business account in the first place. If I don’t make an effort to make Chubby Coins work, then I’ll feel I got the business account fraudulently. And that doesn’t work for me.

If everything falls into place, by the time the eighteen month charge-free window is up, I’ll actually be generating enough money to pay the monthly fees. Regardless, I’ll certainly try my hardest to make that happen.

And if the distraction works properly, and with a bit of luck, I’ll have published a novel within that eighteen months as well. And I’ll finally be back on the path I set for myself when we moved here last year.