Is there such a thing as a really “typical” coin collector? Probably not. They seem to come in all styles and range from youngsters of around the age of ten, up to at least one very active individual I know who is 100. There are some good demographics on the kinds of people who collect coins, so we know what the average person is like. But average is not necessarily typical. Best observation is that nearly every collector is an individual who enjoys the hobby in a unique fashion. There are no regulations or rules that must be followed to be a successful collector, so practically everyone just sets their own pace and has fun.
The world of coin collecting is divided into several areas of activity. There are those who just like the challenge of collecting and owning something of interest and value. There are also students who love the history and artistry of old coins, but sometimes do not even own any of them. There are also investors who speculate on the value of rare pieces and enjoy beating the market when prices go up and they make a profit. There are dealers, both professional and amateurs, who buy and sell coins to accommodate the market.
Many, if not most, people interested in old coins are some kind of a combination of all of the above. It is because of this diversity that everyone seems to have a different approach to their involvement in numismatics. Then too, most interests change or evolve over the years. Collectors become specialists, or investors, or even go into dealing when it is time to sell a collection.
The really great thing about this hobby is that there are no “norms.” Everyone is free to participate at any level, and to enjoy their coins as they see fit. Youngsters often become dealers and businessmen from their involvement. Investors learn to appreciate their holdings as works of art, and the senior generation sees coins as a healthy means of relaxation and a satisfying challenge to stimulate both mind and psyche. It would be dull if everyone enjoyed the same thing. Vive la difference.