I always have to remind myself that honesty is the best policy, at least when someone asks me: "So what do you collect?"
I think some clients / potential clients ask a dealer what they collect as some kind of litmus test - if the answer is as they expect, the dealer gets a tick - if not, better steer clear of him. (A bit like checking out the pipes of a plumber, if you know what I mean.)
The truth of the matter is that I don't really collect, at least not with any semblance of organization. I definitely acquire stock in a very systematic way, but since I don't keep it over the long term, this behaviour doesn't exactly qualify as collecting. The reason I don't collect is because I trade to generate income, which means the more coins & notes I keep back from sale, the harder the rest of my capital has to work.
Now don't get me wrong, I've got just as many 50¢ pieces etc in a jar on top of my fridge as the next guy, a baby proof set for each of my kids (as well as an Unc sovereign struck 100 years before their year of birth), and something of a $1 mintmark collection, but that's it. Oh, there are also some coins that I brought back from my international travels as a single man some 15 years ago sitting in a cocktail shaker that I got for my 21st, as well as a penny set that I put together from coins that I got from my grandparents, but that really is the sum of it. It hardly compares to some of the sets I've helped clients put together.
So what do I get out of it, apart from the profits that keep my family in the lifestyle to which they're accustomed? The experience of holding an interesting, rare, historic and high quality coin or banknote is universal, and I enjoy handling the items I do as much as any collector - perhaps more due to the effort that goes into securing them sometimes!
I guess the difference between myself as a dealer (I don't know if this is the same for any of my colleagues) and collectors is that the satisfaction "they" get from owning an item, I get from trading it successfully. It can sometimes be tough to pack an item for the mail or actually hand it over once payment's been made, but a deal's a deal, and there's always another one just around the corner. It might be a coin instead of a note, a penny instead of a half sovereign, an Adelaide Pound instead of an ancient Roman denarius, but it'll turn up sooner or later.