The first amateur geologists were prospectors looking for valuable minerals and gemstones for commercial purposes. Eventually, however, more and more people have been drawn to amateur geology for recreational purposes, mainly for the beauty that rocks and minerals provide. Fossil collecting, or fossil hunting, is the collection of fossils for scientific study, hobby, or profit. Fossil collecting, as practiced by amateurs, is the predecessor of modern paleontology and many still collect fossils and study fossils as amateurs. Professionals and amateurs alike collect fossils for their scientific value. A commercial trade in fossils has also long existed.
Rocks, minerals, fossils, arrowheads, and other natural history items are included in this category. These are items that we have found at estate sales or at auction that may have been part of a collection.