Monday, March 25, 2024

Coin Collecting Tips for Beginners


Many people begin their coin-collecting journey by finding an interesting coin in their pocket change, inheriting a coin collection or acquiring a few coins by some other means. Other people think they have found a rare and valuable coin and are looking to get rich quick. Regardless of where you start, here are some tips that will ensure you have a long and profitable coin collecting journey.

1.) Start Simple and Small

Unless you are a millionaire and a thousand-dollar mistake won't bother you, you'll want to ease into the hobby and learn the ropes before you make any major purchases. Start with smaller coin purchases and coin sets that are easy to assemble. Take the time to learn about the coins, their history, how to grade them, and coin pricing.

Many great coin collectors started by assembling a set of Lincoln pennies. They are still found in circulation, and most can be purchased for a moderate price at a local coin show, coin shop, or online. If your budget is a little larger, you may want to start with building a collection of Indian Head pennies or collecting a type set of United States coins.

2.) Collect What You Like

Many people ask, "What should I collect?" The short answer is, "Collect what you like!" Select coins or a series of coins that interest you. It may be a fascinating design on the coin, the history behind the coin or a story that is associated with the coin. Use the Internet to research the history of a coin or to learn about its origins. However, be careful if you purchase coins on the Internet. They may be overpriced or counterfeit.

Regardless, if the coin piques your interest you will be more likely to learn about them and that education will help you avoid costly mistakes in your coin collecting journey. The Lincoln penny is rich in history and has some great stories behind some of the coins. Some young collectors collect world coins that have a common theme, such as queens, fish, buildings, flowers, etc. The possibilities are endless and it can be as interesting as you make it. Finally, as you begin your coin collecting journey be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to "making a quick buck." You will meet people and unscrupulous coin dealers that will try to sell you coins at bargain-basement prices. You will soon find out that the old adage of "if it's too good to be true, it probably is" will hold true in this situation. Stick with collecting what you like and purchase your coins from a trusted coin dealer.

3.) Handle Coins Carefully & Store Them Properly
Although coins are made of metal and we tend to think of metal is very tough, the surface of a coin is very delicate and can be damaged easily. Different metals will react differently with the atmosphere around them.
Practicing safe coin storage and handling techniques will protect the value of your coins for generations to come. Handle your coins wearing cotton or latex gloves. If these are not available, then only handle the coin by its edge. Most importantly, never clean a coin! Coin dealers will be able to tell that has been cleaned and it will be considered a "damaged coin." This will greatly reduce its value or possibly make it worthless.

4.) It's Not a Race
Building a solid collection of coins that will appreciate over time is not a race. In fact, most coin collectors who hurry with their purchases end up getting frustrated very quickly and losing money when it comes time to sell their coin collections. Take your time and learn about the particular coins before you purchase them.
Also, don't purchase the first coin that comes along. Wait for the coin that is the quality you are seeking and is being offered at a reasonable price that you are willing to pay. Done right, coin collecting is a hobby that can last a lifetime.

5.) Buy the Book
There is an old adage that states "Buy the book before you buy the coin." People who have sold their coin collections for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars not only followed these simple rules, but also took the time to learn about the coins they were collecting. The Internet is a great source of information and, unfortunately, misinformation. A great book for the beginner as well as the seasoned collector is The Guide Book of United States Coins, also known as the Red Book. Take the time to read the introductory chapters of this book and gain an education before you jump into the pricing information that it is also known for.

6.) Magazines and Websites
 Because you're reading this article right now, it shows that you are looking for more information about coin collecting. There are popular coins collecting magazines such as: Coin World and Numismatic News. Coin related websites can also be a great source of information but be careful of websites that are just trying to sell you overpriced coins.

7.) Join a Coin Club
One of the best ways to learn more about coins and keep your interest in coin collecting alive is to join a coin club. Many cities and towns across the United States have local coin clubs. A quick Internet search will tell you if one is nearby. The American Numismatic Association (ANA) is the largest organization dedicated to numismatic education in the country. Also, there are various specialty coin clubs that focus on error coins, early American copper coins, Liberty Seated type coins, etc. Regardless of your area of interest or level of expertise, there is a coin club that will meet your needs.

8.) Visit a Coin Show or Coin Shop
Many coins can be purchased online. Unfortunately, this does not give you the opportunity to hold, inspect and compare the coins you are about to purchase. By visiting a coin show or local coin shop, you will be able to evaluate the coin firsthand before you purchase it. Additionally, a trusted coin dealer can provide you with valuable information that will help you with your purchase. Many coin shows also hold mini-seminars that help new collectors hone their coin collecting skills.

9.)Have a Plan
Before you start a coin collection, do some research as to how much money it will take to assemble the collection. If there are some showstopper coins, that doesn't mean you shouldn't start that particular collection. You may have to save up or wait until you have enough disposable income to buy the more expensive coins.

Set up a spreadsheet to list the coins you need to complete that particular collection. Also, list the estimated cost of each coin and what grade you are looking to purchase. As you purchased the coins check them off your list so you don't purchase duplicate coins.

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