Coin Collecting for the Novice

Collecting coins can be a fun and entertaining hobby for anyone! A coin collector can choose to focus on many different types of coins and build their collection to fit their interests. You might collect coins from just the U.S. or from around the world, and some people even collect coins as a way to make money. This is an easy hobby to start, and learning can happen all along the way.

The History of Coin Collecting

History experts believe people began using coins around 650 B.C. and started collecting coins as a hobby in the 16th or 17th century. In the United States, the Philadelphia Mint was established in 1792, and the production of American coins has evolved over the years as people have needed different types of coins. Today, we have penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar, and dollar coins.

  • History of Coin Collecting: Read about the history of coins starting in ancient Greece.
  • Collecting Historical Coins: Use this guide to learn what a historical coin is and why people collect them.
  • The History of Coins: Find out about how coins and coin collecting got started here.
  • Coin Collecting: This article goes into detail about the past and present of coin collecting as a hobby.
  • Seven Reasons to Collect Coins: People collect coins for lots of reasons, including an interest in history, a desire to invest in coins that they can sell later on for more than they paid, or just the challenge of tracking down and putting together a collection whether it be as a hobby or for tax reasons.

How to Get Started Collecting Coins

Beginner coin collectors can dive in by reading about different coins and looking at pictures of coins to learn more about them, then deciding what types of coins they want to collect most. Some collectors spend thousands of dollars on coins that are extremely rare, but it is possible to have fun and build an impressive collection without that type of money. One easy and fun way to start a collection is to decide on a theme. Maybe a collection of pennies sounds perfect, or maybe the collection will have a coin from every country in the world. A coin collection can also be based on a certain year, or the Tooth Fairy can even bring a quarter from each state in the country!

Where to Get Coins

When you’re starting out as a coin collector, it may be confusing to know how to find coins. There are many paths to take to start a collection, and the best one will depend on what type of collection is being built. If you want to collect American coins, you might just start by asking friends and family to look through their coins and show you any that look interesting or different. You can also join clubs for coin collectors and go to conventions where people buy, sell, and learn about coins.

Taking Care of and Organizing a Coin Collection

When starting a collection, it is important to decide how to organize your coins. You might choose to put them into a special binder, or each coin can be kept in an individual envelope. It is a good idea to get a pair of cotton gloves that you can use to handle old coins and a magnifying glass that will let you look more closely at the details of each coin. Take notes on where each coin came from, how much you spent on it, and any other important or interesting information. It can be fun to look back at these notes throughout the years.

Coins and Their Values

Coin collectors learn quickly that similar coins can have very different values. Older coins tend to be worth more, and rarer coins are also more valuable. Coins are sometimes rare because only a few were produced in the first place. Once you’ve been collecting for a while, you’ll learn more about how to spot rare coins.

More helpful resources

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Coin collecting, also known as numismatics, is the collecting and studying of coins, paper money, tokens, and related objects. It’s a hobby that can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages and can range from casual collecting to serious investing.

Start by deciding what interests you. Some collectors focus on coins from a specific country or era, while others might collect coins with a certain design, like animals or historical figures. Begin with what you have, learn about coin collecting, and gradually expand your collection.

Basic supplies include a good magnifying glass, a coin album or holders to store your coins, soft gloves for handling coins, and reference books or online resources to learn more about your coins.

Coins can be found at coin shops, coin shows, online auctions, estate sales, and sometimes in circulation. You can also purchase coins from mints or dealers.

A coin’s value is determined by several factors including rarity, demand, condition, and metal content. Researching through coin catalogs, price guides, and professional appraisals can help determine a coin’s value.

Generally, no. Cleaning coins can actually reduce their value. Collectors prefer coins in their original, unaltered condition. If you think a coin needs to be cleaned, consult a professional for advice.

Store coins in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Use acid-free holders or albums to prevent damage. Avoid handling coins unnecessarily, and always hold them by the edges.

There are many resources available for new collectors – some of them listed in the article above. Books, websites, coin clubs, and museums can provide valuable information. Consider joining a local or national coin collecting club to meet other collectors and learn from their experiences.

Coin collecting can be as affordable or as expensive as you make it. You can start by collecting coins from circulation before investing in higher-value coins. Set a budget that works for you.

While some people do make money from collecting coins, it’s important to collect for enjoyment rather than profit. The value of coins can fluctuate, and there’s no guarantee of making a profit.

As with any investment, there is always a risk. Be cautious of counterfeit coins, overpaying for coins, and the potential for theft. Educate yourself, use reputable dealers, and consider insuring your collection.

Always handle coins carefully, preferably with cotton gloves, to avoid transferring oils from your skin to the coin. Hold coins by the edges to prevent fingerprints on the faces of the coins.