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.
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!
- Coin Collecting for Kids: Kids can start off with simple collections and build from there.
- Basics of Collecting Coins: Read this issue of The Mini Page to learn all about coins and the hobby of collecting them.
- Five Steps to Get Started Collecting Coins: Follow these tips from the Royal Mint to start this fun hobby.
- Developing an Interest in Coin Collecting: Dive into the intriguing world of coins and find out why people love this hobby.
- Coin Collecting Terminology: Learn some of the words that people use to describe coins and what they mean.
- Starting a Child’s Coin Collection: Often, your parents will be able to give you a few coins to start your collection, and they might even want to collect coins with you.
- Deciding What Coins to Collect: You can create a coin collection based on lots of different themes, like all of the U.S. state quarters, a penny from every country, or every coin minted in a single year.
- Coin Collecting for Beginners: Guide to Starting Your Numismatic Collection: Read this detailed guide all about building a collection of unusual coins that can be added to for years.
- Basics Every Coin Collector Should Know: Once you start collecting coins, you’ll learn about things like how to properly hold and examine coins and how they are graded.
- Choosing a Coin Type and Series to Collect: Decide on a collection type to focus on when you’re starting out as a coin collector.
- Coin Collecting for Beginners: Browse ideas for different ways to start a coin collection.
- Getting Kids Started in Coin Collecting: Here, parents can read all about starting a coin collection with their children.
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.
- Investor Education: What Determines the Value of Coins? Find out what goes into the price of a collectible coin here.
- List of the Top 100 Modern Coins: While some collectors focus on only old coins made of pure silver or gold, more recent coins can be fun to collect, too. This page has a list of some of the most interesting coins made since 1965.
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.
- How to Store Your Coins: Check out these different ideas for where to put your collection.
- Caring for Your Coin Collection: The U.S. Mint offers tips on how to organize, handle, and protect your coins.
- Tips for Organizing Your Coin Inventory: Learn ways to keep track of a coin collection.
- Collectible and Rare Coins: Explore five different types of rare coins that you might decide to collect.
- How to Organize and Inventory Your Coin Collection: Read all about different ways to organize coin collections.
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.
- Selling Your Coins: If you decide to sell part or all of your collection, read these tips for how to do it.
- How to Sell Coins for Top Dollar: Make money as a coin collector by selling coins for the highest price.
- NGC Coin Price Guide and Values: Take a look at the values of ancient and rare coins here.
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.