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Coin Collecting Hobby is Not for Everyone

Updated on December 8, 2018
Tricia Deed profile image

The people that I know who enjoy collecting coins have an interest in U. S. history. I enjoy learning their shared information.

Love of Money

A sign spelling money with gold -plated Buffalo nickels and surrounded by scattered gold coins.
A sign spelling money with gold -plated Buffalo nickels and surrounded by scattered gold coins. | Source

Getting Started in Collecting Coins

There are thousands of coins and dozens of types of coins to collect.

Where do you start?

  1. First, get a coin book as this is the least expensive method of shopping and acquiring knowledge. Perhaps someone has inspired you with ideas or has given you a coin gift, or perhaps you inherited a collection.
  2. Join a local coin collecting club. Members enjoy sharing their knowledge and experiences.
  3. If possible, answer the question as to why you want to collect coins and why you wish to collect a particular type of coin. Your motivation and decision will start a collection which will be ongoing for many years. Regardless of your reason for collecting it is always in the back of an individual’s mind that the coins will be worth a great deal of money someday.
  4. Each coin which you collect will be a learning experience. Much knowledge will be acquired and can be used for hobby reasons or enable you becoming an expert in your collection choice.

It has been my understanding that a true coin collection has a specialized consistency. If the coins are just collected haphazardly this is not a collection; it’s just a bunch of coins.

Aside from the fun and joy of collecting coins it is also critical that you gain knowledge and know the financial value of the individual coins and the value of a completed collection. Keep up to date with reliable organizations and coin dealers. Never purchase a coin on a whim. .

Today it’s a hobby, tomorrow it’s an investment, and someday it may be part of your retirement portfolio or inheritance gifts to loved ones.

Indian Head Liberty

2006 gold 24karat Indian head Liberty coin minted of .9999 gold. The proof sold for $800 in 2006. In 2011 it was valued at $2,010.
2006 gold 24karat Indian head Liberty coin minted of .9999 gold. The proof sold for $800 in 2006. In 2011 it was valued at $2,010. | Source

Why People Collect Coins?

There are probably as many reasons as there are people. But these are the most popular answers which I have heard from personal acquaintances who enjoy collecting monies.

  1. An interest in history. Many of my friends have either an interest in United States. history or have a strong interest in American politics. The faces, buildings, words, the coin year, and where the coin was minted is important for their collection. I have found that this style of collecting started in their youth. They seemingly have no interest in the monetary value. They love coin collecting and take pride in an exceptional collection.
  2. There are those who collect coins as an investment for their retirement or other personal desires.
  3. Many have an interest in the artwork.
  4. Collect coins for no apparent reason. They just collect because the coins are small and easy to store.
  5. Collect coins for the precious metal content.
  6. Collect and resell coins. These people have an interest in making profits.
  7. Numismatic enthusiasts love this money hobby. The coin maintains its face value or it can be worth thousands of dollars.

Regardless of the reason for collecting. The serious coin collector is possessive of the coin grade.

Searching for Treasure Coins

A young man with a Geiger counter searching for lost beach treasures. Coins have been found using this method.
A young man with a Geiger counter searching for lost beach treasures. Coins have been found using this method. | Source

How to Find Coins

Where do you find coins for your collection?

Anywhere and every where would be my instant answer. But, here are some ideas:

  1. Pocket change from a variety of sources.
  2. Coin stores
  3. Coin shows
  4. Flea markets, garage or yard sales
  5. Other collectors
  6. Banks
  7. Form a friendship with a reliable coin dealer

You can start with pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters or other coin values or paper currency.

Coins are available in gold, silver and other metals. Gold and silver are expensive but a good investment.

Error coins can bring a hefty return rate. These are coins which have been struck by machinery or people creating an error while the coin is being minted. Errors are few and when these coins slip past government employees during inspection the error is noted by the public. There are books available to help you identify coin errors.

Numismatic enthusiasts are always looking for these types of coins. Numismatic is another name for a coin collector. A coin collector is a person who studies and collects money; coins or paper currency. A collector’s coin has more value than the face value of the coin or currency.

1964 Silver Washington Liberty Quarter

This is a photo of the 1964 silver Washington Liberty quarter. It was the last year of the 90 percent silver coin. Quarters are now made of copper and nickel.
This is a photo of the 1964 silver Washington Liberty quarter. It was the last year of the 90 percent silver coin. Quarters are now made of copper and nickel. | Source

Coin Care

There are three very important things which coin collectors must do.

  1. Never wash your coins, they will devalue.
  2. Store your coins properly.. Special holders and storage is critical.
  3. Have coins graded by a reputable company.

Never wash your coins because there is value in the toning. You do not want to remove toning.This is a natural oxidizing process. Always hold a coin by its edge with clean hands and fingers. The oil of human skin can be damaging to a coin.

Toning appears in red, orange, blue, or green tinting on a coin. It appears that the monetary value of the coin increases with the intensity of the toning.

Store your coins in appropriate holders. These holders may be purchased from dealers. The holders are available in cardboard or plastic.

Grading is critical and it will take time to gain knowledge of this system. The grading process helps to determine the monetary value of the coin. Numbers 1-70 are assigned to a coin. Low numbers refer to poor and fair grades. Numbers over 60 start to indicate the different levels of mint condition.

My friends and family members who consider themselves serious numismatics get their coins graded at PDGS.

As a numismatic you need to consider joining the following organizations:

  1. The Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS)
  2. The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC)
  3. The American Numismatic Association Certfication Service (ANACS)

Do attend coin shows and similar events. Much can be learned and experienced by attending these programs.

What is the Value of the Coin?

This is the most popular question. And this is why knowledge is power. Certifying or grading a coin helps to finite its value.

How to Figure Out What Grade Your Coins Could Be

Numismatic or Not?

Do You Enjoy Collecting Money?

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