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Tips for Beginner Coin Collectors

Updated on February 21, 2008

Coin Collecting for Beginners

Collecting coins can be a profitable hobby, but as a beginner coin collector or someone who's thinking about collecting coins, you may have a few questions. I'm going to try to answer some of the more commonly asked questions about collecting coins.

Why Should I Collect Coins?

Different people collect coins for different reasons.

  • Some people just like the designs on coins.
  • Some people collect coins for their monetary value.
  • Some people may see a sentimental value in certain coins.
  • Some people see coins as a part of history, and it allows them to hold a part of the past in their hands.

Some coin collectors feel that behind each coin, there is a story depending on their year of make, country, and symbol on the coin.

Coin collecting can be as expensive or cheap as you want. You can tailor the coins you collect around your personal tastes.

European Coins

What Types of Coins Should I Collect?

In reality, the types of coins you collect depend on you.

You can collect coins based on:

  • Country
  • Time period or date
  • Metal type
  • Exonumia: anything made of metal that is not legal tender (medallions, souvenier pennies, tokens, etc.)

Make sure that the writing on the coin is readible and that there is little overall wear and tear on the coin. You, also, want to find coins that have little to no tarnish.

Where Do I Look For Coins?

Coins can be found everywhere. Depending on the type of coins you decided to collect, you can tailor where you start looking.

  • Change: Sometimes you'll recieve another countries coin currency as change back from a purchase, so make sure to double check your change.
  • Bank rolls of coins: You can request rolled coins from a bank; sometimes you'll find something unique and interesting mixed in.
  • Mint bags: Purchase a bag of coins from a mint company; you may be able to pick something interesting out.
  • Penny dishes: Check any cans or bowls asking for tips; usually people will discard unwanted change, and you may get lucky. Just try to replace whatever you take with something else.
  • Cash registers: If you work for a retail company, fast food, or some other job where you see coins pass hands. Make sure that your boss knows that you're a coin collector, and make sure to replace anything you take with sometime of equal value.
  • Coin shops: You can usually find bins of assorted coins to sort through.
  • Antique and pawn shops
  • Flea markets
  • Friends and family members
  • Auctions
  • Coin shows

Should I Clean My Coins

It's up to you whether your want to clean you coins or not, but for the most part, it can be risky if you don't do it properly. You can make valuable coins nearly worthless using blotch cleaning procedures. Remember that serious coin collectors prefer all- natural coins.

The one thing that you want to make sure to remove from your coins is PVC, or polyvinylchloride, which is a chemical that can spread over a coin. (Use PVC free flips to protect your coins in your album.) In any case though, you'll never get the original mint back on the coin, but you can hope to stop and remove corrosion.

You can use a special solvent that is made specifically to clea coins without affecting the toning, or risk your coins with a "homemade method." I'm just going to go over the solvents.



This solvent has the potential to remove corrosion and stuck- on material, as well as PVC. Some people say that Uni-Solvent works best with nickel- based coins.

Make sure to use Uni-Solvent in a well ventilated area because there is a strong smell. The solvent is a little thick, so it may take a while to evaporate in the air.


This particular solvent works just like Uni-Solvent. It removes PVC, some corrosion, and stuck- on materials.

Koinsolv evaporates in the air better, and the overall smell isn't as strong. Although, good ventilation is still recommended.

Watch out when using the product on copper coins, as it has the potential to discolor the coins.


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    • Joe Macho profile image

      Zach 6 years ago from Colorado

      Very nice hub! Useful and up. It's always good to show beginners the ropes of coin collecting. I personally have a favoritism to Jefferson Nickels. I collect them not because of their value, but because so many nice coins can still be found in circulation.

      I'll be following your future hubs.

    • profile image

      Steve Chamberlain 7 years ago

      Nice page. I just linked to it in my blog: 'Coin Collecting the Hobby of Kings. Steve Chamberlain