The A Guide to Coin Collecting


How to collect coins.

Collecting coins was once thought to be a hobby reserved for the wealthy but many people of different ages, genders, and cultures are beginning to realize the pure joy and fun that starting and growing a coin collection can bring! Many may wish to start a coin collection but aren’t sure of where to begin looking for coins, how to clean coins properly to put in their collection, or how to store the many different coins that they are collecting. Here is a brief guide that will explain the basics of coin collecting including how to start and how to find the best coins!

How to Find Coins

The first thing many people ask, especially when they are only thinking of starting a collection, is where coins for the collection can be found. The first place to start is what you have closest to you – your own wallet and pockets. Here you may find interesting and odd coins that you may have mistaken for regular change before. Take out the ones that interest you the most or are the oldest, and you have just started your collection! Your next step is to go to flea markets, garage sales, or anywhere else that would have miscellaneous items such as rare coins that you could add to your collection. You can also look online at many coin, hobby, or collectible retailers.

Once you have started looking at and getting to know different types of coins, you can then decide on which coins you would like to focus on within the collection. Some collector’s like to focus on a particular region or like to gather sets of years of coins. Whichever coins interest you will make up a great collection, even if you only focus on coins that catch your interest and don’t go by the mint year or any other technical information.

Tools Needed for Coin Collecting

One of the best things about coin collecting is that you need very little resources to be able to do it. All one really needs is a proper album for storing their coins, which will display them nicely as well as protect them against the natural elements, and a magnifying glass. The magnifying glass can be useful not only to detect any damage that has occurred but also to pick up details that you may miss with the naked eye, such as the mint mark. You may choose to also use something to hold your coins after you have collected them but before you have stored them away properly. There are expensive coin holders that you can purchase and while these are ideal, you can use something such as an old glass jar that will hold them nicely.

Learn how to Buy Coins

As your collection and your interest grows, you will most likely want to extend your options beyond just what’s in front of you and you will probably want to start hunting down those very precious coins for purchase! What’s most important to know about this is that coin retailers and hobby stores will often markup their coin sales as much as 20% so it’s important to learn as much as you can about the kind of coins you will be collecting, especially their grading value, which is what their dollar value is based upon. There are many books and articles written on the value of coins and so there will be plenty of information available when it’s time to find out one’s worth.

Cleaning Coins

Cleaning coins that are to be placed inside a collection is an area of great debate. Some who are real experts on the hobby state that you should never clean your coins because their natural look is part of their value and because you could unknowingly cause damage to the coins, which would greatly decrease its value. However, some collectors want to really shine up their collection, especially when it’s about to be displayed so, this is how you do it safely.

  • Hold coins by the sides so that fingerprints do not get onto the smooth surface of the coins.

  • Fill a bowl with soapy water or clear water with just a few drops of olive oil. Soak them for a few days and then rinse them to remove the dirt. Never use metal cleaner as this will surely scratch the surface of the coins. If cleaner is needed after the soaking, use something non-abrasive such as acetone or ultrasonic jewellery cleaner.

  • Using a soft cloth, such as terrycloth, blot the coins dry. Don’t use paper towels or napkins as these are also much too harsh to use on coins.

Storing Coins

While it may seem as though coins can be placed into a jar or an album with coin holders, there are actually a few things to keep in mind when storing your coin collection to keep it safe and free from the harm of both natural elements and thieves.

  • Newer coins hold little value and so they can be placed just in an envelope or a jar as it’s not necessary to take special care with them.

  • Coin sets should be placed in a coin organizer. These sets may be things such as the American Quarter or special sets released by the U.S. Mint. Sets that are released and sold as a set will generally come with a special organizer upon purchase.

  • Old coins or other coins that have a high value should be treated especially carefully. Placing them in plastic or in an album with coin holders is an absolute must but it’s also important to try and make sure that the holder is airtight. This will prevent air from getting to the coin, causing oxidization, or other things from falling on them or otherwise scratching them.

  • Coin collections should never be kept near windows or anywhere else that can be seen from outside the home. These make prime targets for burglars and while it’s okay to display a few coins, it should be done discreetly.

A Guide to Coin Collecting collectable

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