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Bullion: A Guide | Rocky Mountain Coin

Bullion: A Guide

Do you want to get into bullion investing? This natural spin-off of both investing and coin collecting is attractive to many, and it can be both fun and profitable. But to collect or invest in bullion the right way, the buyer should understand the unique nature of being a bullion collector.

How does it differ from coin collecting, and what can you do to be a successful bullion buyer? Discover a few answers to get you started. 

What Is Bullion?

Although the term bullion is fairly common, most people are not sure exactly what it means. Bullion is really just a way to put a certain amount of pure precious metal — gold, silver, platinum, or palladium — into a portable and attractive state so it can easily be stored, carried, traded, bought, and sold.

Some bullion is in the form of currency (real coins) while other bullion comes in different shapes and sizes. Unlike coin metal content, true bullion generally must be 99.9% pure. 

Why Is Bullion Different Than Coin Collecting?

If bullion is coins, is buying it the same as coin collecting? The answer is no. Bullion coins and bars are largely made for investing rather than collecting. It often makes a less attractive collecting target. Why? Bullion continues to be mass-produced, so it is less likely to reach the levels of rarity and historical interest that coin collectors love. 

The advantage of bullion, though, is in the value of its precious metals. Investing in precious metals provides a counter for risky investment portfolios and against harsh economic times. Most bullion is easily bought and sold, making it more liquid than other collecting choices. And the bullion market is less fickle than the numismatic collecting world, so the risk is lower.

What Types of Bullion Can You Buy?

The three common types of bullion are coins, bars, and rounds.  

Some coins are made by government agencies, such as the U.S. Mint, and sold to collectors or investors. They are often larger than their normal counterparts and may be produced to commemorate something or offer a special background. Bars are made by either pouring metal into a bar-shaped mold or by stamping the shape. They come in both gold and silver, and they can be of a similar size to coins or much larger. 

Finally, you can get what are known as rounds or medals. Rounds are made privately rather than government-produced, so they are not legal tender. Rounds can feature any design the producer wants — including holiday themes, commemorations of events, promotional products, or patriotic imagery. Buyers, though, should be careful not to confuse rounds that are copies of existing coins with the real coins.

What Should You Look for in Bullion?

Because the goal is different when purchasing bullion coins, the buyer should look for different indicators. Pay attention not to the design but to the purity and amount of metal in the item. Larger bullion issues should come with hallmarks that identify the maker, the type of metal, and the standard (or level of purity).

Beyond the metal quality, the type of bullion you purchase is up to you. Bullion coin collectors do enjoy the variety of options and some of the more interesting forms it comes in. But be wary of being overly influenced by design and appearance based on traditional coin collecting standards. You could end up losing out on the real advantages of bullion collecting. 

For instance, you can often buy either a proof coin that is polished and packaged for display or a bullion coin that is just the plain coin. A collector might choose the flashy one with extra detailing and packaging — but for which they would pay an extra premium on top of the bullion cost. A plain bullion coin featuring the same design and standard would be much less expensive, boosting your profit. 

This is also often counter intuitive for a coin collector, but you may not want to search out rare or unusual bullion items. The reason comes down to one major goal of investing in precious metals: how easily you can sell it for cash. Just about any dealer will purchase pure, hallmarked silver or gold. But if you have an unusual piece or one that is hard to verify, it will often be harder to sell. 

Where Can You Learn More?

Do you think that adding bullion to your collection or portfolio is right for you? Start by learning more about the bullion market and what items are available to you. Rocky Mountain Coin can help. We offer both traditional coin collecting and bullion products of all types. Call or stop by today to browse our inventory and learn about the bullion world. We look forward to seeing you.

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Blog Coin Collecting Currency Collecting Currency Collecting

Paper and Coin Currency | Rocky Mountain Coin

The Pros and Cons of Collecting Paper Currency and Coins

Coin collecting is an excellent way to explore a love of history, art, geography, and even politics. But what about paper currency? Would you be better off collecting bills rather than coins? Is there really a difference, or is it just a matter of taste? And what could help you decide how to proceed?

Here are a few of the pros and cons of collecting both coins and paper currency so you can make a choice that brings you the best investment for your time and money.  

The Pros of Collecting Coins

Coins provide more for history buffs to explore because they have a longer history. Coins have been circulating for use since at least 600 B.C. It took paper notes another 1,000 years to make their real entry into history. So, if you want to collect ancient forms of currency, you have a lot more choice in coinage than in bills. Even for collectors of modern coins, the increased lifespan of a coin may make it easier to come by. 

Also, don’t underestimate the financial value of the coins — and the material they are made out of — themselves. While all currency is generally a representation of the actual value agreed upon for it, coins beat paper because they actually containing some of that value in their materials. Silver, gold, nickel, and other coin metals are durable and self-contained sources of some value no matter what happens to their value as a collectible.  

The Cons of Collecting Coins

Coin collecting can be a bigger physical investment than paper simply due to its more bulky nature. Coins need more space than flat paper notes, and they often require specialized storage equipment to fit their unusual nature. If your collection is limited in space, you might do better to use the more versatile paper currency. 

Because coins are a more popular area of currency collecting, you may find that the best coins are harder to find. Many people scoop up coins expecting to find their fortune, while dedicated collectors have been seeking out the true rarities and most interesting coins for many years. A new collector may have to settle for less interesting or less exotic coins until they build their collection to a healthy state. 

The Pros of Collecting Paper Currency

Paper bills are a good outlet for those with a more artistic bent or a collector who wants more variety. Paper currency is often as beautiful and enlightening as the history around it. It includes brilliant colors and complex designs that are simply impossible on coin currency. And because it’s easy to change the designs, there is more variety and more possibility with paper as a medium rather than struck coins. 

The added space on paper bills also allows for more of the story to be told. A coin, for instance, might feature the face of the monarch on the front and a national symbol on the reverse. But a note could easily include the monarch, the national flag, a national bird, a famous citizen, a motto, words in various graphics, and traditional decorations. 

The more aesthetically pleasing nature of notes could make it easier to get others interested in your collection. For parents and family members who want to share their collection, the added interest from colorful — and relatable — bills could help draw others in. 

The Cons of Collecting Paper Currency

If you want to get into coin collecting, you can often start with a smaller financial investment than with paper. Why? Coins, by their nature, usually have smaller face values. For most bills, the purchase price must include the actual monetary value of the item — which can be anywhere from a single dollar to hundreds or even thousands of dollars — even if you simply want them for their artistic or historical merit. 

To collect historical items, the collector must also become skilled in preservation, often paying to restore or maintain antiques or paying a higher price for what’s still in good condition. Unfortunately, not only do paper notes suffer naturally, but they are also subjected to higher levels of wear and tear than many other objects. This affects your prospects, your price ranges, your collecting methods, and your time investment. 

The Way to Get Started

No matter which type of currency collecting suits your style and interests, the best place to begin is with a visit to a dedicated dealer of these antiquities. By consulting with experienced dealers, you can learn how to balance the pros and cons of both options in order to find your niche.  

At Rocky Mountain Coin, we can help. Our ever-changing inventory contains outstanding examples of both paper and coin currency from throughout United States history and beyond. Visit us in person or online to learn more about how we can help you build a collection that will fascinate and entertain you for years to come. 

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Blog Coin Collecting

5 Facts About the 50 State Quarters | Rocky Mountain Coin

5 Fun Facts About the 50 State Quarters Collection

From 1999 until 2008, the United States Mint released a special collection of quarters with fifty designs used to represent each state. The quarters created a boom in the coin collecting industry and are still sought out by collectors today. As you plan a coin collection, learn some fun facts about the state quarters and various features to look for when you collect.

  1. Alternate Quarter Designs

The selection process for the state quarter collection was actually decided by the states themselves. Many states held design contests and public votes to decide on the designs with the governor often making the final selection. The alternative design options included a number of fun designs, although none of them were actually put to print.

For example, the Florida design includes the “Gateway to Discovery” with a space shuttle, a ship, and palm trees. Other design options included the Everglades National Park and the historical city of St. Augustine. Alaska’s final coin design showcases a brown bear carrying a salmon, but the other options included a polar bear and a dog musher.

When you purchase a state quarter, you could print out a high-quality image of the alternate designs to display with the quarter.

  1. Special Edition Quarters

Five state quarters were released each year from 1999 until 2008. During this time, you could purchase rolls of quarters from a bank, order them directly from the US mint, or find them among your everyday change. Another option for collectors was the special edition state quarters. Special mail-in programs or online orders featured state quarter collections.

You could purchase a complete colorized set of state quarters. The set would include the original state quarter release with hand-painted color designs on the coin. For example, the Georgia coin would feature a colored peach that looked like the actual fruit. Plain backgrounds would have a bold blue color.

The colorized versions are rarer than standard sets and something worth collecting to help a coin collection really stand out. Some colorized sets were sold by the year; others feature the whole collection, and many of the coins are sold individually.

Along with the colorized versions, gold-plated special edition versions of the coins were released. The coins feature 24-karat gold plating on the design and stand out from the silver finish on standard coins.

  1. State Quarter Errors

As you shop for state quarter coins, examine the coins for a variety of errors. In the early run of the coins, one of the more prominent errors released to the public features an experimental planchet, which was originally made for the Sacagawea dollar.

The dollar was released in the year 2000, so it makes sense that all of the 1999 state coin designs have circulated versions that were printed in the Sacagawea dollar mode as opposed to the standard quarter. If you look for these coins, the first thing you will notice is a gold tint which is attributed to the copper found in the coin mixture.

The quarters will also have different edges, which are either completely smooth or jagged and really rough. The weight of the quarter also feels different. The error coins have a little more weight to them.

Some of the smaller errors found on quarters include a misalignment. The quarter image appears off-center with some elements potentially cutoff on the edges.

  1. Rare Quarters

Despite the creation of a quarter for every state, not every state received the same minting amount. As you search for state quarters, be aware of the mintage amount so you know which quarters are harder to find. After the initial success of the first state quarters like Delaware, the US mint decided to expand the number of quarters minted.

States like Connecticut and South Carolina had over one billion quarters minted each. The most goes to the Virginia Jamestown ship design, which had over one billion and a half quarters released into the public. The 2008 release of Oklahoma’s state quarter only had 416 million coins minted in comparison. Other states with low amounts include Maine and Missouri.

A coin collector will often feature mint versions of the rare states so you do not have to look through a variety of the change you have collected.

  1. Kermit the Frog’s Connection

To help promote the release of the State Quarter collection, the United States Mint signed an agreement with the famed Muppet Kermit the Frog. Kermit was used on posters, print ads, and television ads to help showcase the release of the quarters.

As you collect the quarters, look for some of the Kermit memorabilia to display with the coins. For example, you could frame one of the posters with the coins placed within the same frame.

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Blog Bullion Coin Collecting Gold Precious Metals Silver

Sell or Auction? | Rocky Mountain Coin

Should You Sell Your Coin Collection or Auction It?

When deciding on the best way to sell a coin collection, your options will usually come down to selling the collection or auctioning it off. Both these options come with an incredible amount of consideration and may require you to put in some work to figure out the best choice. Here is what you need to know to make an informed decision.

When Does Selling Your Coin Collection Make the Most Sense?

Selling a coin collection can make a lot of sense in several circumstances.

You Want to Get Rid of the Coins Quickly

Your reason for selling the collection is your own, but some typical situations that can lead to wanting to sell a coin collection quickly can include:

  • The need for fast or emergency funds
  • A lack of attachment to the collection
  • A lack of enthusiasm for coin collecting
  • No desire to do the research on the coins
  • A feeling of being overwhelmed by the coin evaluation or grading process

Maybe you just want to get rid of the coins because you don’t want them around. Whatever the reason, selling the collection can help you get them out of your way quickly.

However, if you have a little time on your hands, you can exercise more control over how you sell the collection and for how much. Separating the coins by type and doing a cursory online search for some of them can help you gain a somewhat better idea of their value.

You can still sell the collection, but you can do so armed with a little knowledge concerning the collection or some of the individual coins in it. That knowledge can help you negotiate or to better understand the prices offered to you for the collection.

You Know the Collection Consists of Mostly Bullion

Bullion coins are as valuable as the metal they consist of. Coin collectors look for numismatic coins, which are coins that hold value for reasons other than their metal content. Many bullion coins consist of gold, platinum, or some other precious metal. Technically, these coins work more as investment vehicles than collector’s items.

If your coin collection consists of bullion, then selling the coins will come down to seeking fair market value for their gold or other content. Before selling the coins, look at the current market values for the metal in question to help you negotiate.

One caveat to this comes from coins made of gold or another precious metal that also have numismatic value. If you have some precious metal coins that don’t fit with the overall collection, separate them and look them up.

You Have a Collection of Low-Value Coins

If the collection mostly consists of low-value coins, then selling them outright can often work in your favor. In this case, the term low value means the value of the coins in relation to the fees, commissions, and expenses an auction house or service may charge.

You might have to do a little math, but you may discover you can sell your collection for a price similar to or greater than what you would clear from an auction.

When Does Auctioning Your Coin Collection Make the Most Sense?

Generally speaking, if you have a coin collection full of rare, valuable, or highly sought-after coins, then taking them to auction makes the best sense. This implies you’re aware of what you have in your coin collection and have some idea of the collection’s value.

If you’re unsure about what you have, but still want to auction off the collection, you should do an evaluation of the coins, or hire an appraiser. Coin values change and a lot of those values come from current trends amongst collectors. So, you’ll have to stay on top of your collection leading into an auction.

Auctioning a coin collection also requires time. You will need time to gather information on your coin collection if you don’t already have it. The auction process itself can take months from beginning to end, depending on the auction service. This is one of the reasons why only auctioning potentially high-value coins or coin collections makes the most sense.

Some coin collections have a mix of high-value coins and low-value ones. You can choose to auction high-value coins individually or as a set while selling the lower value coins directly. This scenario can give you the best of both worlds.

Alternatively, your higher value coins can help sell the entire collection at an auction if bidders are trying to capture those specific coins from the collection. If all goes well, the possibility exists that you can clear far more money for your collection than you expect. That possibility is one of the major incentives for taking your collection to auction.

At Rocky Mountain Coin, our services include buying coin collections, including bullion.

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Blog Currency Collecting Currency Collecting

How Currency Can Teach Kids | Rocky Mountain Coin

4 Ways That Currency Can Teach Kids (and Adults) About the World

If you are an avid coin collector, you likely know the fascination of this hobby. Coins are a window into the past. They tell tales. They demonstrate technological changes. They are a key part of politics, wars, transfers of power, and unique historical events.

Coins can also be an entry point for teaching any number of subjects and concepts to children. Not sure how you can translate your love of coins into a method of teaching your kids or your students? Here are four subjects you can learn from coins.

  1. History

The most obvious school subject learned from coins is, of course, history. Every new ruler, new government, and nation creates its own coins and paper currency, so you can track the changes over time in any region.

Teaching U.S. history? The 1776 Continental Dollar shows the beginning of the nation asserting its independence. Civil War era currency shows both sides of the growing conflict. And wartime pennies minted without copper show a nation subject to rationing and focused on the war efforts.

Do not forget about specific events and regions in U.S. history. Help students learn about California’s proposed Union coins, which never saw circulation. Additionally, the Stella ($4)  coin never saw much circulation, as it was an American concept coin based on a 19th-century European venture to create a widespread currency. Any of these can lead to fascinating discussions of the nation’s history.

Also, remember to teach about historic US coins that once were in circulation but are not now. The half-cent, two-cent, trime (or three-cent silver), twenty-cent piece, gold dollar, and three-dollar coins all are prime examples. You can teach children the purpose these coins were made in the first place, the time period when they were in use, and the reason why people stopped making them and circulating them.

  1. Math

Coins and paper money are all about math. Starting with the most basic math concepts — addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division — any coins in a decimal system can form a visual aid for learning. But there are other fascinating ways to discuss numbers and coins.

The English currency system, for instance, had devolved into a variety of non-decimal based coins over time.

Why, you may ask children, was it better to switch to the modern decimal system in 1971? Why is a decimal system important for modern transactions? What is devaluation, and how can it change a society? How do dates and calendars change over time? What effect does the concept of zero have on modern currency?

  1. Social Studies

Few people would think of coins when teaching social studies, but it is easy to start conversations around a variety of subjects.

Most coins in the United States, for instance, feature men rather than women. Why is that, and what does it say about the nation’s history? What women would make excellent choices for coins? Should we change the persons on established coins in order to better represent the country?

You can also discuss the women featured on world coins, including female monarchs like Queen Elizabeth II, Irene of Athens, Isabella of Spain, Cleopatra, and Catherine the Great. Non-rulers like Sacagawea, mythical deities like Athena, and allegorical figures like Liberty are all coin subjects that can start great discussions about the roles of women over time.

Other fascinating subjects brought up by coins include the use of propaganda by new or conflicting rulers as well as transfers of power (peaceful and otherwise) and social changes in a society over the years.

The Athenian tetradrachm, for instance, is a relatively inexpensive coin that became the first currency readily used for international trade — leading to a discussion of the pros and cons of trade and its effects on history.

  1. Science

Coins are made of metals, so coins are great ways to learn about metallurgy, the periodic table, and the sciences of working with minerals and compounds to form objects. Why, for instance, is copper, bronze, and silver used or not used in coins? What other choices of metal would work or not work well?

You can also use coins and fiat money as a jumping-off point to discuss changes in technology, from the printing press all the way up to modern counterfeiting prevention methods.

What subjects can your coin collection help others to learn? And how can it be improved with a mind to helping educate others?

At Rocky Mountain Coin, our coin inventory has a large variety of coins to meet any goals you have. Check out what we have to offer today. We are happy to answer any questions you have. We also look forward to speaking with you about your coin collection needs and the history behind the coins we offer and sell. Let us know how we can help you in your collection and coin education goals.

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Blog Metal Detecting

Metal Detecting | Rocky Mountain Coin

A Beginner’s Guide to Metal Detecting

 

Whether you are looking for a unique way to stay in shape, want to enjoy time with your friends or family, or have dreams of hitting it rich, there are several reasons why you might consider purchasing a metal detector. Before you enjoy what is sure to be your favorite new hobby, here are a few simple tips and tricks that can help metal detecting be more productive and fun.

Purchase the Right Gear for Your Skill Level

As a beginner, chances are you won’t understand all the bells and whistles available on modern metal detectors. Start by creating a budget and choose a metal detector you can afford. Next, consider a few features that are easy to use and will allow you to hunt more effectively.

Here are a few popular features you will see on metal detectors.

Ground Balance

The ground you are detecting is filled with a variety of metals and minerals that can trigger your metal detector. Ground balance allows you to bypass common materials and instead, zero in on precious metals. Look for a metal detector with an automatic or preset ground balance feature.

Sensitivity

This allows you to adjust the distance you are able to detect. Choose a detector that allows you to set the sensitivity and has the manufacturer’s recommendations based upon your surrounds.

Search depth

The number of coils a metal detector features is linked to its search depth. The more coils, the deeper you can search.

When in doubt, always start with a beginner’s metal detector. A professional dealer can help you find a detector that is easy to use but will still be effective.

Purchase a small bag to store your finds, a small shovel, and a pinpointer. A metal pinpointer is a handheld tool that helps you search through the soil and locate your treasure with more accuracy.

Learn Where You Can and Cannot Hunt With Your Metal Detector

You are excited to get started metal detecting, but before you head out, it is important to understand where you can and cannot search for treasure. Here are a few great places you can go out and use your metal detector:

  • Your own backyard
  • Your neighbors’ and friends’ backyard — if you get their permission
  • City parks
  • Public beaches
  • Churches
  • Abandoned towns

Do your homework before you head out on your first hunt with your metal detector. For example, you may discover that while researching your favorite city park at the local library, the park was actually once home to early settlers.

Conversely, you need to be aware of places where you might get into trouble for metal detecting. For example, some federally-owned lands are off-limits to the public, including those with a metal detector. Always ask before metal detecting on private property.

Remember Simple Metal Detecting Etiquette

In addition to asking a property owner for permission to use your metal detector, there are several rude things you should never do while you are using your metal detector. Metal detecting etiquette includes the following:

  • Fill holes: Replace soil, sand, or turf. Never leave holes in the ground, as these are unsightly and create tripping hazards for other pedestrians.
  • Pick up trash: Throw away any junk you dig up, such as old soda cans. Never put garbage back into the ground.
  • Stay away from other hunters: Give other hunters plenty of space and if another hunter enters your space, kindly ask them to leave or if they are unwilling, walk away yourself.
  • Stay away from crowds. Avoid metal detecting on a crowded beach in the summer or around a family picnic at the park. Instead, consider detecting on off-hours where public places are less busy.

Contact the authorities immediately if you find anything suspicious or potentially dangerous, such as ammunition.

Head Out for Your First Hunt

Plan your first hunt on a day where there is no inclement weather expected. If you can, however, try to hunt with your metal detector after a rainstorm, as the ground will be soft and easier to dig. When you arrive at your hunting area, walk slowly around and make sure to wave your metal detector over the same spot more than once.

Adjust the sound and sensitivity on your metal detector as needed, if you aren’t digging up anything after the first few minutes. When you do hear your metal detector ping, dig a few inches down and use your pinpointer to find the object. Place any objects of value in your collection bag. Never clean off any objects you suspect might be high in value.

Using cleaning products on valuable items can remove paint and patina that will lessen the object’s value.

With the right equipment and a little practice, you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you will become an expert metal detector. Contact the professionals at Rocky Mountain Coin with any further questions.

Come see us for all your metal detector needs.
(303) 777-4653

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Blog Coin Collecting Exonumia

Hard Times Tokens | Rocky Mountain Coin

Hard Times Tokens and Why You Should Consider Collecting Them

Collecting Hard Times Tokens, or HTT, can become a fun challenge for both new and experienced exonumia collectors. Hard Times Tokens offer insight into an important historical time in the United States, they’re also sometimes interesting or even humorous. Here is what you should know about Hard Times Tokens.

The Origin of Hard Times and Hard Times Tokens

Around the time of and some years after the Panic of 1837, the country entered an economic depression known as the Hard Times. President Andrew Jackson sought to weaken the power of the Bank of the United States.

Jackson’s efforts triggered a run on the banks that led to widespread failures of banks and businesses across the country. Martin Van Buren became president during this time and inherited the ensuing economic depression. The Hard Times featured a lack of coinage which led to people and businesses privately minting their own unofficial currencies.

These currencies became the Hard Times Tokens and those that gained some popularity became acknowledged substitutes of official coins. Some of these coins remained in circulation for long periods of time, despite their unofficial status.

The Appeal of Hard Times Tokens

People find Hard Times Tokens fascinating for several reasons. Many of the coins carry specific political messages on them, sometimes serious and sometimes humorous. Those messages help to give a glimpse into the politics of the time and how people felt about them.

In this way, the Hard Times Tokens can represent collectible exonumia but also work as novelty items. Each coin tells a story, which makes them excellent for history buffs as well.

Additionally, the widespread use of these coins means there are many of them out there. A collector may not always find the rarest of these coins, but they can have a good time tracking some of them down without spending a lot of money to do so.

The Types of Hard Times Tokens

Hard Times Tokens generally come in three varieties:

  • Political and political satire
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Traditional looking cent pieces

The political coins can often have a phrase or picture that approves, bemoans, or lampoons the politics of the time. These words or illustrations were typically propaganda or against Jackson or Van Buren.

However, other messages often appeared on these coins as well, depending on the political leanings of the group minting them. For example, some coins have messages of solidarity with a particular political organization while some may show a message in favor of a political movement outside of the main federal level concerns of the time.

Consider that this period segued directly into the concerns that sparked the American Civil War, so there was a lot more going on than just economic depression. Some of those concerns made their way into the messages of some Hard Times tokens.

Merchants, especially very popular ones, wasted no time in using these tokens for branding purposes. Outside of the political messages, the tokens can show advertisements or logos otherwise lost to time.

The Search for Hard Times Tokens

A wide variety of Hard Times Tokens exist. The values of these tokens can fluctuate based on numerous factors. For someone new to collecting exonumia, picking up Hard Times Tokens can start by perusing the offerings of numismatics dealers online or going to numismatic auctions.

Various merchants issued these tokens, so finding some of them isn’t all that difficult. Once someone learns a little about them and wants to make a more serious pursuit of these tokens, they can start to do some research.

Because of the wide variety of tokens, a collector will have to learn more about the different designs and the different merchants who issued the tokens. This research can include looking up the collections of others and purchasing reference materials.

Uncirculated tokens can become a greater challenge. The challenge isn’t because of the expense of uncirculated tokens, it’s because the coins aren’t easy to find.

Hard Times Tokens aren’t official federal currency, so searching for them doesn’t work in the same way as it does when looking for officially minted coins. The most complete documentation for these coins comes from two sources which number the coins typically with Low or HT designations.

One of the earliest records of these tokens comes from an 1899 book written by Lyman Low, who numbered the tokens as he came across them. Much later, in the 1980s, Russell Rulau did a renumbering of the system while including coins found since Low’s time.

This system gives coins an HT designation. Someone searching may see something like Low 300 or HT 181. This gives them a reference point to look up the token in question.

Collecting Hard Times tokens can become a fun and fascinating endeavor. Whether you’re new to Hard Times Tokens or a serious collector, start your search with the exonumia offerings from Rocky Mountain Coin.

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Blog Coin Collecting

Strategies for Cataloging and Organizing Your Coin Collection | Rocky Mountain Coin

Strategies for Cataloging and Organizing Your Coin Collection

Collecting coins is rewarding in multiple ways. It’s a way to invest in a hobby that may grow significantly in value in a short amount of time. It’s also a fun pastime that is reliable and easy for anyone to access. You can get started with just a few basic coins. If you have a coin collection of any size, utilize these smart strategies to optimally catalog and organize it.

Catalog Your Collection As Soon As Possible

Tracking your coin collection is important for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it will empower you to easily assess what you own. Although it may seem unnecessary when starting your collection, you may have trouble keeping track of what you have if you start collection dozens and then hundreds of coins.

When you have a clear written record of what you own, you can avoid getting duplicates. Also, have a meticulously kept record of your collection can also help you determine the value of your entire collection. Although you may not plan to ever part with a single coin in the collection, knowing its worth may be necessary for matters such as insurance or making final plans.

Choose the System That Works Best for You

Once you decide to catalog your collection, determine the method that is easiest for you. If you prefer writing things in a notebook, it’s okay to do it that way. Simply start a notebook and dedicate a page to each coin. On each coin’s page, write down all the details you know about the coin, its history, where you purchased it, what it means to you and why you invested in it.

Don’t leave out personal anecdotes in your notes. Many people make the mistake of thinking that people would only want to know the historic facts and data relevant to each coin’s monetary worth. However, for your own satisfaction and the benefit of your loved ones, recording your personal connection and memories with the coin can be very valuable on a personal level.

If writing things down by hand isn’t for you, you may want to track the coin collection in a basic spreadsheet document where you can track the details of each coin. Alternately, invest in a coin collection software. Most coin collecting and tracking software is relatively inexpensive, and you can easily update your records as you add to the collection.

Gather the Tools for Organizing Your Collection

Beyond keeping meticulous records, organizing your collection is very much a hands-on process. According to the United States Mint, having tools on hand for properly organizing coins is essential. Before you can organize the collection, invest in these tools:

  • Cataloging tools – Make sure that you have the notebook or software that was mentioned above. If you decide to use notebooks, always have a blank one on hand for when one of the notebooks gets filled up. That way, you won’t have an excuse to not update your records every time you add a new coin to the collection.
  • Cotton gloves – Choose gloves that fit your hands perfectly and always keep a clean pair on hand. Don’t ever handle any coins without wearing them. Otherwise, natural oils on your hands may damage precious coins.
  • Magnifying glass or app – Make sure that you have a magnifying took on hand that can help you read tiny writing on small coins. When you are cataloging your coins, it’s important to record all the text that’s on the front and back of the coin.

These are just a few basic tools. Make a list of all the tools that you personally need to optimally handle and enjoy your personal coin collection, then assess the best place to purchase these collection accessories.

Determine the Best System for Storing Your Coins

A major part of organizing your coin collection is choosing a storage system. How your coins are stored will determine how well they’re preserved. You may decide to choose coin envelopes for storing each coin individually. Alternately, you may opt to have albums where you keep all the coins protected separately yet have them all gathered in clearly marked albums.

If you decide to use albums for your coins, be sure that the albums are designed to enable the storage of coins in their original holders. The United State Mint recommends that all modern proof sets be stored in their original cases. Separating them from their original capsules may diminish their worth in the eyes of other collectors.

Are you looking to add some more treasures to your orderly collection? The more coins you have in your collection, the more valuable it may one day be. Shop at Rocky Mountain Coin to choose from thousands of rare and collectible U.S. coins. Reward yourself for your hard work and efforts to get organized. You deserve it!

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Blog Currency Collecting

5 Themed Ways to Curate Your Currency Collection

Many coin collectors purchase collectible currencies based on value and potential financial return, and this is a perfectly fine way to curate a collection. You can, however, craft a currency collection other ways. If you’re interested in other ways to curate, here are five themes you can use as you decide what to include and what not to include in your own currency collection.

1. Focus on a Time Period

First, base your currency collection around a specific time period that’s of interest to you. This could be an era of history, such as the Civil War if you’re an American history buff or the Greco-Roman period if you studied Classics in school. Alternatively, the time period could be something more recent — like your birth year or your children’s birth years.

As you consider what time period to collect from, keep in mind how much coins from that era will cost and what your budget is. You’ll need discretionary income to purchase coins from Ancient Greece and Rome, but you can find coins from recent years by just perusing the change you’re given at stores. 

Also, consider how readily available coins from your time period are. If you choose to focus on a time period from long ago, you might need to cover multiple centuries. Ancient coins cover a span of 1,200 years, from 650 B.C. to A.D. 500. Alternatively, a collection that includes new currency might need to be limited to just one or a few years because you’ll find many more available options.

2. Focus on a Geographic Region

Second, you can base your currency on one or a few geographic regions. 

In some cases, this may coincide nicely with an era-based curation method. Many historic collections are necessarily limited to a certain region, country or realm, and a particular region might help further define an era-based collection. For instance, a Greco-Roman collection may focus specifically on coins from Rome or specifically on coins from Palestine.

You can formulate a geographic currency collection in many other ways. You could collect currency from the places:

  • You were born (home state or country)
  • You’ve lived (all regions or countries)
  • You’ve visited on vacation (all countries)
  • You wrote a dissertation on (region or empire)

If you’ve lived in San Francisco, Denver, Philadelphia, or West Point, you could collect coins minted in the city during the time you were there. These are the cities where the U.S. actually has or currently produces coins.

As is true with the era-based curation method, a geographic focus similarly allows you to choose a region that’s within your budget, whatever that budget might be. You can find both expensive and inexpensive ways to collect coins from different regions.

3. Focus on a Favorite Person

Third, a person-based approach could serve as your selection guide. This is an especially good option if you have a favorite famous historic figure, such as Abraham Lincoln or Emperor Hadrian from Rome.

Once again, the person you choose will dictate both how easy it is to find coins that meet your criteria and how expensive those coins are. If you choose Lincoln, for instance, you can get more pennies than you want for only 1 cent each. A collection of Hadrian coins, however, will be harder to come by.

No matter who you choose, however, a person-based collection is always interesting. You get to not only learn about the different coins and bills themselves as you collect, but your collection will also show how that person was viewed over time.

4. Focus on a Group of People

Fourth, you can base your collection on a group of people rather than just one person. Well-known leaders, such as the U.S. Founding Fathers or British Royalty are perhaps the most readily evident groups to focus on, but you can find other groups to focus on as well. A collection of minority figures on currencies, for example, could reveal a lot about how these groups of people have been viewed through history.

As one example, the United States has minted several coins featuring African Americans in recent decades and has a few coins with African Americans on them from further back in the country’s history. These coins could be contrasted both with European coins that feature minorities and with coins from Africa.

You can use any group as a guide for your collection. Women, people form your ancestors’ country, and pioneers are just a few ideas you could use.

5. Focus on Color

Finally, you can choose to focus on the aesthetic appearance of coins and bills rather than any other properties. With an artistic eye, you can use differently colored currencies to create a mosaic. This is an unusual collection, but it’s a beautiful way to bring together a variety of currencies.

If you have an idea for a currency collection, check out the coins and bills in stock at Rocky Mountain Coin to see whether any fit your theme.

Categories
Blog Currency Collecting

Quick Guide to Colonial Paper Currency

Colonial paper currency was circulated in the American colonies during 17th and 18th centuries. Paper currency from the period was issued in a variety of forms and denominations. Here’s a quick guide to the first paper money traded for goods, debts, and services in the colonies.

Paper Money Issued by the Colonies

Before the individual American colonies began issuing paper currency, the Colonial economy relied on foreign coins issued by Britain and European countries. Massachusetts was the first colony to issue its own paper money in 1690.

Soon, all of the original colonies produced paper notes of their own. Since the young colonies had no mutual treasury or gold stores, colonies generally based the value of their notes on Spanish dollars and British pence, shillings, and pounds.

You can collect Colonial paper currency from the following colonies and young states:

  • Delaware
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • Georgia
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • South Carolina
  • New Hampshire
  • Virginia
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Louisiana

Each of the original colonies operated with its own individual and independent government, so the currency valuations and forms were unique to each state.

Paper Currency Issued by the Continental Congress

To finance the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress began issuing paper notes known as Continentals. The first Continental notes were issued in 1775 with a total combined value of all notes equaling $3 million dollars. When redeemed, the earliest Continentals were paid in Spanish dollars or the same value in gold or silver.

The notes were not backed up by gold or silver. The value of Continentals was based on tax revenues the Colonial Congress expected to receive from the individual colonies. The Continental Congress issued the initial 1775 paper notes in several different amounts.

Continentals, like all Colonial paper notes, were easy to counterfeit by unscrupulous printers. Devaluation affected the paper currency almost immediately after the notes were issued. Today, some Continentals fetch a tidy sum that would have stunned the colonists, since they considered Continentals in their day to be nearly worthless.

Continentals were issued until 1779. Notable printers including Benjamin Franklin produced the notes as part of the war effort. Modern collectible values of Continentals, as with the values of printed Colonial currency in general, depend on the rarity of the paper currency and the signatures made on the notes by notable patriots of the period.

Some counterfeit Colonial notes are worth more than the originals. The British attempted to disrupt the Colonial economy by issuing tens of millions of dollars of Continental notes. Today, the British counterfeit notes are rarer than authentic Continentals in some cases and may fetch double the price of originally issued Continentals of the same denominations and dates.

Reasons to Collect Colonial Paper Currency

There are several compelling reasons to collect Colonial-era paper currency. The paper notes serve as historical documents and reveal the people and institutions that were instrumental in developing the young America. As historical pieces, the Colonial paper notes make wonderful gifts for educators and history buffs.

People who have deep love and pride for their states collect their individual states’ Colonial notes for sentimental reasons. Collectors can choose from notes issued by colonies and by some of the growing cities of the Colonial period. Individual or grouped Colonial paper notes are wonderful decor enhancements in restaurants and businesses that emphasizes individual state or Colonial themes.

The lettering and illustrations on Colonial paper currency make the notes pieces of art in their own right. Colonial currency features depictions of buildings, patriotic vignettes, and people of the period. The notes make interesting conversation pieces as well as prime examples of early printing methods and illustration styles in the colonies.

Some collectors of Colonial paper currency enjoy collecting a note from each of the 13 colonies. Other collectors seek out signatures from individuals they admire or about whom the collectors have a fascination. Notable persons including Paul Revere engraved and printed many of the Colonial notes. A collector can concentrate on acquiring one of every note issued by an individual colony or one of each denomination issued on a certain date.

Ways Experts Help Find and Verify Colonial Currency

Collectors of Colonial paper notes sometimes unknowingly purchase reproductions of Colonial paper currency. Numismatic experts can help you research the serial numbers of paper notes to check the authenticity of the currency before you purchase the notes.

Your rare coin and currency dealer is the best source of expert knowledge on Colonial notes, Continentals, and British counterfeit notes. If you’re searching for a particular denomination or issue of paper currency from the Colonial period, the coin and currency dealer will be on the lookout for the note. The dealer has many contacts to help you source the currency you wish to add to your paper currency collection or present as gifts to loved ones.

Start or add to your collection of Colonial paper currency by contacting Rocky Mountain Coins today. We have store locations in Denver and Greenwood Village, Colorado, and our helpful, trained staff are always happy to answer your questions about all types of paper currency.