A Beginner’s Guide to Collecting Coins

Collecting coins can be a fun and a valuable hobby, as it has been for many throughout the years. Links to years gone by and value of history has brought coin collecting from a hobby of the wealthy to a popular pastime. Today, millions of people collect coins just in the United States, with many businesses available to help with curating your acquisitions.

If you have been curious about collecting coins for a while and are getting ready to take the plunge, you probably have many questions. Learn about a few things you should know as you start on your quest for rare coins.

Get the Tools of the Trade

One of the most important parts of your numismatic (coin-collecting) journey will be finding out the value of each coin you come across. Many books are available as resources for coin collectors, as well as some trustworthy online guides. The Red Book and The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards of United States Coins are great places to start.

You will also get a lot of benefit from using a magnifier so that you can see different aspects of your coins in detail your eyes may not see on their own. Often, the value and rarity of the coins come down to minuscule details, so you need to be able to see them and judge them accurately. Lighting will also make a difference in being able to see your coins properly, so keep an eye on the light sources you use. 

Make a Plan

With all of the different ways money has changed over time, from the early empires up to the present day, you might not know where to start your coin collection. You can choose a denomination, year, or mint mark that you’re interested in or decide to go after State Quarters or Presidential Dollars because you already have a few in your pocket change.

The more you pursue a certain category, the more you’ll be able to narrow down what you’re interested in and what coins you want to continue to seek out. The search can be just as rewarding as having the collection itself.

Treat Them Carefully

As with any collection, the condition of the coins makes a difference in their value. However, one very important thing you need to know as a new coin collector: do not clean your coins yourself. The process of cleaning the coins can wear down the metal or add marks, which decrease their value. The natural aging of the metal is one of the ways to prove its authenticity, so let it age without cleaning.

You will also need to store them carefully and keep track of the materials used. Some materials will do more harm than good — for instance, PVC has been known to chemically react with coins. You may want to purchase a coin collector’s album, which will have slots for each coin. Other options are folders, display cases, or other household storage items, provided they don’t contain harmful chemicals.

Coin collecting can be a great way to learn about the history of your country and interact with people you may never have met otherwise. As long as you have the proper tools, handling and storage techniques, and a plan for moving forward, you’ll be well on your way to joining the ranks of numismatists across America and across the world. 

Whether you are new to coin collecting or looking to help a friend get involved with your hobby, Rocky Mountain Coin is here to help. Contact us today to buy, sell, or get more information to aid you on your coin-collecting journey. We look forward to seeing you and helping you start your coin collection.