Coin Collecting 101: An Introduction to Coin Collecting

If you are new to the hobby of coin collecting, or curious about this fascinating hobby, read on...

by James M Bucki | Published on October 7, 2022

There are many reasons that people become interested in coin collecting. The technical name for studying coins, or for that fact, all forms of money, is numismatics. Some people stumble onto the hobby of coin collecting by finding a curious coin in their pocket change or while metal detecting. Others inherit a coin collection from a relative and are fascinated by it. And still, others are introduced to the hobby via a family member, friend or by attending a numismatic-related event such as a Boy Scouts of America Coin Collecting Merit Badge Workshop. Regardless of how you get started, you are about to embark on a lifelong journey of fun and enjoyment, making new friends and possibly making some money.

Collectors versus Accumulators

There are many "coin accumulators" in the world. These people toss their curious coins into a jar or bottom of their sock drawer. Organization differentiates a "coin collector" from a "coin accumulator." There are many ways to organize your coin collection. Some numismatic purists insist that the only way to organize a coin collection is by date and mintmark. However, there are as many different ways to organize a coin collection as there are coin collectors. These include collecting type sets, date sets, year sets, topical sets, proof sets, uncirculated mint sets, commemorative coins, bullion coins, etc.

Regardless of how you organize your collection, it is essential to protect your coins so that they will maintain their value or even increase in value. There are many different ways to protect your coin collection, each of which has advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, the cost to purchase the coin collecting supplies will vary depending upon the type of protection you wish to have for your collection. The more valuable your coins are, the more you should spend on protecting them.

Why People Collect Coins

There are many different reasons why people collect coins. One of the underlying reasons that every coin collector has is a goal to sell their coins for more than they paid for them. An old adage says, "Collect coins for your enjoyment and for your heirs' profitability." If you buy a coin at a fair price and enjoy having that coin in your collection, you will never feel like you were ripped off.

Other reasons include assembling a collection of coins for a feeling of accomplishment and admiring their beauty. Taking time to work on your collection also provides an opportunity to relax. There is also a social aspect of joining a coin club and participating in coin shows. People, who are successful investors in coins, take the time to educate themselves by seeking out detailed information on the coins that they collect. This provides them with the knowledge and experience that gives them the edge over uninformed collectors and dealers.

Continuing Your Coin Collecting Journey

If you're ready to advance your coin collecting experience to the next level, you need to seek out people and information that will guide you along your journey. This may include visiting coin dealers in your area and becoming familiar with them and the coins that they sell. This will allow you to ask questions and seek the dealer's advice.

Like all businesses, there are good coin dealers and bad coin dealers. If you dislike a particular coin dealer, find another one to do business with. Also, some communities have coin clubs that meet regularly. Finding a local coin club will also allow you to learn more about the coins you collect and meet people with similar interests. The Greysheet directory will help you locate dealers and organizations.

Unfortunately, the Internet is also a wonderful source of information and misinformation. You have already found a resource to help you advance your coin-collecting knowledge by visiting this website. There are also online coin forums and specialty websites that may interest you.

As much as computers have permeated our lives, books are still the number one source of information for coin collecting. Beginners will significantly benefit by purchasing a copy of Secrets of the Rare Coin & Bullion Business, as well as the Guide Book to United States Coins (A.K.A. "The Redbook"). These resources will allow you to educate yourself and study coins before you decide to start assembling a collection. So another sage bit of advice is, "Buy the book before you buy the coin." When you are ready to start buying and selling coins and need to know fair market prices, we also recommend the Greysheet Collectors Price Guidance (CPG) as a valuable resource for researching values. The CPG is based on our award-winning wholesale values which take market-marker bids, spot prices and current auction data into account when determining valuation. Subscribe to any of our coin and currency value packages here to find what best fits your needs, but people just starting to get involved will really love our collectors package.

Coin collecting can be a lifelong hobby that can be anything you want it to be. Assembling a coin collection that you can be proud of is a process, not a race. Collectors that rush to build a set of coins usually make many mistakes, including paying too much for the coins they purchased or buying counterfeit, damaged, or cleaned coins. Remember, coin collecting is a journey and a process, not a race.

Ending Your Coin Collecting Journey

There comes a time in every coin collector's journey that they need to step away from the hobby due to financial limitations, life pressures, or time constraints. However, if your coins are correctly stored, they will still be in the same condition as you left them. People who have collected coins for ten, twenty, or fifty years or longer know the value of a well-organized collection. Their heirs even more, appreciate it.

To properly liquidate your collection for the most money, you need to know the coin's value. The retail value of a coin is what you can expect to pay a coin dealer to purchase the coin. When selling your collection, you will need to know the its value and you can rest assured you'll be up to date on the latest and most accurate prices from Greysheet when you have one of our subscription plans. Collectible coins and paper money see their valuations change constantly over time, you won't want to be dealing with values that are out of date, so when it comes to getting the best value for your buck, having Greysheet on your side is a smart choice.

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Author: James M Bucki

James M Bucki image James Bucki is a coin collector, part-time coin dealer, and professional numismatic writer. James has been educated by some of the leading professionals in the coin collecting industry. He has received national recognition for outstanding coin collections and has won various awards for his coin exhibits at coin shows.

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