Do you intend to start a coin collection but have no idea where to start? The following list of tips will help you in your endeavor. We gathered the most important guidelines and recommendations from experts that any novice can apply to become an excellent coin collector.
Know your lingo
Besides being a fascinating pastime, coin collecting comes with its language. So, if you intend to join the world of coin collectors, you may start by learning a few terms. For instance, circulation coins are coins that have been used in commercial transactions over the years.
Commemorative coins, on the other hand, belong to a category of coins that are minted to celebrate an event, an outstanding personality, or an institution. They are also called numismatic coins. As you can quickly glean from the information offered here, they are never used for commercial purposes.
You should also learn about uncirculated coins, minting, face value, along with other terms that will make you the necessary introduction to the world of coin collecting.
Find a reputable dealer
You cannot start your collection without coins. That means that you need to be aware of the implications of purchasing coins from shady sources. Always count on a reputable coin dealer, as, otherwise, your collection might end up containing nothing but worthless pieces, or coins for which you cannot prove the provenience and therefore value.
There are many advantages associated with working with an honest coin dealer. For starters, he or she can offer invaluable information on what coins you should purchase. You can also get a correct appraisal of the coins you get, in case you receive them or you already have them from other sources. Last, but not least, a coin dealer can help you sell your collection for the right price, should you decide to do that at some point.
Invest a little in equipment
To learn about coins, you need to scrutinize them. While the naked eye can only do this much, to observe details that are too minuscule to see without extra help, you need something more. Some people prefer a dissecting microscope for coins, so think whether such an investment is justified, in case you’re not yet convinced that you want to get busy with coin collecting in your spare time.
You should have latex or cotton gloves for manipulating the coins since, while they are made of metal and resistant to wear and tear, they can get scratched and damaged, especially their surface. Find a place where you can store your coins, and place your case of coins somewhere away from any damage, be it excessive humidity, or anything else.
Or get the right magnifying glass
You might not have heard so far about the existence of a particular magnifying glass for coins, but such items do exist, and they have specific characteristics that you must bear in mind. Experts recommend getting a model with at least 7x magnification so that you can see all the details without any problem.
Others believe that a magnification of 2x or 3x is enough for a beginner. In case your eyesight is not the best, you should opt for a model with a higher magnification just so that you don’t have to squint and force your eyes when you’re examining your prized collection of coins.
Learn to be organized
Even if you don’t care about investing in equipment, and a magnifying glass for reading is enough for examining the coins in your collection, you should learn how to be organized. Cardboard folders are an easy choice if you want to keep your coins in the same place, and away from harm of any kind.
An idea that experts insist on is to label all the coins and write the specs underneath each coin. This way, you will be able to group different coins, and you will not have to worry about getting them mixed up.
This operation, however, requires a bit of time, and you might also have to educate yourself on the importance and value of each coin in your collection.
Never think as an investor
Coin collecting can be a productive pastime and not only a hobby, but that happens only if you have the proper mindset. If you get into coin collecting just for the sake of making a buck, you have just started on the wrong foot. Investors are guided, in their endeavors, by the need to make a profit. Their goal is to buy low and sell high.
Coins, even when they are collectibles, do not change their value overnight. Collectors, not investors, are those who make a good profit from selling their coins or even entire collections, due to a primary consideration.
They take care of their collections, and thus, they increase their value. A fair return on investment happens years or even decades from purchasing a particular coin.
Always buy coins that look great
Coins, to maintain their value, need to be in as close as mint condition as possible. An old and rare coin might have some minor signs of damage and still maintain its high value, but, as is the case with most coins, they don’t belong to such a narrow category.
So, if you want a rule of thumb for your coin collecting ambitions, you should always invest in good looking coins. Inspect them, if need be, to ensure that they are in good condition.
Never try to remove scratches and signs of damage
Do you know what can be even worse than buying damaged coins? The right answer is: trying to eliminate the signs of damage by polishing the coins or using other methods. Even the least trained coin dealer and collector can tell you that it is a complete no-no to try to recondition damaged coins.
Pay heed to the advice offered just earlier and invest only in pieces that are worth the price. Only in this way, you will be able to populate your collection with valuable pieces that you can later resell.