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How to Start a Coin Collection

Abhijit Naik Mar 12, 2019
A beginner's guide to coin collection, which will help you go ahead with your newfound interest of collecting rare coins.
Many people believe that coin collection and numismatics are the same, which is not really the case. Numismatics (or numismatology) involves collecting and studying old and rare coins.
Coin collecting, on the other hand, is more of a hobby, wherein people collect various coins for their beauty and/or historically significance.

Coin Collecting for Beginners

While a numismatist collects coins to study them, a hobbyist collects them as a hobby with no intention of making profits. For such people, coin collecting is more of a pastime activity, as opposed to a numismatist―for whom it means pure business.
If you intend to become a numismatist, you will have to put in a lot of efforts and devote a significant amount of time for the same. If you intend to collect coins as a hobby, which is what we expect you are here for, you will have to grasp the basics and learn from your experience.
Here are some important points that you need to take into consideration before you start it as a hobby.

Decide Which Coins You Want to Collect

You can start off by deciding what type of coins you want to collect. Some people prefer collecting silver coins, while others prefer collecting gold coins.
Similarly, some people would put their money on bi-metallic coins, while others would go for old Chinese coins, which are no more in production.
There are quite a few categories to choose from, including country collection, year collection, period collection, composition collection, etc. If you want, you can also start by collecting whatever coins you come across and eventually choosing a particular niche.

Do Some Research

Being updated about the basics of coins can be of great help, and to be updated you will have to do some research on this subject. You can collect information on these coins by surfing the Internet, reading books, meeting other people who are in this field, consulting coin dealers selling old coins, etc.
You need to understand what to look out for when buying a coin, how to determine its value, etc. While referring to various sources will be of great help, you will become well versed with the intricate details of the entire process only after getting a first hand experience.

Start with Coins in Circulation

In the beginning, we would advise you to start collecting coins which are in circulation, as they will be easily available and risk involved while handling them will be minimal. You can simply start by collecting circulation coins belonging to different years or from different mints.
While the year will be printed on the coin, the mint mark on the coin will tell you where it was minted. For a start, you can collect whatever change you come across in your daily transactions and arrange them in a particular order.

Handling the Coins

One of the foremost thing to keep in mind is that you should always hold a coin by its rim, as holding it by face and back between your fingers will ruin its shine. You also need to be extra careful when you clean old coins. What method of cleaning to choose will depend on what type of coin it is.
A copper coin can be cleansed with vegetable oil and cloth, while silver coins can be cleansed with lather. Never ever try to clean rare coins, as you are more likely to damage it without realizing.
Only when it is put under a magnifying glass, will you see get to see the damage in the form of scratches. You need to handle these coins properly, as a slight cut or bend can devalue them of their collectible value.

Displaying the Coins

In order to display your coin collection, you can use a coin folder, coin album, or 2×2 holder. Each of these have their own advantages and disadvantages, and you can make a choice on the basis on your convenience.
Coin folders, for instance, are ideal, but they only display one side of the coin. In such circumstances, resorting to an album or 2×2 collection can be ideal for you. The way you handle these coins will show how seriously you take your hobby.
While the simple tips and tricks will help you start your own coin collection, the first-hand experience that you will get from dealing in these coins will help you graduate into a seasoned coin collector from an amateur in no time. It's all about starting, and once you have started you will just have to go with the flow.