Lots of coin collectors start off by accident after they find a special-looking coin in their pockets or when they inherit their grandfather’s collection. Others start off because they know there’s money in it and think it’s a short route to riches. Both sorts of collectors need to follow these tips if they’re to make a success of their efforts.
Start off small
It’s highly unlikely that you have millions to spare and so buying a dud for a thousand or two could be a disaster. You should, therefore, start off with baby-steps. Buy cheaper coins and easily-assembled, popular sets from trusted dealers like Golden Eagle Coins so you can learn how to grade them and look after them without spending the family fortune. Lots of well-known collectors and experts have started off with a set of Lincoln pennies, for example.
Collect the coins you’re interested in
There are so many types of coins out there so you’ll have lots to choose from. You might be interested in the history of the coins, or the design or designer. If you’re interested in the back-story, you’ll be more motivated to learn more and this knowledge is transferable to other sets later on.
Younger collectors in particular tend to gravitate towards coin series with animal themes or sport themes, and this is a great way of getting youngsters into the hobby.
Make sure you handle and store your coins properly
Metal is quite tough, but the surface sheen on a coin is very delicate indeed – think about an older coin and the dulling it’s gone through. This isn’t just from handling and falling in and out of slots, it could also be due to the atmosphere and the acids and oils on people’s hands.
Get into the habit of wearing cotton gloves when you handle coins and never clean them! Coin dealers can spot a cleaned coin a mile away and will probably deem it damaged and maybe even worthless.
Take your time
There’s no hurry. It takes time to build up a varied and valuable collection of coins. If you rush into it and grab any old coin just because it looks good, then you may well be disappointed when you try to sell them. Slow down and read about the coins you’re interested in, talk to dealers – online and in person – and hold your horses. You might be tempted to pay over the odds for a coin you’ve been after for a while, but will you make that extra money back?
Buy the book before you buy the coin
This is an old saying, but it’s very wise. Of course, you don’t have to buy a physical book, you can look online (as long as you visit reputable websites), but do make sure you read. Leave the pricing alone for a while and read about grading, history, mint runs and so on first.
Join a club
Joining a club is a brilliant way to learn more and to keep your interest going. Most towns and cities in the US will have a coin club and there are also specialist clubs around the nation too. If you’re particularly interested in coins with errors or a particular era, for example, then you’ll be able to find like-minded collectors.