Coin Collecting 101: Five Steps to Jumpstart a New Hobby
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Coin Collecting 101: 5 Steps to a New Collection

Collecting Tips & Info

The world of coin collecting can seem impenetrable and complicated to beginners. The key to starting a coin collection, however, is to follow five simple steps.

  1. Start with what’s in your pocket: Study the coins you encounter daily, and get to know their features. A coin collection can start with coins found between the couch cushions or in the attic. Look out for these interesting or unusual coins in the everyday world:
    • Lincoln head pennies: Often called “wheat pennies,” these coins circulated from 1909 to 1958. In 1959, they were replaced with the modern design, which features the Lincoln Memorial, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.
    • Buffalo nickels: Instead of Thomas Jefferson, these coins feature a composite portrait of a Native American chieftain. The reverse side depicts a buffalo. They circulated from 1913 to 1938.
    • Sacajawea dollars: A new addition to American coinage, the Sacajawea dollar replaced the Susan B. Anthony dollar. The coins are notable for their unusual brass finish.
  2. Narrow your focus: Do a little research to figure out what type of coins interest you most, and concentrate on expanding your collection within that category.
    • For people interested in quirks or blemishes, error coins are the perfect focus. Error coins contain mistakes caused by flaws in the minting process.
    • History buffs may want to concentrate on coins from ancient cultures, like the Byzantines, or specific eras such as the Colonial period.
    • People who collect coins as an investment should focus on bullion, since they generally maintain long-term value and can be used as a hedge in times of inflation or in tough economic times.
  3. Get organized: Find a way to keep track of your collection. Always knowing what is in your collection—and what is not—can help you take advantage of exceptional deals on coins you need, and to avoid purchasing coins you already own.
    • Software programs designed specifically for coin collectors make it easy to catalogue a collection by various features like denomination, mint mark, type, or date.
    • Supplies such as albums, coin boxes, and display cases make storing and showcasing a collection both fun and easy.
  4. Join the coin collecting community: Participate in a club or organization for coin collectors or numismatists. If meeting in person seems premature, online communities and discussion forums are an excellent alternative.
    • Through these organizations, new collectors can gain insights from experienced collectors.
    • Coin collecting clubs also provide a way to network with people who buy, sell, and trade coins. They can help novices expand their collection productively.
  5. Expand your knowledge: The field of coin collecting changes all the time, so it is important to keep reading and researching. Books, magazines and websites are the coin collector’s most valuable asset.
    • Often sales and auctions of coins are not broadcast outside the coin collecting community. Staying up-to-date means finding out about unique opportunities to acquire new coins.
    • Market prices constantly fluctuate. Coin collectors who carefully watch the market benefit by selling or buying coins at just the right time
    • New coins are always entering the market. New commemorative coins are released, or ancient coins are unearthed. These changes represent chances for a fledgling collector to add to a collection.

By starting small, focusing efforts, and doing some research, anyone can successfully start a coin collection.

This information is provided for general reference purposes and does not constitute professional advice. For detailed coin collecting or investing information, please consult with a professional expert.

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