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Cataloguing Coin Collections: A Beginner’s Guide

By Gainesville Coins
Published June 01, 2010

Keeping your coin collection organized is extremely important, especially as it grows. Doing this will both allow you to more easily find and file coins, but also help avoid the sometimes costly mistake of purchasing a coin you already own. There are a couple of options available to the coin collector when considering how to organize his collection. Try utilizing:

  • Computer Software: Not surprisingly, a number of software programs already exist, both on the web and just on your computer, to help the numismatist organize his collection. Taking advantage of such software suites as CoinManage or Exact Change allow you to not only organize your collection by characteristics including Coin Type, Mint Date, Composition, etc., but also to include comprehensive informational databases on nearly every world coin.

    Alternatively, you can join a Set Registry community which allows you to view your collections online and compare them with users from around the world.

  • Physical Albums: Perhaps you’re not too computer savvy, or you’d rather just not fiddle with it. If this is the case, you can do it the old way. While it will take longer, organizing your coin collection with physical logs and display cases will allow you to become much more familiar with your collection than you may otherwise be. If this sounds like the way you’d like to go, follow these simple steps:

  • Get a Log: You’ll need some way to keep track of your collection. Something as simple as a 5- subject notebook would do the trick. In it, you should set up some kind of system – most importantly, something that makes sense to you – for cataloguing your collection. For example, you could dedicate each section of the notebook to a coin type.

You should also create an organizational system. A step as simple as alphabetizing your collection or printing numbers that correspond to a specific coin in your log will help you locate your coins quickly. * Choose an Organizational Method: For the specifics on how and in what to store your coins, see our article on Coin Cleaning and Storage. What we’ll focus on here is the organization of your storage method. As indicated in the last section, you ought to have an organizational system. While your specific organizational patterns don’t matter, it is important that it remain consistent and easy for you to understand. Ultimately, you should do what works for you.

Many collectors simply alphabetize their coins. This is likely the simplest of approaches to organizing a collection. When done correctly, adding coins in the future does not require consulting a log. One can simply remember the name of a coin and find it quickly. Still others choose to number their storage media, whether they be acid-free envelopes or coin slabs. While slightly more complex, this allows the numismatist to notate coins much faster, as he needs only to write the full name of the coin once, and its respective number or code every other time.

Keeping your coins organized will ensure that your hobby is truly a joyful pursuit and not an aggravating task.

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