Are you interested in collecting coins? Does any unique coin pique your interest in collecting more? Thinking about what to look for when collecting coins? Whether you are a beginner, hobbyist, or an experienced coin collector, there are certain things you must look for while collecting coins. In this blog post, let’s discuss them in detail.
1. What is Coin Collection?
To put it simply, coin collection refers to the act of gathering coins which has certain special features. The collectors usually collect coins based on different themes like coins from a specific country, period, minting errors, etc.
The scientific study of coins is termed as numismatics. It’s a broader area including paper money. Some people collect coins for fun some others see it as a profitable investment.
Coins were hoarded even during the times of the Roman Empire. The history of modern coin collecting is generally traced to the fourteenth century. The coin collecting became popular during the Renaissance period, especially among the upper class.
Today coin collecting is a popular hobby across the globe. Whether you starting a coin collection as a hobby or as a valuable investment, it’s essential to look for coins with collectible values.
In the subsequent sections, we are going to delve into the million-dollar question when it comes to coin collections- What to look for when collecting coins? Before that, let’s understand the important parts of a coin.
2. Must Know Basics: Important Parts of a Coin
Before starting your coin collection journey, it’s important to know the parts of a coin. So, In this section, we are going to discuss the details of a coin.
It is the lateral border of the coin, also referred to as the third side. The edge may be lettered, reeded, plain, or even decorated.
The front side or head of the coin is termed the obverse.
The back side or tail of the coin.
It is a slightly elevated portion of edge on the other sides of the coin. It is meant to protect the coin from wear and tear.
The part of the coin where no design or inscription exists.
The apprised portion of coin design is termed as a relief.
2.6. Mint Mark
It’s either a symbol or letter indicating the location where the coin was minted. Eg. The ‘P’ for Philadelphia
Lettering on the coin is termed a legend or inscription.
After knowing about different parts of a coin, are you curious about things to look for when you start collecting coins? In the next section, we are going to discuss what to look for when collecting coins. Read on!
3. What to Look for When Collecting Coins? Top Eight Pointers
While collecting coins, there are certain must-look-for factors you can not avoid at any cost. Let’s go through them in detail to build meaningful and more valuable coin collections.
3.1. The Coin Type
The collectible coins can be classified into different categories. Some of them are listed below
I. Country of Origin
II. Error Coins
III. Uncirculated Coin
IV. Commemorative Coins
V. Proof Coins
VI. Ancient Coins
VII. Bullion Coins
I.Country of Origin
The coins can be collected based on their origin. You can focus only on the United States coins or look for world coins. While collecting coins, the country of origin is a key factor.
World coins generally refer to foreign coins. For less expensive collections you can try collecting 5 cents Canada (1922-36) coins minted by the Royal Canadian Mint.
II. Error Coins
They are interesting coins, the error coins refer to the type of coins with minting errors. You may think that these coins are worthless but actually, they are rare and are one of the favorite categories for coin collectors.
The minting errors can be of different types, like coins with multiple strikes, off-center strikes, or made using defective dies. They are very rare and valuable coins and hence they are priced high.
III. Uncirculated Coins
They are extremely rare coins and hence are expensive coins compared to circulating coins. If you are a hobbyist collecting coins for fun, this may be out of your reach. It’s better to look for coins like that of the cheapest value among circulated coins belonging to a particular period. Such coins are also valuable coins.
IV. Commemorative Coins
The commemorative coins are important since they are minted to remember certain occasions or people. They are collectibles and the best part is you can get such United States coins from the National Mint.
When you are getting it from the National Mint, you will also receive the certificate of authenticity and value guarantee.
V. Proof Coins
Collecting old-proof coins is a dream come true for many coin collectors. They are exclusive coins with the finest quality.
They stand out with excellent artistic design and quality. There are also reverse-proof coins, in which the background has a mirror-like finish, unlike proof coins where the design has such finishing.
VI. Ancient Coins
They are rare and valued coins belonging to ancient times sometimes even dating back to the Roman Empire. Such coins carry a high price tag and are very difficult to find. But, these coins remind us when talking about what to look for when collecting coins, the age of the coin is hard to miss.
VII. Bullion Coins
These are coins made of precious metals like gold or silver. The pure gold coins themselves carry intrinsic values.
The type of coins you can collect does not end here, if you are looking for a less expensive collection, you can try collecting coins like 1934-1945 Mercury dimes, 1921 silver Morgan dollars, or Lincoln pennies coin sets.
3.2. Coin Design
Some coins are famous for their design. They have exquisite coin designs and are much appreciated by coin collectors. Examples of such a category include the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coin. It is renowned for its beautiful design.
3.3. Silver Vs Gold Debate
The coin material is something you should consider while answering the query about what to look for when collecting coins. Among the materials gold and silver stand out due to their wider usage.
Choosing between silver and gold coins depends majorly on your financial capacity. If have a higher amount to spend on coin collecting you can choose gold coins.
But remember the value is not entirely dependent on the materials, other factors like period and design, etc. can have an impact on the market value. Hence sometimes rare and valuable old coins of silver may be more expensive compared to gold ones.
3.4. Historical Relevance of Coins
Coin collecting is also a way of interacting and understanding history. While collecting look for historical significance since it can play a crucial role in determining the overall value of a coin. If you are someone fond of history combining coin collecting with history is a great idea!
3.5. The Condition of Coins
While collecting pay attention to the conditions. It should have most of its original features and minimal scratches etc. Even if the coin is hundreds of years old, if it’s not in good condition its value will go down.
While checking the condition of coins make sure that most of the reflecting property of coins is retained.
3.6. Authenticity of Coins
when talking about what to look for when collecting coins, authenticity is the most important factor. Make sure that the coins you are collecting are authorized and verified by reliable sources like the American Numismatic Association. While buying from coin dealers check for authenticity and quality certifications.
3.7. Coin grading
The coin grading is done on a scale of 0 to 70. Along with numbers letters are also provided. For example, VG stands for very good. Such grading is done by companies like Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and it can also change over time.
3.8. Market Value
While collecting it is vital to know about the market value of the coin. To understand the market value of any particular coins you can consult numismatic experts.
4. Top Ten Tips for Beginners
In the previous section, we tried to answer all your queries related to what to look for when collecting coins. Are you excited to start your collection? Wondering about how to and where to start? don’t worry, in this section, we are providing you with enough tips to start your collecting journey!
- When you are starting, pick an easy theme like the 1934-1938 date and mint set of Buffalo nickels or Indian head pennies.
- You can purchase coins from coin dealers, expos, auctions, local coin shows, coin shops, or specific coin sets from the National Mint. While purchasing coins, remember to follow the factors we discussed in the section on what to look for when collecting coins.
- Don’t hesitate to swap coins with other coin collectors.
- Before you start collecting, make sure that you have a basic understanding of coin grading.
- Buy a magnifying glass and a scale to check coins carefully.
- Do not make any changes to the original coins.
- Clean coins and store them well. Do not expose them to high humidity or sunlight. You can buy safes, coin folders, boards for storage, and coin flips for individual coins.
- While handling coins, try to hold them by the edges. Holding by edges will prevent any damage. Remember proper handling is as important as coin collecting.
- If you are a new coin collector, it is advisable to join a coin club.
- If you buy coins online, check for acknowledgment by organizations like the American Numismatic Association. If it is not available go through the online reviews carefully.
5. Final Reflections
In this blog post, we had a detailed discussion about what to look for collecting coins. We also discussed relevant parts of a coin and tips for new collectors. Equipped with this knowledge, are you ready to start a coin collection journey?
Collecting coins is a fun-filled hobby and a way to understand our history. So, what is stopping you from pursuing the art of collecting coins? Happy collecting!
A passionate content writer bubbling with curiosity to explore new things. Shilpa is an content writer with experience in writing travel blogs and she is also a avid painter. Coming from Engineering background she is tech savvy and always like to find creative ways to tell new stories.