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Beginner's Guide to Coin Collecting

Beginner's Guide to Coin Collecting - Sprott Money Collectibles

Creating your own collection, that is researching, shopping, buying, displaying and growing your personal treasury gives you something all your own. Not only is it fun to learn and collect, it’s also fun to show and share with others. Plus, who doesn’t like the thrill of the hunt?

Learn The Lingo

Like any passion or hobby, learning the lingo is half the fun. Here are a few terms to get you started:

  • Edge: The border of a coin. May be plain or serrated.

  • Circulation coins Coins that have been used and circulated among the general population.

  • Commemorative coins Also known as numismatic or collectible coins, they are minted to commemorate a particular event, person, place, or theme.

  • Face value:  The nominal value displayed on the coin.

  • Proof coins:  Coins minted using a high-quality finish.

  • Obverse: The head or face/front side of a coin.

  • Reverse: The back side of a coin, usually depicting the chosen design.

  • Commemorative coins Also known as numismatic or collectible coins, they are minted to commemorate a particular event, person, place, or theme.

  • Intrinsic value: The actual value of the coin, based on key factors such as what you paid, the historic value, aesthetic features, a special mint year, scarcity/rarity (mintage), and demand.

  • Mint: A facility that manufactures coins

  • Minting: The manufacturing process.

  • Mintage: The number of coins issued of a particular design.

  • Numismatics: The study or collection of coins (or paper money).

Start A Legacy

You may discover that many coins increase in value over the course of time. This is an exciting prospect for any collector. Whether you give coins as gifts for special occasions or you want to leave a legacy to others such as your children, nieces and nephews and/or grandchildren, one of the nicest things you can do is share your passion with the ones you love.

Getting Started

1. Stick with what you know

With so many options available to coin collectors, the best way to fuel your passion for coins is begin with what you know. It could be a historical event or figure, an interest in astrology or nature, a great sports athlete or team, or maybe its coins from a specific country or mint, picking a theme will help you narrow your focus on something that appeals to you. Of course, interests vary over time, but that is the beauty of coin collecting, there is always a new path in coins to explore.

2. Tools of trade

You don’t need to spend a lot to start coin collecting; however, there are a few items collectors use to ensure coins are stored and handled properly. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
  • A magnifying glass to see coin details closely
  • Open a file on your computer to catalogue and track your collection
  • A storage container that keeps your collection safe and protected from the elements
  • A pair of cotton gloves for handling your coins
  • Invest in a reference book for general information about coin collecting

3. Coin Care

It’s important to keep your coins looking their best, not only to enjoy their artistry and design, but also because the better the condition, the higher the value.

Try these simple suggestions:

  • Use cotton, never bare hands, when handling coins

Oils, finger prints, and dirt damage your coin’s finish and value. Instead of using your bare hands, try cotton gloves.

  • Handle with care

When picking up your coin, never grab it by touching the obverse (front) or reverse (back) surface. Try picking it up by the edges, between the thumb and forefinger. 
Also, try not talking too much when handling your coins. Saliva can create frustrating, permanent spots.

  • Storage 

Keep your collection in a dry, safe container/box or your choice. And to keep dust from depositing on your coins, try storing them in paper envelopes or hard plastic cases.

That's All There Is To It!

Hopefully these tips will help you start and have a long and rewarding hobby in coin collecting that you can share with others for years to come.

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