Collecting coins is a great hobby for anyone fascinated by the miniature works of art that every coin contains. Getting started requires just a few coin collecting supplies. As you become a more serious coin collector you can continue to grow both your coin collection, as well as the coin collecting supplies that you use to value your coins and to store and display them safely.
Although there are many coin collectors who seek out esoteric coin sets, such as series of silver half dollars made before 1964, as a beginner coin collector, you can start your coin collection with much more accessible coins. Although the coins that you see in your spare change every day may not be very valuable at the moment, acquiring one of each is a fun way to get started.
Purchase coin collecting albums to help guide your collection. Each coin collecting album, available for under $20 each, is geared toward a specific coin, such as state quarters, dimes during certain years, etc. Get started with these albums and try to fill in all of the spaces in albums for coins that are more current. Try to have every dime from the past decade or every penny.
These coin albums are essential coin collecting supplies because they are filled with cardboard pages that have clear plastic slots for each coin as well as a label indicating which year, mint, and type of coin it is. For example, Dime 1999-D, belongs in each slot. D in this case stands for Denver – the location of the mint. Each mint prints different amounts of each coin, so you may find it easier or harder to find coins from the same year from different mints.
Coin Collecting Supplies – Focused Coin Collecting
Once you have filled up your first book of pennies or dimes, you may be ready to collect a set of coins that is a little more focused, and may include some rare coins.
Composite collections of coins include those coins that are based upon the metallurgical composition of the coins. This could mean collecting only silver, gold, platinum, or copper coins from different years and countries. A composite collection also could include bimetallic coins or those that are historically significant because they were only minted once. For example, these include the 1974 aluminum cent and the 1943 steel cent.
Another popular way to collect coins is by subject. Subject collections include coins that are from different countries and years but which feature similar subjects. These could include eagles, ships, or even a common figure, such as a president.
Storing Your Coins
To maintain the value of the coins that you collect, whether they have been recently minted or not, it is important to have some of the following coin collecting supplies:
Coin Tubes and Wrappers
Coin tubes and wrappers to roll a large amount of the same type of coin. These are the same wrappers that banks use when they hand out rolls of new currency. Make sure that when you roll your coins that not only are they the same year, but also from the same mint. Because each mint prints different quantities of each coin each year, those coins that were made at mints that only made a few of them will be worth more in the future. You can purchase coin wrappers and tubes at office supply stores or from specialty coin supply websites like Wizard Coin Supply.
Coin cases are available as single cases and as display cases for sets of coins. They are important for both storing your coins safely and for displaying them. If you have your coins certified by a member of the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), then there are special cases that will display both the coin and the official grade and seal from the PCGS.
Specialty Coin Maps
If you have decided to collect the series of state quarters that have been released over the past decade, then you can do so with a cardboard map that has a spot on each state for you to put your state quarter. Be sure to purchase a map that has extra spots for the six territorial quarters that were also released. A state coin map is a great way to display state quarters that have already been circulated, such as those that you may find in your everyday spare change.
Available in a variety of styles from The Coin Supply Store, these maps are typically available for $10 to $15. However, if you have purchased state quarters that have not been circulated, then it is important that you keep them in their protective case or container to keep their value intact.
Coin Books and Magazines
One of the most important coin collecting supplies that you will purchase are the coin books that will help you to evaluate both the value of the coins that you find as well as their condition. Coin books can be purchased by denomination, series, or special interest. There are books devoted to identifying counterfeit coins as well as rare coin defects that can dramatically increase the coin’s value.
You also can subscribe to a magazine that will provide you with both feature articles on coins as well as updated values each month. Coin World is an excellent resource to add to your coin collecting supplies. They also offer an online subscription that will allow you to quickly find out the value of the coins that you come across. Reading the monthly articles in their magazine will also let you learn about some of the different and exciting rare coins that you can be on the lookout for as you continue to build your collection.
Cleaning Your Coins
The biggest mistake that many new coin collectors make is to assume that cleaning coins that have already been circulated will add to their value. In reality, the opposite is true. You should never try to clean your coins because doing so improperly will inevitably cause very small abrasions and these scratches will ruin your coin’s value.
Over the years your coins, especially those that have been around for several decades or even longer, will acquire what is known as “toning.” Toning is what professional coin dealers and serious coin collectors refer to the coloration that coins develop naturally.
Getting A Closer Look At Your Coins
As you become a more serious coin collector, you will become more attuned to the value and condition of your coins. To do so accurately, purchase a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe. These hand held magnifiers will help you to see the details on your coins without straining your eyes. You also will be able to see imperfections that may indicate a mint error, which would increase the value of your coin, or the work of a counterfeiter.
When purchasing coins from another collector it is a good idea to use your magnifier to check the condition of the coins in question, particularly if they have not been professionally graded. Magnifiers and jeweler’s loupes are available in a variety of styles and magnification strengths, including models that will fit easily into your purse or pocket. As you continue growing your coin collection, you will find that magnifiers are your most essential coin collecting supplies.
Related YouTube Videos
Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.