Some get started by inheriting a coin collection from a relative or stumbling on an interesting coin at a flea market. Others love to browse at the local coin shop but haven’t yet made a purchase. Whatever the reason for the attraction to this fascinating hobby, coin collecting combines the best attributes of a treasure hunt and a journey into history. If you’re interested in old coins but don’t know where to start, read on for a complete beginner’s guide to coin collecting.
Novice coin collectors don’t need to invest hundreds of dollars to start an impressive collection. Check the local coin shop for smaller sets that can be easily assembled. Use these as a learning tool to explore the history of these coins and how they are graded and priced. Some popular routes for new coin collectors include a set of Lincoln pennies, proof and mint sets released annually by the U.S. Mint, and American Silver Eagle Bullion coins. Many people don’t even know they have interesting coins in that old change jar, such as Buffalo nickels or Sacajawea dollars.
Practice Proper Handling
Although we think of metal as durable, the truth is that handling old coins can damage the surface. Depending on the metal used, a coin may also have an undesirable reaction to the atmosphere. Wear cotton or latex gloves when handling an old coin. When this is not an option, hold them gently by the edges only. Never clean a coin, as doing so can drastically lower its value, or even render it worthless.
Store Coins Carefully
Humidity is the biggest threat to old coins, especially those made from copper and silver. Heat makes it easier for other environmental factors to damage a coin, while cold can leave water deposits that could damage the coin’s face. Environmental toxins like acid and chlorine are also of concern. Avoid these exposures with the proper storage for each specific coin. Choose an acid-free coin holder, album, or folder. These items can also help organize and catalog the collection. Once they are properly placed in the storage container, coins should be kept at room temperature. Avoid placing them in an attic or basement.
When it comes to amassing a coin collection, finding a small niche often leads to the greatest enjoyment. This should depend on the collector’s personal interest and can be anything from foreign currency to rare coins with errors to coins from a specific historical period. As time goes on, one will become more familiar with the coin collecting landscape and likely become particularly attracted to a specific area.
Are you looking for a local coin shop? Fair Oaks Coin & Bullion is a locally operated family-owned business with a wide selection of coins. We pride ourselves on our fair prices and our expertise, so we’re the perfect place for beginners to start building their coin collection. Visit our Sunrise Boulevard location today or contact us at (916) 965-1789.