Coin collecting can be a lot of fun and profitable, if you do it
right. Getting started is easy too. You can start collecting coins
simply by sorting through your pocket change. Or you can build a
collection of coins or bullion by buying them directly from
1. Find a coin dealer
When you start collecting coins, it's important to find an
honest coin dealer you can trust. This person can provide you with
valuable advice. Rather than searching in the yellow pages, ask
around for a personal referral. There are many shady dealers and
pawnbrokers out there. A good coin dealer will follow industry
standard code of ethics. A good coin dealer can also appraise your
collection when you're ready to sell your coins providing you with
an accurate price.
2. Learn about grading
Grading is a skill mastered by coin dealers. Simply put, it's a
system of determining the state of preservation and wear of a given
coin. For most circulated coins, the primary focus of grading is on
how much wear the coin has seen and what damage it has suffered.
Damage includes things like dings, dents and scrapes. Grading
consists of a 70-point scale, with an abbreviation for an adjective
appended for clarity. For example VF means "Very Fine," EF means
"Extremely Fine" and MS refers to "Mint State." More important,
uncirculated coins are always referred to as Mint State on the
3. Protect your collection
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to protect your coin
collection is by using cardboard folders. These folders have
circular holes cut into them that fit the coin exactly and hold it
firmly in place. Underneath the hole is generally a date or
description of that particular coin. This will help to keep you
organized as you begin to assemble a complete set of coins. You can
also purchase plastic covers to protect coins. However, over time
the plastic can adhere to the surface of the coin and actually
4. Coin collecting supplies
As an aspiring coin collector, there are certain supplies that
you will need in order to begin your collection process. For
starters, you need a magnifier to help see your coins better.
Search for a magnifier with a magnification power between 2X and
3X. It's also important to have some reading material. Every coin
collector should have two books: A Guidebook of United States
Coins also known as the Red Book and The Official American
Numismatic Association Grading Standards of United States
Coins. The Red Book provides standard pricing of all U.S.
coins as well as a description. The second book has a detailed
description of every U.S. coin and how grade is determined.
5. Start collecting
Go to a bank or local convenience store and ask for a roll of
circulated coins. Whether it is Jefferson nickels or Lincoln
pennies, you can start sorting through the coins according to
dates. Make different piles according to decades. After you have
created different piles, start with the earliest the dates and pick
the best looking from each year for your collection. The
best-looking coin is not always the newest. Rather it will have the
least amount of wear, damage or scratches.
Katelyn Porter is a freelance writer and avid coin
collector. When she's not writing, she's working on building her
collection. She has learned a lot through her favorite resource, Great American Coin
Company and hopes others can learn from them as well.