Collectors' other eyes
Collectors rely on their eyes for so much. But those who closely examine coins have other sets of eyes too. How many visual aids do you use, besides maybe a pair of glasses or contacts?
Many serious collectors own a magnifier or a loupe, or both. A simple magnifier enables you to see all details of a coin, the wear patterns, the Mint luster. Specialists in early coins, such as large cents, can rely on a loupe for close work, to discern the many different varieties. Collectors who enjoy searching for error coins use such aids that help in identifying special coins, and can even lead to the discovery of a new variety.
I once knew a coin authenticator who used a microscope in his work. Detailed work to be sure.
How many numismatists are also interested in astronomy? Over the years, I've met a great number of coin lovers who enjoy looking at the stars and planets, who observe eclipses and other phenomena. Amateur astronomers can own a telescope, or at least a pair of binoculars, to spot details on the moon, to see the clouds of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn. More optical aids!
Perhaps coin enthusiasts are a special breed for whom a pair of eyes is not enough. Think of all the ways you use lenses, looking at coins, pursuing another hobby. From looking at tiny half dimes to studying the largest planet, optical aids are a valuable and essential part of a numismatists' life.
Magnification certainly helps with grading - just use the right level. 8 times magnification is the best. More than that and you can see to many issues that grading agencies do not take into account.
I really like my microscope that attached to my PC. Go for magnification. Go for with and without light. It can create a photo or movie. The movie helps show luster.
i have a jeweler's loupe (10x17 mm) that i use it is a very helpful tool that i can use to see marks that are close to impossible to see with my own eyes. i will also occasionally use my phones camera. i found them to be very high definition and detailed (depends on the phone of course). if you are using magnification what matters most is the lighting in my opinion that you are looking at it under.
Great blog. Personally I use my eyes first, especially on large coins like Peace Dollars. If it looks nice I go to my 3 way loupe. The low mag. is usually enough. As Mike says lighting is essential. I live in the desert so looking at the stars is hard to avoid. I get to see beauty looking down as well as up. Thanks for the nice blog!!
Right now I'm interested in coins. Stars are nice have nothing against them. Just got off a blog where the collector was taking ideas on what type of loop to use. I told him I like the three loop with three different magnifications for different reasons. The lite is very important to. Have the wrong lite the loop will tell you something different. That's why it's important. Thanks for your time and ideas and I just finished a blog on writing blogs! Take care keep them coming.