You don’t have to be a pirate to hunt for treasure. Coin collecting is a fun hobby and a way to find your personal treasure trove.
You likely have pennies lying around your house or collecting dust in a jar. Did you know if you have a penny dated 1913-D, it’s worth at least $4?
But if it’s in mint condition, you could get $250 at an auction. Not a huge fortune — but still a way to begin making money.
No one really knows when coin collecting started. But people did collect unusual coins over 2,000 years ago. In fact, Roman Emperor Augustus is the earliest known coin collector.
Coin collecting in the United States didn’t start until the mid-1800s. Two of the past presidents — Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams — were numismatists. That’s the fancy name for coin collectors.
Are you ready to start your search for treasure?
Read on to find out how you can begin the entertaining hobby of coin collecting.
Why Start Collecting Coins?
7 to 10 million Americans are serious about coin collecting. Why do you think so many people collect coins?
One reason is that coins are part of your everyday life. You see them and handle them countless times each day. So you’re always noticing the new, shiny coins or the old, tarnished ones.
Maybe you’ve set aside an old coin from the 1940s wondering how many people held it before you. This could be what fires up your idea to start collecting coins.
Avid coin collectors don’t think about finding a rare coin that’s worth millions of dollars. They collect because they’re fascinated with the history, politics, and the growth of U.S. civilization.
Some collectors see coins as miniature artwork with different themes, such as animals, ships, famous people, or historical images.
You can find American heroes on coins like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. So you can see how fascinating coin collecting can be.
If you’ve caught the U.S. coin collecting bug, you might want to check out the Smithsonian Institute’s numismatic showcase. It has one of the world’s greatest coin collections.
Getting Started with Your Collection
The best place to start your coin collecting is right in your own piggy bank. You’ll most likely find the beginning of a great coin collection there.
You may be surprised by the variety of U.S. coins you already have. You’ll see different denominations, designs, and mint dates.
You might even have the rare Buffalo nickel originally designed by James Earle Fraser. Buffalo nickels have a pure Americana design.
It’s a good idea to identify the types of coins you want to collect. A focus will help you stay organized.
For example — you could collect a nickel for every year they were made. Another example is a personal collection for the years your children (or you) were born.
As you become more familiar with coin collecting, you can gradually advance to purchasing the coins you want. Take pleasure in finding rare coins, filling the hole in your album, and anything you get for it down the road will just be a little extra bonus.
While you collect, do some research to learn more about your coins. This will also help you decide whether you want to continue with the hobby before you invest any money into it. Try not to get caught up in buying the highest-grade coins instead of enjoying your hobby.
Coin collecting can be complex, so take your time developing your collection. This way you won’t get overwhelmed with all the American coins available. If you do decide to buy coins, shop around and talk to other collectors first.
Helpful Supplies for Your Coin Collection
Unlike many hobbies, you only need a few supplies for coin collecting. Here are some items you need to get the most out of your hobby:
- Magnifying glass for examining coin details
- Incandescent lighting for proper coin viewing
- Coin folders or albums for viewing coins and keeping them safe from oxidation
- Flat clinch stapler for closing cardboard coin holders
- Coin collecting books about the coin grading scale and coin varieties
- Gloves to keep your hand oils and acids from damaging your coins
- Soft pad to cushion your coins while looking at them
These items will help you enjoy your coins and keep them safe from friction and other damage. Also — don’t be tempted to clean your coins because it will lower their value.
Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Coin Collecting
The nice thing about coin collecting is that anyone can do it. You can start with just the change you have in your pocket or buy legendary coins at coin shows and conventions.
Here are seven ways you can get the most out of your coin collecting — no matter what types of coins you have:
- Get involved in the social world of collecting
- Learn to grade your coins
- Understand how you can collect coins
- Learn where you can sell coins
- Know the value of your coins
- Read more about types of coinage, such as challenge coins
- Learn the facts about coins
- Treat your coin collecting as a hobby and have fun
Coin collecting should be a fun and interesting hobby. As you interact with other enthusiastic numismatists, even if it’s just in online forums, you’ll get caught up in the love of old coins.
Join the Hunt
Are you ready to get into “the thrill of the hunt?” Get started chasing after a rare coin, searching the small shows and big shows, reading the ads and hoping you find what you need to finish your set.
Whether they’re USA coins like Lincoln cents, Mercury head dimes, Washington quarters, or Buffalo Heads that spark your interest, have fun collecting, trading, and sharing your coins.
Collecting coins can give you and your family hours of enjoyment and education. It teaches history lessons that you won’t find in schools and inspires value and tradition that will carry on for generations to come.
Coin collecting is for the whole family. Your enthusiasm for collecting will encourage your family to collect for future generations. This creates excitement and enthusiasm for sharing their stories and experiences with coins for years to come.
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