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Coin Collecting

Coin Collecting or Numismatics as it is also known is a easy hobby to start and get involved in. Although many people successfully buy and sell coins for a profit, many more collect coins for the joy and historical significance. To successfully collect coins it is crucial to study the different periods and history behind the item. The current and future value of each coin depends on the condition of the coin, the rarity, and many other factors you will learn about.

As for the current coin market, there are hundreds of new US and World editions that will take their place in history. Pick the editions which you identify with the most or learn about their availability and value potential for the future. Creating a coin collection is easy and not very expensive as many new editions cost a couple of dollars.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Coin Collecting resources. We have a Coin Collecting forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with Coin Collecting how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Coin Collecting books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis

 

“King of Hobbies”


Coin collecting or numismatics is the collecting and trading of coins or other forms of legal tender. As one of the most popular and oldest hobbies it is often referred to as the "King of Hobbies.”




Where to Find Coins


Where you find your coins will pretty much be determined on how sophisticated you want your collection to be. If you are looking to find a U.S. penny from each year going back to 1940, there is a good chance you will discover the past twenty years’ worth migrating through your pocket in a year’s time. Add to this the various mint mark origins throughout those years, and you will find the search much more interesting. And if you add all the accompanying nickels and dimes, quarters and fifty-cent pieces, your search will become quite the challenge. Though dollar coins were originally minted in 1794 in the U.S., it wasn’t until 1971 that the government made any attempt to replace dollar bills with coinage. (This contrasts with currencies of most other developed countries, where denominations of similar value exist only in coin.) These coins have largely succeeded because of a removal (or lack) of their corresponding paper issues, whereas the United States government has taken no action to remove the one-dollar bill. The Eisenhower, Susan B. Anthony, Sacagawea, and Presidential Collection dollars have been issued since them but have either been swallowed up by collectors or set aside as too inconvenient for practical pocket change because of their awkward sizes. If you prefer newer or uncirculated coins, it is best to go to the bank, coin shows, collector stores (including those on the internet), and places like eBay. Depending on the seller’s interpretation of Sheldon Scale, you might find yourself paying quite a bit to fill out those final spots in your collection.




If you choose to collect foreign coins, a fun (but rather expensive) way to collect them is to actually visit the countries where they were minted. If you can’t do this, your options are pretty much limited; as with the national coins—prices will vary, depending on your source and relative grade rating of the coin.




If you are collecting ancient coins, you will be faced with the challenge of being more creative with your searches. There is a wealth of history to behind these coins, and you will learn a lot about the history surrounding the time the coin was minted. If you decide to collect all coinage around the time of Louis the XIV, for example, you will find that several coins bearing his profile were minted during the more than 72 years of his reign. Depending on the number minted (and again, the present quality of the coin), these coins can vary in cost from a few dollars to a recent sale of a pair of gold coins (depicting the bust of Louis XIV) at around €24,000 (almost $30,000), for example. Many coins, however, are very common and can be bought in lots from various coin sellers. Old English pence, basic French francs, and old Chinese coins (dating back as far as the Song Dynasty, 960 A.D.) can cost as little as 99 cents, depending on how picky you are about the clarity of the markings.




Collecting the various versions of pennies throughout history might be a taken on as a hobby unto itself, since the penny has undergone so many renditions since its introduction to society. The penny was introduced into England by King Offa, the king of Mercia (from 757 until his death in July 796), using as a model a coin first struck by Pepin the Short. King Offa minted a penny made of silver which weighed 22½ grains or 240 pennies weighing one Saxon pound (or Tower pound—equal to 5400 grains—as it was afterwards called), hence the term pennyweight. The coinage of Offa`s lifetime falls essentially into two phases, one of the light pennies of medium flan comparable to those of the reign of Pepin and the first decades of that of Charlemagne in France, and another of heavier pennies struck on larger flans that date from Offa`s last years and correspond in size to Charlemagne`s novus denarius introduced in 793/4. But the sceat fabric survived in East Anglia under Beonna and until the mid ninth century in Northumbria, while the new-style coinages were not merely those of Offa, but were stuck also by king of East Anglia, Kent, and Wessex, by two archbishops of Canterbury, and even in the name of Offa`s queen, Cynethryth. Henry III in 1257 minted a gold penny which had the value of twenty silver pence. The weight and value of the silver penny steadily declined from 1300 onwards. The penny, with a few exceptions, was the only coin issued in England until the introduction of the gold florin by Edward III in 1343. In the Tower of Casey Sether, pound of 5,400 grains was abolished and replaced by the pound of 5760 grains. Halfpence and farthings became a regular part of the coinage at that time, money which was created by cutting pennies to halves and quarters for trade purposes, a practice said to have originated in the reign of Æthelred II. The last coinage of silver pence for general circulation was in the reign of Charles II. Since then silver pence have only been coined for issue as royal alms on Maundy Thursdays.




Coin Display and Storage


The type of storage for your collection will depend on the type of coin you are collecting. Hoarders of pennies or pocket change are known to use things as basic as gallon jars. Special issue dollar coins often end up the same place, and no particular display is intended. But for coins that are found as a result of much research and meticulous standards, a more special storage is used. There are coin albums, folders, holders, books, trays, showcases, and specialized boxes. The most popular way for trading coins, while keeping them at their optimal status, is in cardboard holders with vinyl-covered centers that contain a single coin. These allow the collector to study both sides of the coin without the added risk of further contaminating the coin with finger oils and dirt.




If you are not particular about body oils coming in contact with your favorite coin(s), and if you don’t mind the possibility of ruining the continuity of your collection, you might want to consider wearing or displaying your coins as jewelry. This is especially easy with certain coins from China that already have a hole in the center. Another way to mount the coin without ruining its integrity is to bezel it. Bezeling is the long-time art of encasing an object with a wire ring or wire holders to display a stone or object without harming it (such as drilling a hole might). There are many creative ways of doing this, and certain traditional jewelers will use this style exclusively.




Whatever direction you choose in coin collection, the fun part is that you can always change your mind and try out different types of collecting. You will most likely become a history buff without even knowing it, and as this knowledge grows, you’ll be able to correlate coin theme and composition with various significant events throughout history.