Introduction: Beginners Guide to Collecting Coins
Did you ever want to collect coins, but didn't know where to start? Well, this Instructable will teach you the basics of coin collecting from grading, to how you should handle coins.
Step 1: Increase Your Knowledge
The first mistake that every beginner makes, is buying overpriced coins. Before going out to buy coins, do your research, to get an estimate of what you should be paying for it. You can search many sites such as ebay and you can also look through coin books such as The Official Red Book in your local library.
Coins' prices vary based on their grade. Coins are graded as follows:
Abbreviation | Name | Description
U, MS | Uncirculated, Mint State | Absolutely no bag marks other problems.
BU | Brilliant Uncirculated | A coin with few bag marks.
AU | About Uncirculated | A coin with slight signs of wear.
EF, XF | Extremely Fine | Shows extremely clear minute detail.
VF | Very Fine | Shows obvious signs of wear.
F | Fine | Half of the design details show.
VG | Very Good | Coin exhibits heavy wear.
G | Good | Design shows almost no inner detail.
AG, FR | About Good, Fair | Some outline gone; rim worn down.
PR | Poor | Many coins not able to be identified.
When grading coins, it is best to use a jeweler's loupe. This will make the coin appear larger, revealing tiny details that you wouldn't have been able to see with your normal vision. About a 10X triplet loupe is a good choice for viewing coins.
When purchasing graded coins be sure to purchase them from reputable grading companies such as NGC and PCGS.
Step 2: Purchase Your Coins
For this step, you will need to purchase your coins. Be aware of what you should be paying for them. You can purchase coins from the following places:
Coin Club friends
Coin Broker -Some coin brokers may try to overcharge you, so be sure to know what you should be paying for coins before purchasing them.
Coin & Money Shows
Online Auction -eBay and Yahoo have large auction sites for coins, but be aware of the seller's feedback rating before purchasing from them. Sellers may try to over grade their coins, or sell fake coins. There are similar risks with mail orders also.
Local Auction or Estate Sale
The U.S. Mint (or any mint)
To view coin dealers near you, visit [www.coininfo.com this] site.
Step 3: Handling Your Coins
In order to preserve your coin's condition, you will have to handle it properly. To do so, follow these instructions.
Try to avoid any direct contact with your coins. If you have to handle it, use cotton gloves and hold the coin by its rim. Do not touch the coin on the surface, for eventually the coin will end up corroding. Fingerprints on coins cannot be removed, and can degrade the coin's value.
It is best not to clean your coins, for this can greatly degrade the coin's value
Step 4: Coin Storage
Every collector needs a place to store their coins. Use silica gel to protect against humidity and moisture. You should also consider using a fire safe in order to prevent more valuable coins from burglary and fires.
Store coins in original mint holders or use archival quality storage containers. You can purchase products such as 2"x2" cardboard or mylar holders, Non-PVC clear holders, tubes, archival storage books. If you want to preserve your coins for a long time, you can send them in to a grading company, where they grade them, and encapsulate them in air-tight slabs. Do not use containers that contain PVC, for the coins will eventually corrode because of it.
For a more detailed explanation on the various types of coin storage, click here.
Step 5: Let Your Collection Grow
Keep collecting coins and soon you will have large collection. There is also software out there such as CoinManage that you can use to keep track of your collection. Good luck, and happy collecting!
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