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:

Local Dealer
Mail Order
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.
Online Store
Local Auction or Estate Sale
The U.S. Mint (or any mint)

To view coin dealers near you, visit [ 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!

If you have any questions or comment please leave them below. If there is any information missing that you think should be included, please leave a comment, and I will add it. Don't forget to rate. :-)

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    24 Discussions


    3 years ago

    great idea for beginners. i have a small collection of old coins as well. i like your idea for beginning a coin collection


    4 years ago on Introduction has a collectors price guide online. It is a standard used by many (as is comparing sold ebay coins). Also, is an amazing forum that has taught me a LOT. It is a family friendly forum where people are expected to be positive and constructive. There are many experts more than willing to help give information.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    It is worth more if it is from 1964 because those are silver. If it is from 1965- present it is worth 50 cents- $10 depending on the grade.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    $3.50 for gem unc. 60, prolly $3.00 for almost unc. (unc = uncirculated)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice ible! I just started coin collecting recently, and I find it very fun. I started because I saw my parents collection and got their coins priced, and found out that it is a really good investment! Not to mention, also, how cool different years of coins look. How did you start? *got DC territory and Harrison dollar, yes! -now I need that darn 2009 24k gold relief coin-*


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Where was it minted means does it have a "P" for Philadelphia, a "S" for San Francisco ( usually these are proof and of the highest quality), or does it have an "D" for Denver.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Which year, where was it minted, and what condition is it in?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Cool stuff! I collect coins and I keep mine in the little cardboard thingys and the cardboard in a binder. The one thing I would add is that for grading your coins you probably would want to purchase a jeweler's loupe. These make it easier to grade your coins.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comment. I will be sure to add the part about the jeweler's loupe. Happy collecting, and I wish you the best of luck.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 2

    Cool, I got my set from the U.S. mint. Where did you get your set?