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Guide to Starting a Coin Collection

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/23/2006 | Hobbies
Coin collecting is a popular and exciting hobby that is relatively easy and inexpensive to start. If you are considering starting your own collection or you have inherited or otherwise come into the possession of an existing collection, you are about to begin a journey that will entertain and educate you. Enjoy the thrill of hunting down coins to complete your collection and learn about the stories behind their creation.

WHAT KINDS OF COINS SHOULD I COLLECT?

Coin collecting is an excellent way to satisfy the urge to explore, collect and learn without the danger or expense of travelling the globe and digging through ancient graves!

The key to collecting is to choose a theme to base your collection on. You may choose to collect coins from around the world - or develop a collection of coins from a particular country. You may also consider collecting ancient coins. Any of these collections can be started with little or no investment.

Once you have chosen a theme you should start researching the coins and their history with a book. Learn as much as possible about your chosen coins. This will not only help you to become knowledgeable about your collection, it will protect you from unscrupulous sellers who may inflate the value. Absorb your topic and you may even find there are specific time periods or more specific themes or series within a group that you want to focus on, such as early 20th century coins or ancient Roman Emperor's coins.

WHERE DO I FIND COINS?

You can find sources for buying coins almost everywhere, however there are some words of warning for new buyer's who may get swindled because of a lack of knowledge about the value of a coin.

You can find coins in common currency. This is an easy way to begin and you do not risk any investment. You can also start your collection by buying a set from your country's mint. Investing in a basic collection gets you started for relatively low investment and gives you uncirculated coins. It also serves as a guide for further collecting.

There are coin shops and shows where you can find knowledgeable collectors who can help you find what you need and give you advice on your collection. Be wary of sellers in flea markets, antique shops or other non-targeted arenas where the seller may inflate prices or sell problem coins to unknowledgeable customers.

The same risk can come from mail order or online purchasing. Use businesses referenced in coin collecting magazines or from other collectors. Check the return policy and verify you've received what you want with a more experienced collector within the return policy time so you can get your money back if it has been over valued.

HOW DO I KNOW THEIR VALUE?

Value is determined by many factors, but is basically the price another collector would be willing to pay for your coin.

You can find price guide books that give you retail values of coins, however you may get more or less for your coin depending on the market demand for it.

Coin collecting is a stimulating hobby that can teach you about history while providing you a physical product that represents the past. Learn the stories and pass them on for the enrichment of others and you may find your friends or family joining you in your new passion!