Coin Collecting for Beginners

Coin Collecting for Beginners

Coin collecting is very easy to start even if you have no knowledge or experience. You can learn quickly by reading books or by just diving in. You can collect foreign coins or domestic like USA coins. You can collect time period coins like the 1800’s or specifically designed coins like ones with trees or boats or cars on them.

The coin collecting hobby will bring endless fun and excitement to novices and pro’s alike. Get started now.

Which Coins to Collect

It’s easiest to start off with common denominations like pennies, nickles and dimes or even quarters, like state quarters. Buy a few coin books and then start saving your change. Every time you get some change, put it in a can or bucket. Before long, the can or bucket will be pretty full. Now the fun part… dump it out on the floor or on a table and start digging.

If you want to move faster than your pocket change allows, go to your local bank and buy a few rolls of coins. You never know what you might find.

After you accumulate a good amount of change, start sorting it by denomination. You can use smaller containers to keep the sorted coins in until you’re ready to put them in coin books.

When you’re ready, buy a few coin books for the coins you want to collect. There are penny, nickle, dime, quarter, half dollar and silver dollar books. There are more than these but these are a good start for beginners.

As you gain experience, you can start looking for rare coins that are very valuable. First do your research on the coin you want to buy.  Find out the value changes over the past 10 years or so. See if it’s gaining value/demand. If its value stays the same then only collect it because you want it and not as an investment.

Research it’s current value and compare that to how much you can buy it for from local pawn shops, coin shops or online precious metal stores. Try to get the best deal on it as you can. Make an offer and see if it gets accepted. You just never know until you ask. I have had good luck at pawn shops. They are willing to negotiate on price.

Learn as much as you can about coin collecting and coins in general. It will help you make good decisions on coin purchasing and help you identify rare coins like error coins. These can be worth a lot of money…sometimes thousands of dollars.

Helpful Coin Collecting Supplies

  • Coin Collecting Folders/Coin Albums – holds one denomination and spans years
  • Jewelers Magnifying Glass
  • Coin Collecting Text Books – learn about coin collecting, coins, values and coin grading
  • Plastic Coin Cases/Holders – keeps larger coins from wear and damage from fingerprints and the elements
  • Cardboard Coin Holders
  • White Cotton Gloves – protects coins from acid on your skin
  • Mild detergent – to clean coins
  • Soft Toothbrush – help clean really dirty coins

Cleaning Coins

Just an up front warning: Do Not clean highly collectible, proof, uncirculated and high-grade coins. It will reduce the value.

If you just want your coin collection to be clean and shiny then here are ways to clean them. You can bring back the luster they once had.

  1. First rinse your coins in warm tap water under a faucet with descent pressure. This will wash away some of the loose debris. Hold the coin under the water stream for about a minute or so and then place it on a paper towel to dry.
  2. If you want them cleaner then get a bowl and fill it with warm distilled water. Now add a small amount of Dawn dish soap. Mix the mixture gently. Place your coins in the soapy water and let soak for a few minutes. Then gently rub the coins surface with your fingers to remove dirt. Place them on a paper towel to dry.
  3. Use a soft toothbrush with the soapy water if you need to do more cleaning. Then rinse in distilled water and dry with paper towel. Brush very lightly.
  4. Coin Bath – for more intense cleaning, pour one cup of Isopropyl Alcohol in a small bowl. Then add 2 tablespoons of salt. Mix the solution gently. Now place your coins in the solution and let soak for 2 hours or up to 1 week. Isopropyl alcohol is a general solvent and will dissolve stuff than water cannot. Rinse the coins in distilled water when finishes and dry on paper towels.

Here is one of my silver half dollars before cleaning.

Silver Eagle Half Dollar dirty

You can see some black dirt or debris in the edges of the detail relief. I soaked it in isopropyl alcohol and salt for 4 hours and then rinsed it in distilled water. I did NO scrubbing of any kind.

Here is the result.

Silver half dollar clean

It’s pretty amazing how much better and detailed the coin looks now.