The Basics of Coin Collecting

Paul Froio

August 11, 2022

Paul Froio

A hobby that’s growing in popularity among adults is coin collecting. Coins are legal tender, so they are considered valuable, and you can even find a whole museum dedicated to them! But what is coin collecting exactly? What are the advantages of coin collecting? Here are some basics that will help you start your collection. First, let’s look at the motivations of coin collectors and what supplies you’ll need. And, of course, the costs of coins and supplies.

Historical background of coin collecting

The hobby of coin collecting dates back to ancient times when coins served practical purposes. Coins that were particularly beautiful or interesting were kept and passed to younger generations. The early nineteenth century saw the formation of large coin organizations, including the American Numismatic Association and the British Coin Society. This hobby grew in popularity and soon became an academic field. Eventually, the hobby became so popular that two significant associations were formed, the Numismatic Society and the Royal Society of Philadelphia.

In the early 19th century, secularized Jesuit priest Joseph Hilarius Eckhel was appointed head of the Coin Cabinet. His system of categorization of coins, known as Eckhelsche Ordnung, remains widely used. As a result, cash from that era is among the oldest and most accessible art pieces. Even today, numismatic experts regard coins from this period as masterpieces. These ancient treasures are so valuable that they have become popular collectibles.

Motives of coin collectors

The motivations for coin collecting vary greatly. Some collectors buy rare coins they think will appreciate over time, while others collect coins for investment purposes. These collectors know the best ways to buy and sell currencies and often invest in rare pieces of history. Others collect coins for sentimental value and hold them to trade later. Whatever their motivation, coin collecting has become a lucrative hobby and is enjoyed by a wide variety of people.

While many coin collectors collect for the collector’s sake, there are various other reasons. Hobbyists generally buy coins for beauty or rareness and may purchase proofs or sets to maximize the number of rarities. Coin collectors who collect for these reasons often have difficulty recovering the premium they paid when selling them. Those who gather for investment purposes may be more interested in investing in coins with the potential for appreciation.

Supplies needed for successful collection

There are various coin-collecting supplies you’ll need to get started. A magnifying glass and the proper lighting are essential to successful coin collecting. Incandescent lighting is best, as fluorescent and halogen lights have a softer or milder light than incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs are also a good option, giving the full spectrum of colors. Also, ensure your coin display has a sturdy stand or table.

Proper storage is essential for coin collectors to preserve the value of their collections and maintain a high weight. Coins can easily get damaged when exposed to hard surfaces, so storing them carefully is essential. It’s also a good idea to wear a pair of gloves to protect your hands from human oils and residue. In addition, you should keep coin cleaning supplies away from direct sunlight, as the sun’s rays can cause corrosion.

Cost of coins

The price of coin collecting varies according to the rarity of a coin and its quality. Rare coins are usually valued at a much higher price than circulated specimens. Similarly, coins of a specific year or place may have a lower value than the ones of the same country. In such a case, the collector can sell a particular coin for its melted matter instead of its wholesale value. The value of uncirculated coins will be much lower than those of the same year or denomination.

Coins of the year 1795 can fetch millions of dollars. For example, a specimen of a Brasher doubloon with EB on its breast sold for $4.7 million in 2011; a similar coin with the same signature sold for $5 million in 2008; and another with EB on its wing is expected to fetch $9.36 million by 2021. Another rare coin is the Fugio cent, or Franklin cent, named after the founding father, Benjamin Franklin. It may have been the first coin circulated in the newly-formed United States.