Coin Collecting for Beginners: A Complete Guide

Are you interested in beginning your coin-collecting journey but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place. Researching “coin collecting for beginners” can feel overwhelming at first, so we want to help.

Collecting coins is an excellent opportunity to diversify your investment portfolio with unique and rare items. Below, our coin experts at The Oxford Gold Group discuss some things you need to know.

What Is Coin Collecting?

Coin collecting is a popular hobby that many investors and history lovers enjoy. People collect coins to diversify their investment portfolio, own a piece of history, invest in rarity, and more. Popular choices among investors and collectors include the following:

  • High-value precious metal coins
  • Commemorative coins
  • Foreign coins
  • Ancient coins
  • Error coins
  • Proof coins
  • Medieval coinage
  • Uncirculated sets
  • Rare tokens

Some coin collectors purchase expensive coins and keep them as family heirlooms, while investors typically collect and sell coins to see financial returns.

Before getting into coin collecting, you should learn all the proper terms. Here are some common vocabulary terms you may encounter:

  • Coin head or obverse: The side of the coin that includes the year and an image of a portrait or bust
  • Coin tail or reverse: The side of the coin that displays its value
  • Rim: The raised sides encircling the coin’s perimeter
  • Relief: Any designs raised above the coin’s flat surface
  • Legend: Any details explaining the coin’s country of origin, designer, or face value
  • Field: All flat surfaces on the coin
  • Mint: The facility that manufactures the coin
  • Circulation: The manufactured coins currently available on the market
  • Coin grading: The process of determining a coin’s condition and value
  • Numismatics: The study of coin collecting

Why Do People Collect Coins?

coin collection 100 dollar bills and calculator

People collect coins as a hobby or investment opportunity out of fascination, but mostly because of their ability to store value. Since paper money experiences inflation, only a few items can maintain their worth over time. Common assets that appreciate in this manner include gold, silver, art, gemstones, collectible rarities, diamonds, jewelry, and precious metal coins.

People often start coin collecting for the following reasons:

  • Adding rarities to a coin collection is enjoyable.
  • Coins are readily available and easy to buy.
  • Coin collecting requires a lower initial purchase price than other investments.
  • You can own a piece of any history you choose.
  • You may earn funds if you sell your coin collection.
  • The coin-collecting hobby offers shared-interest social opportunities.
  • Some collectible coins allow you to hedge against inflation.
  • Coins are easy to store and transport.
  • Coin collecting offers a multi-generational investment opportunity.

Tips on Collecting Coins for Beginners

Beginning your coin-collecting journey can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start. Try the following tips to begin investing in coins:

  • Research the market: Coin values are not as cut-and-dry as gold and silver bars or paper money. A coin’s value can come from metal purity, rarity, age, and more. We recommend researching the market to learn more about price fluctuation predictions before purchasing anything.
  • Consider your theme and motivation: Themes can help you become an expert in one category of coins. Rather than gathering any coins you get your hands on, decide on a theme up front and seek out coins that will align with your collection. For example, you may collect coin sets based on age, country of origin, type of denomination, or historical significance.
  • Find coin dealers you trust: You should only purchase coins through certified coin dealers. Many organizations attempt to sell counterfeit products with fake mint marks. You can asses company reviews and certifications to verify authenticity before you purchase.
  • Study coin grading and numismatics: Learning to detect coin condition and age can improve your ability to locate and purchase highly valuable coins. You don’t need to become a numismatic expert, but understanding how numismatics works and what to look for can help.
  • Create a coin collection storage method: Coin reliefs can become damaged easily. Highly valuable coin sets have increased theft risks. Before collecting coins, determine your storage and security system.
  • Start small: Since you’re a beginner, you may not want to immediately collect dozens of coins at once, especially if you don’t yet know the collection type you’re interested in. Try purchasing one or two coins and expanding your collection over time.
  • Build industry connections with other collectors: Coin collecting is a popular hobby, so you can easily meet experts that share your interest. Another coin collector can teach you their tips and tricks. Building connections with other collectors helps you expand your knowledge.

Different Types of Coins

one ounce silver eagle and half ounce gold eagle coin

Many different types of coins exist, with varying values and advantages. Learn about some of the most popular coin-collecting categories below.

Bullion Coins

Bullion coins maintain value based on their purity and weight. The most common bullion coins include gold, silver, palladium, and platinum. Such coins have information from the mint defining their exact purity and weight.

Numismatic Coins

Numismatic coins (formerly circulating but no longer in production) generate value from their precious metal content as well as their age or historical significance. A coin collector may take an interest in a numismatic coin because of its artistic design, pure content, historical value, and more.

Semi-numismatic coins (aka proof coins) also retain value from style and purity, though they’re typically from a newer mint.

Coins minted in recent years with limited circulation are quite valuable. For example, a mint may produce different circulating coins each year, never repeating the same designs.

Valuable and Interesting Coin Categories

If you want to add an interesting coin to your collection, you may want to consider one of the following categories:

  • Proof coins: Minted specifically for collectors, proof coins feature the highest quality finishes and visual designs.
  • Error coins: Any coins produced with printing or design errors are extremely rare and valuable, making them a great addition to many collections.
  • Uncirculated coins: Coins that never entered circulation are typically in the closest to perfect condition, piquing the interest of many collectors.
  • Commemorative coins: Commemorative items pay tribute to individuals or mark special events.
  • Ancient coins: Very few ancient coin sets still exist in fair condition, making the existing ones highly sought after.

Advantages of Coin Collecting

wooden blocks with arrows one moving forward

Coin collecting has many advantages. With your collection, you can enjoy the following:

  • Low-risk investment returns: Unlike stocks that can fluctuate drastically, collectible coins offer relatively predictable price changes. You can estimate your investment returns and plan for future events like retirement.
  • Fun challenges: Seeking the perfect coin for your collection can be thrilling.
  • Educational opportunities: As you build your collection, you’ll spend time researching everything from investment market trends to American history and ancient Roman traditions. Collecting coins lets you expand your knowledge on a range of subjects.
  • Long-lasting legacies: If you choose not to sell your collection, you can pass it down through your family, creating a valuable, long-lasting asset.

Where To Buy Coins

When you’re ready to collect, you can purchase coins using the following methods:

  • Physical coin shops: Depending on where you live, you may have local coin shops with various in-store options.
  • Coin shows: Coin shows are events where collectors gather to display their prized possessions. You can attend such conferences to purchase coins and meet like-minded individuals.
  • Online coin dealers: Many retailers offer online coin purchases with direct and secure deliveries. You can shop online for a variety of coins from Oxford Gold Group.
  • Coin marketplaces: Online marketplaces are open spaces where you can find coin listings from all different sellers. You must use extra caution when purchasing from any unverified sellers.
  • Auctions: You may also enter a local, regional, or online auction. Auctions typically work best for highly sought-after rare items with competitive buying markets.

Where Do Coin Collectors Gather?

gathering of coins and stamps collector

If you’d like to connect with other collectors, try attending a conference, event, or gathering. A few upcoming coin shows, numismatic seminars, and events include the following:

  • Intermediate Grading of U.S. Coins Seminar: January 3-4, 2023, in Orlando, FL
  • NMS: March 2-4, 2023, in Phoenix, AZ
  • World’s Fair of Money: August 8-12, 2023, in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Pickens County Coin Club Meeting: First and third Tuesdays of each month in Jasper, GA
  • Winter F.U.N. Convention: January 5-8, 2023, in Orlando, FL
  • Decatur Coin Show & Marketplace LLC: January 8, 2023, in Decatur, IN
  • Carolina Coin & Stamp Show: January 13-15, 2023, in Raleigh, NC

Try researching events or social gatherings near you. You may find additional tips and tricks by joining online social media groups. For example, the Coin Talk Forum is the top location for discussing all things related to coin collections.

How To Store Your Coin Collection

To store your collectibles, you can purchase a felt coin tray with slots for each item. Such trays allow you to display each item while protecting the reliefs from the damage that could happen if they bounced around.

You may also want to keep high-value items in locked safes. If the value exceeds what you’re comfortable keeping in your home, you can consider using a vaulting service for high-security protection.

How To Clean Your Coins

Cleaning coins requires ample knowledge and experience. Metals react to various products in unexpected ways, and you don’t want to compromise your investment’s condition.

We recommend researching cleaning processes for specific coins or hiring a numismatic expert for any of your cleaning or polishing needs.

Ready To Begin Your Coin Collection? Shop Online With Oxford Gold Group

When you’re ready to begin building your collection, we can help. At Oxford Gold Group, we provide high-quality gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins at affordable prices with ample educational resources to help you through the process. Shop online for coins, or contact us at Oxford Gold Group today at (833) 600-GOLD to learn more.

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