Coin Collecting for Beginners

The world of coin collecting is vast and diverse. You can collect small coins, large coins, copper, silver, or gold coins. There are coins worth a dime or a fortune, coins of various shapes, and much more.
This variety of options makes coin collecting for beginners seem daunting and inaccessible, but don’t give up so easily; your new hobby comes with many perks. It’s a great way to learn about history, politics, and geography.

Step 1: Decide What To Collect

Before starting coin collecting, you first need to choose what you want to collect. The simplest way to decide that is to choose what you like, and there are several ways to determine.


Although most coin shapes are round, there are other unusual shapes, such as diamonds, squares, coins with curved edges, and guitar-shaped and map-shaped coins. So, find what interests you and start from there.


You can trace coin history back to 600 BC. If you’re a history enthusiast, you could start from a particular era you find fascinating.

Start With What You Have

You could already have a coin as part of your heritage, or someone has gifted you a part of a collection that can guide you on how to start your collection.

Your Budget

Coin collecting can be an expensive hobby, but it can also be affordable for beginners. Before starting a collection, do some research, and know how much the complete collection will cost you.
If there’s a collection you like but is a bit pricey, that doesn’t mean you have to give up altogether. You may have to wait until you’ve increased your income to buy those expensive coins.

Step 2: Acquire Coin Collecting Tools and Utensils

Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been in the coin collecting game for a while, you’ll need several supplies to examine, handle, and display your coin collection appropriately.

Tools for Coin Examination


Even if you’ve got a perfect vision, there are still microscopic details that you can’t notice with the naked eye. Using a magnifying tool (between 10X to 15X magnification power) comes in handy to view coins better and observe any faults.

Proper Lighting

Choosing the lighting is crucial when inspecting your coin’s state. Intense bright lighting washes out a lot of details; on the other hand, soft lighting hides imperfections. An incandescent light bulb of 75 watts is ideal for coin examination.

Tools for Handling


When handling your coins, use cotton or latex gloves. Our skin produces natural oils and acids that’ll end up on the coin’s surface when touching it with bare hands. Such oils and acids will react with the coins’ surface, eventually leaving a mark on it.
Try to always hold your coins by the edges, not by the face—even while wearing gloves.

A Soft Cloth or a Padded Tray

It’s possible to drop your coins on a hard surface while handling them, which may leave a dent. Therefore, you should use a clean, soft cloth or a padded tray when working with your coins.

Coin Tongs

This isn’t necessary to purchase, but if you wish to avoid holding coins with your hands, or you don’t want to wear gloves, you can use coin tongs.

Tools for Displaying

There are several coin holders and cases that you can buy to display your collection. This includes:
  • Displaying boxes
  • Coin collecting tubes
  • Coin folders and albums
  • Coin capsules
  • Coin collection binders
These holders and cases allow you to show off your collection and help keep your coins' quality.

Step 3: Preserve Your Coin Collection

Coins are made of reactive metals, and exposing them to air or keeping them piled upon one another will make your shiny collection look dull, and the design details will wear away.
Therefore, it’s essential to store your collection correctly to avoid damage over time and reducing its value.
Store your coins in airtight holders with anti-corrosive materials to protect them from reacting with the atmosphere.
Avoid storing coins in paper envelopes or cardboards that contain sulfur, as it’ll facilitate oxidation and discolor your collection. If you want to store your collection in paper products, use acid-free ones.
Don’t use PVC plastic holders that’ll ruin the coin surface.
Keep your coin collection in a cool, dry place with low humidity—you can use desiccants to absorb excess moisture.
Never clean or polish your coins using detergents or harsh chemicals. That’ll remove the protective oxide layer on the coin's surface and cause deterioration over time.

Step 4: Grade Your Coin

One of the key factors in determining a coin’s market value is knowing its grade. The Sheldon Scale is a 70- point grading scale that ranges from P-1, which is poor, to MS-70, the highest grade a coin can get. It’s often used to determine a coin’s exact condition.
Before purchasing a coin for your collection, make sure to have it graded by a trusted dealer. If you're buying a coin online, you can ask for high-resolution photos and use an online coin grader app. It’ll tell you the approximate grade of your coin.

Step 5: Document Coin Collecting

Use spreadsheets to document your progress. You don’t want to buy a coin you’ve already got or miss purchasing a coin needed to complete your collection.
Also, write the price of each coin to know the cost of the entire set—you don’t want to lose money when deciding to sell your collection.

Step 6: Be Patient

It’s not a race. Coin collecting is a journey that’ll take some time. Don’t rush into buying a coin to complete your collection when it can make you lose money if you decide to sell.
Instead, make sure that the coin you’re buying is of excellent quality and offered at a reasonable price.


Coin collecting for beginners can be frustrating at first, but don’t be discouraged. Start simple, and once you learn the ropes, work your way up to larger, more expensive sets.
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