Coin Collecting 101!
Although today’s blog does not quite encapsulate an entire college-level coin collecting class, let’s consider today’s blog to be an abridged version of my famous lecture about coin collecting. Follow these rules leads you down the road to success.
Education and optimal viewing conditions represent the most important factors in becoming a successful coin collector. You need knowledge about collecting, and you need to see your coins. While this sounds simple enough, let’s examine both points in detail.
Obtain a Red Book (otherwise known as A Guide Book of United States Coins by R.S Yeoman). This is the BIBLE for all U.S. coin collectors. Included in the book are mintage figures for all U.S. coins, grading instructions, high quality color photos, written summaries of each design, an introduction to American numismatic history, retail prices for all coins in all grades, and comprehensive listings for all colonial and American coins from half cents to fifty dollar gold pieces. Believe it or not, the Red Book is the #1 best-selling non-fiction book in the English language in the United States (and has been for decades). Now that is shocking!
Your job is to page through the Red Book and drool on the pages. Look at the pretty pictures and generate a list of coins that might be fun to collect. Use the prices only as a rough guide. You may pay more or less for a given coin, but remember that you always receive what you pay for. I suggest paying a bit more for a truly beautiful, high-end coin no matter what you decide to collect. There is no such thing as a good deal in numismatics. If a coin appears to be a bargain, then something must be wrong with the coin. No exceptions.
Obtain a high quality magnifying glass. I recommend using a high quality seven or ten-power magnifying loupe. Pay more for a truly exceptional magnifier if your budget allows since seeing the coin is, well…pretty important! I utilize seven-power magnification for everyday viewing but switch to ten for inspecting small details and varieties. Higher magnification than ten-power falls outside industry standards. Don’t go there.
Lighting represents your final essential ingredient for successful collecting. Purchase an adjustable table lamp rated to accept a one-hundred watt bulb. Install a clear incandescent 100-watt bulb (not frosted, halogen, soft-white, or fluorescent), turn off all overhead lights, close the drapes, and look at your coins. Now you are operating at the industry standard for optimal coin inspection.
If you purchase a Red Book, use a high-quality seven or ten power loupe, and use a one-hundred watt clear light bulb in a dark room, you are ahead of 99.99999999% of coin collectors in the United States. The book teaches you about numismatics and gives you a game plan, while the loupe and light allow you to see your coins. Sound too good to be true? Give it a try. Trust me, you will not believe your eyes when inspecting coins using proper magnification and lighting. Your high quality coins will shine, while your “bargains” will…uh oh…you’ll see.
I pressured Coins of America into stocking loupes and Red Books, so I want every one of you to have these tools within a month. This is not an optional assignment. If you are looking on this web site, then you must be interested in coin collecting. If you are interested in coin collecting, then you must own the fundamental tools. Get your supplies by clicking here: