Congratulations, you’re about to join tens of thousands of people around the world collecting coins. Our goal with this page is to give you a basic guide that will help you understand the basics of buying and collecting coins. You’ll soon find that coin collecting is a rewarding and exciting hobby that can quickly become a passion.
There are a lot of elements that determine a coin’s value. Sure the material the coin is made of plays a huge factor, but other elements including its condition, artwork, supply and many other factors will determine the coin’s value.
Here is some commonly used terminology you’ll hear used in the coin collecting world…
An important factor when buying a coin, the composition is the materials a coin is made from. The most common compositions are 99999 (gold of very high quality), 9999 (24-karat gold), 99.99% pure silver, and 99.95% platinum.
This is the appearance or surface texture of your coin’s relief. Some common finishes include proof (a frosted relief over a brilliant field), reverse proof (a reflective or mirror-like detail on a frosted or slightly matt field), and specimen (a brilliant image relief on a matte or lined background).
- Brilliant Uncirculated
An unused coin that keeps its original mint look and feel.
Bars, ingots, plates, wafers and coins made from precious metals, typically gold or silver.
An artist’s design adapted and transferred to a medium, ensuring the best relief for minting.
The process of making coins.
The quantity of a particular coin that a mint produces.
The study or collection of coins.
Types of Coins
- Gold coins are usually minted in smaller amounts, this can make this coins harder to collect but very valuable.
- Gold coins are nearly impossible to destroy and they cannot decay, tarnish, or rust.
- A coin that is 99.999% pure gold and is the highest standard of gold in the world.
- Silver is on the oldest forms of currency, used as currency for over four millennia.
- There are some countries that still accept silver coins as legal tender.
- Silver requires little maintenance and the coins will not readily decay.
- Made of one of the world’s most resilient materials; silver is strong, reflective of light and pliable. Silver can also endure both extreme heat and cold.
- Platinum is a very valuable metal with a silvery-white colour.
- Gold and platinum share many of the same characteristics.
- It may look like silver, but platinum will not tarnish over time
- Innovation coins offer multiple colours, unique shapes, gem inserts, holograms, and crystal inserts.
- High relief – The designs can raise high above the background of the coin
- Plasma effect – This creates a jewel-like finish on the coin
Uncirculated Coin Sets
These are truly mint, due to the fact they have never been used as actual currency.
These coins are of a higher quality than uncirculated coin sets. In addition to not being used as currency, these coins combine brilliant and frosted relief over a lined background (field)/
Caring for Your Coin Collection
One of the best ways to protect your coin collection is to properly care for it during all handling and storage.
It’s important to use cotton gloves when handling your coin collection. The oil and dirt from your skin can hurt your coin’s finish and overall value. Never handle your coins with bare hands. Always pick your coins up by the edges, between the forefinger and thumb. It’s also a good idea to place a thick and soft towel on underneath your hands when handling coins. This will protect your coin in the event of an accidental drop. Talking around your coins can also cause damage. The nearly invisible drops of saliva can leave nasty spots on your coins that are nearly impossible to remove.
Generally speaking, you should leave your coin cleaning to a professional. With the right experience, a coin can be damaged just by wiping coins with a soft cloth. Valuable coins should be stored in a small and PVC-free plastic bag or slab. Coins of lesser-value can be stored in acid-free paper sleeves and envelopes, folders, tubes, or albums. Be sure to contact your insurance company to ensure you have the proper coverage to protect your coins.
Frequently Asked Questions about Coin Collecting
Why Should I Collect Coins?
A coin combines art, precious metal, and history. Each coin tells the story of another place or time, something that many other collectibles cannot simply do. Coins are also known for increasing in value over time, especially when it’s a rare piece.
Why do certain coins cost more than the value they display in guides?
Typically, you will pay a higher retail price for a coin than the actual face value (the amount shown on the coin). This is due to the fact that the coin is a collectible with a price based on rarity, the metal used, mintage, and finish.
How do I know I can trust a coin and bank note appraiser?
There are some excellent coin and bank note appraiser’s located throughout the country. These experts have a track record of offering fair prices based on an item’s condition and its current market. There are also some rogue traders, who may offer unfair appraisals on your collection. Do your research online and consult a country’s mint to gain a list of reputable bank note and coin appraisals.
How do I know if a coin I buy online is legit?
You should have the ability to view high-resolution images of the coins you’re interested in online. A high-resolution image can be zoomed in, allowing you the ability to view details such as the edge, obverse, and reverse. It’s important that the seller can disclose all specifics on the coin including the coin’s country of origin, its condition, mintage, and specifications.