Almost everyone has the nucleus of a coin collection. There are few that do not possess at least one or two old "lucky pieces", a large cent, an old nickel or half-dollar, a medal or souvenir of a World’s Fair. Any one of these has often led to the building of a substantial coin collection.
Acquiring a collection of interest and value, is not something done overnight. There are just too many branches of numismatics to explore, some of which may take years to master and this in large measure, is the secret of its interest and charm.
One of the intriguing features of collecting coins is the knowledge it brings of many things. It is surprising to contemplate the extent of learning which comes within the range of the person who devotes some of their spare time to research work in studying old coins and all that concerns them.
Coins tell a clear story of romance, honor, power and patriotism for all countries and races. Names which seem legendary, mythical, are real and nearly alive when shown clearly on some old coin. Anthony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Nero, Hadrian, Alexander the Great, in ancient times; the Popes, Richard the Lionhearted, Henry VIII, and others up to our own Washington and Lincoln are all portrayed just as they were.
Historic battles, sieges, victories, pride of conquerors – all are depicted.
There are collectors who specialize in odd and interesting coins with animals or birds depicted on them. Still others collect queer forms of money, such as cocoa bean money of Mexico, brick-tea money of Mongolia, large copper plates of Sweden, wampum and so on. In this category come the razor, dress, spear, and other queerly shaped money of old China; ring and glass money of ancient Egypt; bullet money of Siam (now call Thailand).
To be a successful collector you must, of course, study your subject. Aside from reading, one of the best ways to become quickly informed on all angles of coin collecting is to join a coin club. There is over five hundred such clubs in the United States – most large cities have one or more. If there is no such organization in your town, there are probably several in your section of the country. Most of these clubs are affiliated with the "American Numismatic Association" (which I highly recommend you to join). An application for membership and a listing of club names and officers are shown at the ANA website http://www.money.org.
Members of coin clubs are not always young, but almost invariably they have young Ideas and a lot of valuable information, and assistance may be obtained at every meeting. country.
At this time, the United States coinage consists of cents, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half dollars – which are called the minor coins – and silver dollars. Formerly gold coins were in use but are only being minted in commemorative sets at this time. In addition to the above, at various times there have been issued half cents; two-cent pieces; three-cent pieces of both nickel and silver composition; half dimes; and twenty-cent pieces. Many collectors make a specialty of collecting just one each of the different types. It should be noted there are several type varieties within each of the major categories mentioned.
Another method of collecting is that of assembling complete sets of one or more series of coins, such as an example of each date and mint coined within a series (Lincoln Cents, Indian Cents, Buffalo Nickels etc.). Yet another approach is the "shotgun" wherein a person only buys coins which interest them specifically. The basic rule of collecting is "there are no rules, you’re the boss – you decide".
There are a couple of rules regarding the care of your coins, which should be adhered to in as much, as is possible. When handling a coin, hold it by the edges between your thumb and index finger. This prevents fingerprinting and the transfer of harmful oils from your hand to the coin surfaces. The other rule regards CLEANING COINS, for best results, DON’T. Most collectors prefer to have coins, which are in their natural state. Sometimes cleaning a coin may be necessary due to PVC contamination or excessive dirt build-up. If you have to clean a coin always use a non-abrasive material.
Housing your collection. A variety of folders and albums have been designed specifically for assembling sets. Many collectors prefer to keep their coins in boxes, which are more compact. Old Coin Shop stocks a full line of collector supplies. E-mail us regarding your needs and we will get back to you with our recommendations.