Coin collecting and the study of the art, beauty, history, and investment potential of coins.
Why do people care about coin collecting?
Coin collecting has been around for centuries, offering people just like you a hobby; a link to history, art, and beauty; and the potential for investment. Coin collecting offers many sub-categories that allow you to personalize the hobby to suit your own individual interests.
Do you like history? You can choose ancient coinage, American Colonial-era coinage, Civil War-era coinage, or any other time period you like, You appreciate artistic beauty? It's hard to imagine more symbolic and beautiful art than that which Augustus Saint Gaudens, the Nineteenth Centrury’s preeminent sculptor, designed for the $20 gold coin (1907-1933) bearing his name. How about investment potential? Collectible coinage virtually always carries a numismatic premium, often well beyond the value derived from any precious metal content that it may have.
Coin collecting can be a private, completely individual undertaking or you can make it an inter-generational "bonding activity" with your family members. It offers you social ineraction through area coin clubs or via national organizations such as the American Numismatic Association. It can proceed at the pace and budget that you would like to allot to it. You can approach coin collecting from the angle that best fits you. You could be a pure collector, driven to complete a particular set of coins, an investor, pursuing profit through your coin acquisitions, or a bit of both - a "collvestor!"
How do I start collecting?
Some good general advice is to start fairly slow, first giving some amount of though to what aspect of coin collecting you would like to pursure. Gathering some information about your collecting interest through books, videos, and contact with other collectors before spending lots of money generally makes sense.
What you learn as you intiate this information-gathering process will either confirm in you your initial interest in a particular area of numimatics, or it may expand and re-direct your collecting focus.
Finding a "coin mentor" or several of them at an area coin club has helped many beginning collectors by providing them a "sounding board" and a source of counsel as they progress in their hobby. Bob Bair is here at Amagi to be a mentor for you!
Most coin dealers are collectors at heart, who can be very helpful to someone just starting out in coin collecting. It will become very clear to you very quickly if a coin dealer value the process of educating and developing you as a collector, or has as his/her primary focus collecting your money! Should you sense the latter in your interations with a coin dealer, you will have no trouble finding other more interested in you and your progression and development as a collector.
Does coin collecting cost a lot of money?
That's completely up to you and to your discretionary budget. Good general advice is to start your expenditures slowly, seeking opinions of other collectors and dealers on what you have bought, if you choose to do so.
Many coins are third-party authenticated and graded by acknowledged experts in the hobby and sealed in temper-proof plastic cases. At least until you feel quite comfortable with your own developting skills in grading coins, buying coins graded by PCGS, NGC, ANACS, or ICG provides substantial measure of protection for your purchase. Acquiring coins in problem-free condition (not cleaned, altered, etc) and in the best grade that you can comfortably afford is important, and as you grow in your confidence and enjoyment in coin collecting, buying the 'key' dates (the most desired and usually rarest) in the series you are collecting helps to ensure future interest in your coins at such time as you decide to sell them.
Still hungry to learn more about numismatics?