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3 Important Tips For Novice Coin Collectors

Whether you have decided to begin building a coin collection that you expect to grow in value over the years or just find coins fascinating, you have likely already discovered that there is a learning curve to coin collecting. Thankfully, part of the fun of coin collecting is learning new tips and tricks for improving your collection and your coin collecting skills. While you will continue to learn more and more as you collect, read on to learn three important tips for novice coin collectors. 

1. Build a Coin Collecting "Tool Kit" Before You Begin Trading or Purchasing Coins

Before you begin purchasing new coins or trading your current ones, it is a good idea to build a basic "tool kit" that contains items that will aid you in determining the condition of your coins and those you consider purchasing or trading for and keeping all coins you own in good condition. 

Thankfully, these tools are very affordable and won't eat into your starter coin collection budget much:

  • A magnifying glass will help you spot any tiny nicks in coins or slight coin wear that you may miss when examining your coins or those you consider adding to your collection. 
  • A felt cloth is also important to obtain, because you can lie your coins on it when inspecting them or showing them to others without damaging them. Remember that every bit of wear on a coin can lower its coin grade, and wear and tear on a coin can occur much more easily than you may expect. 
  • After you purchase a pair of cotton gloves, you can handle your coins without worry of transferring your skin's natural oils onto the surfaces of your coins that can degrade their surfaces over time. 

You also need to decide how you will store your new coins before you have them graded and slabbed (which will be discussed next). Look for a quality coin album or folder that allows you to view your collection at a glance while minimizing the need to handle them. 

2. Have Your Coins Graded and Slabbed as You Learn How to Determine Their Grades on Your Own

You likely already know that the value of a specific coin is highly dependent on the condition it is in, but may not realize just how each tiny coin imperfection affects its value. Even advanced coin collectors have trouble spotting every sign of coin degradation that lowers its value. For that reason, you should start off by having every coin in your collection graded by an expert, so you know the true value of every coin in your collection and what it is worth in trade value. 

The current grading scale in use by coin collectors today is called the Sheldon Scale, and every coin graded by a professional is assigned a Sheldon grade that can range from 1 to 70. A coin graded 1 is considered in "Poor" condition, while a coin graded 70 is in absolute "Mint" condition. Just a tiny lack of luster can knock a coin down from a 70 rating to a 69 or even 68. 

When you send your coins in to be graded by a professional, you will typically be offered the option to have your coins placed in special cases; coin collectors call the placement of coins in these cases "slabbing" them. You should consider opting to have your coins placed in these cases to help protect them from damage and to prove to those you sell or trade your coins to that your coin grade was designated by a professional. 

3. Decide Where You Will Store Your Entire Collection

It is not only important to choose how you will store each individual coin carefully, but also where you will store your entire coin collection. Storing it in the right location will not only keep it safer from theft, but also protect it from potential damage that could be inflicted by extreme temperatures and humidity. 

You can store your collection in an area of your home where the temperature is relatively stable and humidity levels are moderate, such as a room in your home that is heated in the winter and cooled in the summer, or a bank safe deposit box. However, you should avoid storing your collection in a wooden trunk or dresser, since the wood can emit vapors that will harm your coins and their protective cases. You can store your coins in a metal safe deposit box or metal storage drawer in your home only if you add silica packets into safe deposit box or drawer to absorb excess humidity that can collect in metal drawers. 

If you have decided to start collecting coins, then keep these three tips in mind as you begin your new hobby. Click here to learn more.