Collecting coins can be a very fun and fulfilling hobby that does not require special knowledge or a big investment to begin. You can start by simply looking at the loose change in your pocket and admiring the little pieces of artwork that each coin displays. In the last decade or so, the change in your pocket has gotten even more interesting since the US mint began issuing new coins. Each year five new quarters were released to represent each of the 50 states and in recent years other versions of nickels and pennies have also been minted. While some collectors out there are on the hunt for the rarest and most valuable coins in the world, the regular hobbyist often collects simply to appreciate the beauty of the art and the slice of history that a coin represents.
The most popular coins to collect are US coins and you can find endless information on the internet about the different types and mint marks. Mint marks are the information on the coin that tells where each coin was struck, so it is easy to organize a collection by date and mint mark. A good starting place for a collection is to simply look through your loose change to find quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies of as many years and mint marks as you can. There are many different coin collecting supplies that are available both online and in coin collecting shops that can help you organize and display your collection once you have begun.
Today, you can still find coins with dates as far back as the mid 1960’s in loose change and occasionally you can find pennies and nickels that go even further back. Quarters and dimes minted before the mid 1960’s are harder to find because they were made of silver and are not widely circulated now since the value of the silver metal is greater than the face value of the coin. Though increasingly rare, sometimes you will get lucky and find a silver coin in that handful of change from the cashier. I have found several silver coins throughout the years and chances are that many people have had real silver coins in their hands and not realized it. Because they are the same size, shape, weight and basic color as any other dime or quarter, unless you are looking for them you will probably miss them. Silver coins do have a very distinctive sound when they clank against the other coins and after many years of handling silver coins I can pick up the difference in sound in a group of coins.
Because coin collecting is a simple and inexpensive hobby to begin and because it has an element of excitement and the feeling of being on a treasure hunt, this is a hobby that is particularly well suited to kids. Children seem to love the thrill of the hunt for a special date or mint mark and even the act of organizing the coins into their special folders is very satisfying for them. With the quarters from the 50 states series, children can feel a sense of pride when they find their own state and the amazing designs on the other states may just spark an interest in history or geography.
I have enjoyed coin collecting since I was a kid when I would eagerly wait for my Dad to come home so I could look through his coins for a date or mint mark that I didn’t have yet. Now that I have my own kids, I enjoy sharing my collection with them and encouraging them to look for new dates and mint marks to fill out their own collections.