Numismatic collecting is a hobby that has picked up speed in recent times. The invention and appearance of the Internet in most homes around the world has caused the collector base to explode. Prices are soaring and investors have joined the fray.
The United States Mint has struck coins since the year 1793 and all US coins have become somewhat of a collectible. Some denominations and designs are much more popular then others and some are much higher priced. No matter where you decide to concentrate your efforts in the numismatic world you'll find an increasing number of collectors competing for the same coins you want.
Collecting US coins can be a large part of someone's life or a small side hobby they dabble in. It really doesn't matter what type of coin you collect as long as you focus on one type at a time. Going all over the place and buying anything you see because it's an old US coin, doesn't really make much sense. A collection with this kind of random abandonment will not increase in value. This type of collection usually ends up being worth only the amount each individual item will bring.
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Focusing on one type of collection rather then looking at the entire run of the United States mint will enable you to finish your goals in less then a lifetime. Only a set or two of United States coins in its entirety has ever been assembled.
The price of precious metals has skyrocketed in recent years and collecting any coin that is tied in with the price of these metals such as gold or silver can be a very expensive endeavor. Going with copper coins like large cents or half cents is a lot cheaper. Nickels also present a collecting opportunity that doesn't tie into precious metal prices.
Good reference books like R.E. Yeoman's Red Book of US Coins should be used to get a general idea of price and the population number reported by the United States Mint for each issue. This is a handy book when you just need to look something up for a general consensus of it's net worth.
For up to date prices that are changed every day and kept right up to the minute you should always go to PCGS, a well known grading company's website that will show you what the coin is worth today.
Another area in numismatic collecting that should be learned before spending much is coin cleaning. This action is taboo in the collecting world. A coin is what it is and except wiping the dirt from it and maybe a light rinse for anything that will rinse right off, coins should never be cleaned. This may make the coin look a little better to the naked eye but to a collector the coin is instantly ruined and it's value all but disappears.
Numismatic collecting is a great hobby. It can also be a very financially rewarding. Spending large sums of money on such small tokens of metal may seem to some to be silly. Those who are familiar with numismatic collecting certainly know better
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