You can start coin collecting today!
Have you ever considered coin collecting? Did you disregard the idea because it seemed like a daunting task or you didn't know where to start?
Overcome those doubts, they aren't true, and give coin collecting a shot. I did.
I started collecting coins because a friend of mine indirectly talked me into it. He has collected silver dollars for eight years. Finally, after listening to him every Friday talk about going to the bank and picking up his "boxes of halves" my curiosity got the best of me, and I started rummaging through my own coins. Next thing I know, I am running to the bank three times a week getting boxes of nickels, dimes, and quarters.
But, let me step back for a moment. The question is, how can you start collecting coins and join in the fun?
What should you collect?
You need to have some direction; therefore, you need to decide what you want to collect. Here is a list of suggestions to help you get started. Collect statehood quarters, war nickels, pre-1965 dimes, or pennies. Collecting statehood quarters is easy and fun. Try to collect all the states from both the Philadelphia Mint (marked with a “P”) and the Denver Mint (marked with a “D”). The mintmarks on the statehood quarters are on the side with Washington’s face, on the lower right under “In God We Trust.” War nickels were nickels made with silver from part of 1942-1945 because the metal nickel, originally used, was needed for World War II. Besides looking at the mint year on the nickel, war nickels have distinct mintmarks on the Monticello side of the coin above the Monticello image, it is either a P, S, or D (Philadelphia, San Francisco, or Denver), other non-war nickels are marked on the Jefferson side of the coin. And dimes, minted before 1965 contain silver, so they are fun to collect as an investment. I don’t collect pennies, yet, so I can’t make any recommendations. For more information about collecting quarters please see my article "Collecting Quarters."
The above are only suggestions, and they are things that I collect. Your collection can take different and exciting twists and turns, these suggestions are just meant to get you familiar with coins and with collecting. The more you get into the hobby, the more your personal style and tastes will dictate what and how you collect. For more information on what to collect, I recommend the 2012 Guide Book of United States Coins: Red Book. I used this book to find out which nickels and dimes to collect (as noted above), and I use this book now to get new ideas. The great thing about this book is that it is easy to find what you're looking for, it has beautiful color photos, and while great for beginners, you will be able to continue using it as you develop as a collector.
You want to collect coins, but you don’t know where to find them?
Now that you have decided what coins to collect, where do you start looking? The following two methods are both cheap and easy! First, compile everything that is easily available now - your loose change atCredit: By Dquigley13 at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons home or in your car. Second, after you have dug through your own coins, go to the bank and ask to buy a box of nickels ($100), dimes ($250), or quarters ($500). While it may seem like a lot of money, remember once you search through them you can take them back and get your money back. The only cost is what you keep. When I started, my first finds were from the loose change lying around my apartment. I found two silver dimes! I was hooked. All it cost me was 20 cents, but because the silver dimes are worth about $2 each (fluctuates with the price of silver in the commodities market) it was well worth it. If ever I decide I don’t want to collect coins, the coins I have saved will always be worth at least face value.
Tip: Don’t take boxes of coin you just looked through back to a bank you plan on using to pick up new supply because you don’t want to get back the box you just looked through. I have a circuit of branches that I go to and drop off boxes of coin; they are not the same branches that I pick coin up from; thus, I don’t contaminate my supply.
Tip: Before you pour out your coins and begin looking through them, make sure you cover your table with an old sheet or towel because the coins are dirty, and you will save yourself some cleaning up later.
Confession: My original intent in collecting coins was to grab the silver in trying to get some quick cash. But, as I continued to search and read about collecting, I realized it's more of a prospecting and investment venture, and most importantly it's the thrill of the hunt that keeps you going!
What supplies do you need?
You'll need to buy coin rollers. After you break up rolls of coin or filter through jars of loose change, you’ll need to roll the loose change so you can take it back to the bank. I use a simple tube system consisting of four tubes properly sized for pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. They are easy to use, and marked so I know when the roll is complete and I can slide the wrapper on. These are very similar to the ones I use and they will save you a tremendous amount of time: PM Company Color-Coded Coin Counting Tube for Pennies Through Quarters. There are more sophisticated rolling machines, but those also cost more and until you get into massive amounts of coin, I wouldn’t bother. The only other necessity is coin wrappers, and these you can get from your local bank – they are free!
I hope I inspired you to start coin collecting. The information here is just meant to get you started and interested in the hobby. There are infinite possibilities when it comes to coin collecting, but there is no sense in getting overwhelmed, start simple. That’s what I did, and I love it. Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions or to elaborate on any thing I mentioned above.