Coin Collecting: How to Get Started and Tips to Keep Going

February 7, 2013

by Amy Richey (West Seattle Coins & Bellevue Rare Coins)

Interested in starting a coin collection but not sure where to start or what you should know? Here are some tips from the experienced staff at West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins to help you start collecting.

First, choose a series of coins you would like to collect. Start small, with modern coins, before jumping into more rare and valuable coins. Some good options are State Quarters, Lincoln Cents, Jefferson Nickels or Roosevelt Dimes. These coins are all in circulation and can easily be found in your pocket change. This way, your investment is minimal while you test the waters and learn a bit more about the ins and outs of collecting. Coin albums are a great way to organize, store and display your collection. They contain slots for each coin you will need to complete the series, which makes it easy to keep track of your progress.

A great reference tool for coin collectors is the Guide Book of United States Coins, commonly referred to by collectors as “The Red Book.” Published annually, this book is full of useful information like history and current values, as well as colorful photos. When you are ready to make the jump to foreign coins, the Standard Catalog of World Coins is a superb series of reference books filled with world coinage from the 1600s to the present.

There are no rules when it comes to coin collecting — except to have fun, of course. The more coin history you learn, the more confident you will become. And when you are ready to expand your collection to include older, rarer or high-value items, we would love to help. Here are a few more tips to help broaden your collecting skills:

1. Learn the language: Familiarize yourself with the terms and phrases coin collectors use, such as toning, bag marks, obverse, reverse and many more.

2. Take good care of your collection: Learn the proper ways to handle and store your collection, as well as which materials are best suited to preserve value.

3. Learn the numeric grading scale (aka the Sheldon Scale): This includes numerical grades from 0–70 and the descriptions used to grade coins.

4. Meet other collectors: Join a coin club or go to a coin show. These are great sources of information and inspiration.

5. Join the American Numismatic Association (ANA): They have programs and services for coin collectors of all ages.

6. Learn about third-party coin grading services like PCGS, NGC, ANACS and what they do to “certify” a coin.

Coin collecting is a fun and fascinating hobby. We here at West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins love seeing new faces, answering your questions and giving you a solid foundation to make smart choices when it comes to purchasing coins. But most of all, we are here to inspire new collectors with our knowledge, love and unique inventory of coins and bullion. Visit one of our coin shops in West Seattle, Bellevue or Lynnwood. We speak your language.


About West Seattle Coins & Bellevue Rare Coins

West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins are family-owned and operated businesses that specialize in rare coins, currency, gold, silver and jewelry. West Seattle Coins was founded in 1979. To meet the growing volume of rare coins, gold and silver coming through our doors, we expanded in 2010 with the addition of Bellevue Rare Coins in downtown Bellevue as well as a location in Lynnwood that opened 2 years later.

We treat our customers with integrity and respect. Our staff is filled with friendly and knowledgeable enthusiasts. We have large showrooms that display a wide selection of rare coins. We also buy antiques, prints and lithographs, and have outlets for a wide variety of estate-sale items. And when it comes to making a decision about selling family heirlooms, gold, silver or coin collections, we want you to feel like you made the right decision by bringing them to us. We invite you to visit any of our three locations in West Seattle, Bellevue or Lynnwood.

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