Not everyone is cut out to be a coin collector, but for a certain type of person, coin collecting can be a terrific hobby. Hunting down rare or valuable coins and being able to spot the collectible coins in a handful of ordinary pocket change can be a fun challenge. Coin collecting is also an educational hobby – there's a lot to be learned about history and culture by studying coins. On top of that, coin collecting can be profitable. It's not a great way to make a quick buck, but a coin collection carefully cultivated over time can be a valuable asset that you can pass down to your kids or grandkids. However, there are some essentials that you need to know before you get started. Take a look at some of the essential tools you need to get started on building a coin collection.
Before you can do anything with your coins, you're going to need to pick them up. And the last thing that you want to do is pick up potentially valuable or rare coins with your bare hands. It's not just the fingerprint smudges that you might leave on the surface of the coin that are a problem. It's also the oils and acids that are on the surface of your skin. They can permanently alter the surface of the coin, causing it to tarnish. It doesn't happen immediately, so don't be fooled by the fact that you can't see an obvious difference right after touching a coin. In the long run, touching the coins with your skin will make them less valuable.
Get a few pairs of cotton gloves so that you always have a clean pair when you want to handle your coins. Don't use disposable plastic or latex gloves – these are coated with powders and lubricants that can also damage your coins, making them not much better than bare hands for coin handling. Even while wearing the gloves, you should avoid touching the surface of the coin – pick it up and hold it by the sides instead.
Don't just toss collectible coins into a shoebox – for your collection to remain in good condition, the coins need to be stored properly. There are a number of different coin containers out there, from cardboard or plastic holders to albums and display cases. As you amass a larger collection, you'll probably need several types of holders – the smaller cardboard or plastic holders, sometimes called flips, to keep most of your collection organized, and the albums or display cases to showcase your rarest and most interesting coins.
If you opt for plastic flips, make sure that they're made of mylar plastic. Flips made with PVC are cheaper, but the PVC can react with the metal in the coins, causing a greenish discoloration.
Cardboard coin holders are the least expensive and most convenient for many beginning coin collectors, but if you use them, you'll need to invest in a good flat-cinch stapler. The cardboard flips have to be stapled shut, and ordinary staplers will leave raised bumps that can scratch the surface of the coin. This is more important than you might think – you may not be able to see the scratches with the naked eye, but a coin dealer with a loupe will be able to spot them, and they'll significantly reduce the value of your coin.
Flat-cinch staples are designed to be completely flat once compressed, instead of leaving the curled bumps on the underside of the holder the way that an ordinary staple will. If you're planning to use cardboard holders, a flat-cinch stapler will save you a lot of grief.
A Safe Storage Place
The more your collection grows, the more valuable it will become, and you'll want to be certain you can keep it safe from thieves. There are several ways that you can store your coins safely. If you're regularly adding to and showing off your collection, a safe in your home may be your best bet, simply for ease of access. A fireproof safe will protect your coins in the event of a disaster.
If you're nervous about having a valuable collection at your home, even with a safe, you might consider a safety deposit box at the bank. You should know that safety deposit boxes aren't FDIC insured like your bank account, and the bank itself doesn't insure them. Banks are still generally a very safe option, but if you prefer having insurance, you may want to keep the coins home and ask your homeowner's insurance company if your coins are covered under your policy.
Knowing what you need is the best way to get off to the right start with your coin collection. When you start off with the right tools, you'll be more successful at building a coin collection that you can be proud of. Click here to find out more.