History of Coin Collection
Coin collection dates back as far as Roman times and to start with it was a hobby of the elite and then evolved where people from all backgrounds started collecting coins.
First Coin Collectors
It is thought that Caesar was the first coin collector and he gave them to people as gifts. He was not the only collector during that time because in Switzerland a collection was found that were presumed to be a collection because each coin was unique.
It was around the 4th century that coins were eventually recognised as art and was often turned into jewellery and made into ornamental pieces. Coins were made to represent each emperor’s reign and people use to admire the beauty and the many images of mythological figures found on them and started to collect them. At this time it was only popular in Europe because the coins that were found in Asia and Africa did not have any designs on them.
It progressed into the study of coins known as Numismatic and from pursuing the artistic value of coins to the science of studying coins. In ancient Turkey, Syria and Iraq Roman coins were copied and the slogans were changed from Christian to Muslim which was the primary religion in those countries.
During this time coins were studied and the findings recorded and changed coin collecting from not only an artistic one but also a scientific one.
Modern Coin Collecting
The coin collecting hobby grew at an alarming rate and trickled down from the elite down to the middle classes. It was then that numismatics societies were formed in the United States, Britain and Europe. With all the societies forming it resulted in numerous publications which were circulated globally and it inspired collectors to collect coins from all over the world. So from a hobby of the rulers, it has filtered down and is now respected as a separate field of study and continues to evolve.
With the development of the internet coin collecting and the information associated with it is accessible to any coin collector whether it is the art quality that you are interested in or the value.
I started coin collecting from a young age and it is great fun and very easy to start but it takes a while to learn all the aspects of coin collecting which is why it is so interesting.
The way I to started was with coins that were already in circulation and progressed from there. Coin collecting is not for everyone and when you start with coins that are already in circulation and you do not like the hobby you can use the coins.
The best way to decide which coins to collect is to start with a series that is of interest, buy a coin album to store them in so that they are preserved in a good condition. I found it was a great way to learn what coins were available at that time because albums have a slot for each type of coin that was made during that time in history. The types of coins will be dependent on the country that the album covers.
The next step is to start the research and the three resources to use is subscribe to a publication site and gain the best up to date information on the highest value coins, latest finds and other interesting news. I found that the internet is a great place to do the research but I also have some reference books because they tend to have more information.
The reason these few steps are important is that when you start it is important to educate yourself about coin collecting so that you have the knowledge about the types of coins that are available on the market and that you do not waste any money on buying counterfeit or over-graded coins. There are some very valuable coins and you do not want to lose out by being ignorant.
I recommend that start slowly and small and as you start understanding how coin collections are successfully done started buying the more expensive coins and expand your collection.
Storing the coins are important so that they will maintain the condition and value. If you are storing gold coins it is not wise to store them in the attic or basement because of the high temperatures and humidity and it will probably also damage copper and silver coins.
PVC plastic even though it seems like a good storage media it does over time generate chemical fumes and these could damage the coins. A good guideline on how to recognise what is PVC and what is inert plastic like Mylar is that PVC is a soft plastic that folds easily whereas safe plastics are generally stiff.
Once the coin collection gains in value and gets to a value that it will be a significant loss then it is probably better to store the coins in a deposit box at a bank.
What I used as a guideline to store coins was to sort them in value. If they have a value of over $100 then I store these coins in inert plastic storage cases and if they have less value store them in coin storing tubes. There are quite a few different storage systems but which ever system you use be consistent. I keep a record of the coins that are in my collection so if at any later date I would like to sell some of the collection it would be easy to identify.
There are plenty of different coins storing cabinets and made from wood so that it can be used as a display cabinet. These are useful for the coin collector who would like to have their coin collection as a show piece for friends and family to see.
How to Assess your coins
Coin collecting has grown in popularity and these are the four indicators that will give you some idea of the value of the coin. For this purpose, I use a magnifying glass and not my naked eye to make sure that the coin is in good condition and so that I can identify any small errors, the dates and mint marks.
All coin series have rare dates and these are the ones that will have the highest value.
The condition of the coin is paramount. The better condition it is in the higher the demand will be and it will increase the value.
Mint marks are important because to complete sets that should have the same mint marks. Obviously, sets with the same mint marks will have a higher value.
Rare coins like rare dates also increase the value of the coin.
Coins will increase in value depending on rarity. As an example, the South African R5 is said that it will double in value by the end of the year. It was to commemorate the 90th birthday of Nelson Mandela
How to Find Rare Coins
One way of finding rare coins is to trade in your notes at the bank and asking them to replace it with coins. This I do this occassionaly because of the possibility of finding a rare coin stacked in the roll or even a foreign coin that has been mixed in with the local currency
Have a good knowledge of key dates and each time you receive change put them under the magnifying glass. It is not uncommon for coin collectors to find coins of high value in their loose change. Look for error coins these could have a significant value.
Go to garage sales or flea markets. These are great places to go and there could be a chance that you will be able to find a coin collection that you could buy at a bargain.
When I first started I often asked the older generation. They often have old coins stashed away somewhere which they have kept as memory pieces but could have significant value depending on the rarity and rare dates.
Visit the auction houses, pawn shops, and antique stores. This type buying is generally more expensive and if it is a very rare coin might not be affordable. These outlets often have collector coins directly from mint that you could also buy. Do this type of coin procuring only once your collection has grown and when you have gained enough knowledge about the value of coins. I find it useful if I am looking for a specific coin to complete a set.
If you are interested in foreign coins you can visit the tourist areas of your region and ask the traders if the have any coins that they would like to trade. While walking in these areas you might find some coins lying on the pavement.
Using metal detectors is a great way to spend the day trying to find coins almost like a treasure hunt. You will need a lot of patience and be prepared to go through a lot of rubbish before you find a coin that is valuable. You will also need to know what the regulations are for certain parts because some parks and recreation areas do not allow metal detectors.
How Coins are Graded
All coins are graded and the better the condition the higher the price it will fetch. There is a specific grading system that is well documented and coin collectors are welcome to grade their own coins but advised if it could have a high value that it is graded by one of the four professional services to make sure that the correct value is given. The four professional are PCGS, NGC, OCG and ANACS.
As a guideline coins in very poor condition can only be identified by the type of coin it is and the date. It carries on up the scale by the identification marks on coins and how badly they have been worn and also a number of scratches that they have which could damage the overall look. Used coins in very good condition are graded 40 which means that all the lettering and details are sharp and clear. Unused coins having a grading system because even if they have not been used they could still have damage from bad storing practices.
Selling your Coins or Collection
When you decide to sell your coins or collection is to get your coins graded so that you are not offered an untrue price.
The best way is to get a professional help and get the latest true valuation. This is the system I use before I think of which selling option to use.
The first option would be to go to a reputable dealer and establish if they offer you a realistic price and if so you can sell the coins
Secondly, use online auctioning sites but on consignment and perhaps a reserved price if you are happy with the valuation. If they are not sold they can always be returned.
Selling on consignment through a trustworthy coin shop
You could be someone with a lot if internet selling experience, therefore, you can do it yourself through one of the online auctioning sites. Do some research so that you are advertising the coins in the right niche. No point in advertising on a site that mainly auctions gadgets or products that bear no relation to coins.
There are some additional resources that I have used and they are the NGC/PCGS population reports which will tell you how many of the same coins are already on market. I have a price guide for coins so that you can quickly assess if you are being offered a fair price
Don’t start selling online until you have done further research by studying what the online auctions response is to your type of coins and to what markets they are selling.
Using Auctions Houses
My favourite is using auction houses but there are few precautions one need to take. Before you do that you need to know what the value of your coin is or have some idea before you send the coin to the auctioneer. Make sure that it is a reputable auctioning house so that your valuable coin is firstly sold at the right price and secondly that you will get your money.
For Instance, when you use auctioneers you really need to make sure that the shipping arrangements are safe. The last thing you need is for the coins to go missing. Different auctioneers have different insurance policies. Most of them will ensure the coin once it is on their premises but while it is in transit is the point that one needs to clear. There is a listing fee which can be charged every time the coin goes on auction. Try and find an auctioneer that will only charge for one listing fee.
Sometimes the market might not be right for the type of coin that is being sold and it ends up not selling at that particular auction. Find out from the auctioneer who is responsible for the shipping if this is the case. Most importantly what the payment arrangements are once the coin is sold.
Why do people buy Gold Coins
Collecting gold coins is purely an investment unlike old coins, these need to be stored in a safe deposit box because they have a significant value
Gold coins will gain in value and it is a good idea to buy them as a forced saving. It is not like using your savings from a saving account. You will be more reluctant to get rid of your gold coins
Gold Bullion coins are rare and with underground reserves also getting scarcer the price of the gold will go up
The variety of gold coins that you can buy is vast and this makes the investment come hobby a lot of fun.
Gold coins will increase in value and have done so for centuries
It is not like investing your money in a home. Your investment you are able to take with you because gold coins are small and you can virtually carry your wealth in your wallet.
It is more stable than currencies such as the US$. One cannot predict in the future what will happen to the value of the dollar but because gold is accepted globally it will hold its value.
Gold is accepted internationally and can be sold in any country.
Collecting gold coins have a different attraction but are just as interesting with all the different coins made globally.
Reason for Coin Collecting
The most common reason for collecting coins which starts off as a hobby and often when we are young and intrigued by the multitude of different coins. After some time the interest is either lost or intensified with the excitement that one day there might be that one coin that will be of high value. The hidden treasure so to speak.
People also invest in coins and hope that over time the value of the coins will increase and can be sold for a profit. This is one of the main reasons why people invest in gold coins. Then there is the person who buys and sells in the hope of making a profit.
Inheritance is another type collector where the person acquires the coin collection from somebody else.
Coin collection has been going for centuries but before embarking on the very interesting science of numismatics it is advisable to study the science and if you are an investor know your market before buying. It is the same with collecting coins because if they have a high value and are stored in safety deposit box there are costs involved.