Coin collecting is a fun hobby where people gather different government-made and private mint coins. People like to collect coins that were only used briefly, with mint error coins, or extraordinarily stunning coins with an extensive historical story. Coin collecting is like studying money, which is called numismatics. A coin’s value depends on aspects like how good it looks, besides the rarity and likeability of the coin. Some companies can check and protect coins for collectors. Here’s a guide for coin collecting for beginners. Let’s get started!

Introduction to Coin Collecting

People have been accumulating coins for a long time. But collecting coins for their beauty and history started later. In ancient times, scholars and governments began cataloging and saving coins. Regular people also started collecting old, unique, or special coins as a form of art they could carry easily.

In the first century AD, the Roman Emperor Augustus gave old and unique coins as gifts during special events. Even in the Middle Ages, rich and powerful people continued to collect ancient coins.

Coin collecting took off around the 14th century, during the Renaissance period. Kings, queens, and other privileged folks got into it. An Italian scholar and poet, Petrarch was one of the first famous coin collectors. Many European leaders followed his lead, including Pope Boniface VIII, Emperor Maximilian I, Louis XIV of France, Ferdinand I of Spain, Henry IV of France, and Elector Joachim II of Brandenburg, who started the Berlin Coin Cabinet.

Since only wealthy people could afford to collect coins during the Renaissance, it was often called the “Hobby of Kings”.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, coin collection was a hobby that the rich and famous indulged in. But as more people from the middle class began to collect coins, it became more systematic. Numismatics, the study of coins, started to develop as a discipline. This was also when a growing middle class began collecting coins to show off their wealth and knowledge.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, coin collecting gained more traction because of increasing popularity. People didn’t just collect old coins; they also started collecting foreign and unique currencies. Coin shows, collectors organizations, and coin-collecting rules began to appear.

1962, the first international coin collectors’ convention was organized in Detroit, Michigan. Around 40,000 people attended it. Let’s understand coin collecting for beginners.

Understanding Precious Metal Coins

When understanding Precious Metal Coins, you must first understand what precious metals are. Then, further deep dive into the types of precious metal coins available in the market. Let’s break down the details:

What are Precious Metals?

Precious metals are rare metals. These metals come with a high economic value. The factors that make these metals precious are their scarcity and industrial applications. These metals can act as a hedge against inflation. This is why they are often used for investment purposes. A few examples include gold, platinum, and silver. Precious metals are also used in currency circulation, such as coinage. Besides these, you can come across bars, rounds, medallions, and jewelry made of these metals. You can invest in them for ROI benefits and cultural values. 

Types of Coins

Coins come in four main types: Bullion, Proof, Numismatic, and Semi-Numismatic. Each class has its value and has specific pros and cons for investors. Numismatic coins, though not allowed in Gold IRAs (precious metals IRAs), are a good choice for those investing outside the traditional retirement accounts.

  1. Bullion: These coins have a specific weight and quality stamped on them. These coins have monetary value and will likely be struck by government mints.
  2. Proof: Proof coins are of higher quality and made in limited quantities than bullion coins. They are shiny and carefully made with multiple strikes for extra detail. They are sealed to maintain their quality and often come in special packaging with a certificate of authenticity. 
  3. Numismatic: These coins are older and cherished by collectors. They have value not only for their metal content but also for their art, collectibility, and history. They need independent certification to determine their condition and worth. Their designs and finishes are mainly appreciated.
  4. Semi-Numismatic Coins: These coins combine features of both bullion and numismatic coins. They are newer bullion coins with limited production. Their value can grow over time due to their scarcity.

Best Tips: Coin Collecting for Beginners

To get started, these are the golden rules for coin collecting:

Begin with Small Steps

Avoid costly mistakes by starting slowly and learning about coins before making significant purchases. Begin with smaller coin purchases and easy-to-assemble coin sets. Many successful collectors created by assembling sets of Lincoln pennies. They can be found in circulation and are reasonably priced at local coin shows, shops, or online. If you have a larger budget, consider collecting Indian Head pennies or assembling a type set of United States coins.

Learn About Coins

Apart from learning about coins and their history, you need to understand specific terms related to coin collection. Here is a quick guide: 

  • Coin Grading- This is a process of evaluating a coin’s condition and assigning it a grade based on standardized criteria. This grade helps determine the coin’s value and collectible appeal.
  • Numismatics- Numismatics is the hobby of collecting and studying coins and money-related things.
  • Obverse and Reverse- The obverse is the front of a coin, and the reverse is the back.
  • Coin Pricing- Precious metal coins get their price from how much the metal inside is worth, plus their rarity and demand.
  • Mint- The facility where coins are produced.
  • Bullion- Coins made primarily from precious metals and valued for their metal content.
  • Numismatic value- The collector’s value of a coin is often higher than its intrinsic metal value.
  • Proof coin- Specially minted coins with a high-quality finish, often used for collecting.
  • Error coin- A coin with manufacturing mistakes, making it unique and collectible.
  • Graded coin- A coin professionally assessed and assigned a grade based on its condition.
  • Commemorative coins honor a specific event, person, or place.
  • Face value- The denomination of a coin. It represents its official monetary worth.

Top 10 Best Coins to Collect

Here’s a list of 10 best coins to collect:

  1. Austrian Philharmonic Series: These have been known for their beautiful design, which features the Philharmonic Orchestra of Vienna. 
  2. Lunar Series: Features Chinese Zodiac animals on Perth Mint coins, with a new design each year.
  3. American Gold Buffalo Coins: The first 24-karat gold coin from the U.S. Mint and features a buffalo design.
  4. 2023 Britannia Coins Type 1: Depicts Britannia on the reverse and Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.
  5. 2023 Britannia Coins Type 2: Features King Charles III on the obverse, continuing the Britannia motif.
  6. 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar: Honors President John F. Kennedy and was issued shortly after his assassination.
  7. 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar: Named after its designer, George T. Morgan, with a rich history.
  8. 1921 Peace Silver Dollar: Commemorates the end of World War I, with variations among different mint branches.
  9. 1986 American Silver Eagles: The first official bullion coin of the U.S., known for its iconic design.
  10. 1943 Lincoln Steel Cent: Made from steel due to wartime copper shortages, with some variations.

How to Clean a Coin?

Cleaning coins can be a fun activity for both kids and adults. Over time, coins can get dirty with dust and discoloration, and watching them become clean is satisfying. Plus, cleaning removes germs from coins. Here’s how to clean a coin:

Considerations Before Cleaning

  • Use non-harsh cleaning solutions.
  • Consider wearing gloves to avoid fingerprints.
  • Don’t clean valuable collectibles on your own; get them appraised first.

What You’ll Need

  • Jar
  • Distilled white vinegar or lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Spoon
  • Shallow plastic container
  • Cloth or paper towel
  • Optional: Baking soda, dishwashing soap, toothbrush


  1. Mix a Cleaning Solution: In a jar, combine 1 cup of white vinegar (or lemon juice) with one tablespoon of salt. Stir until the salt dissolves.
  2. Fill a Plastic Bin: Pour the solution into the plastic container to submerge the coins lying flat on the bottom.
  3. Soak Coins: Add the coins in a single layer, ensuring they don’t touch. Wait for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove and Wipe Coins: Wipe the coins with a cloth or paper towel; they should look shiny. If not, soak for an additional five minutes.
  5. Scrub Coins With Baking Soda (Optional): Mix a paste of water and baking soda for a hands-on approach. Apply it to each coin with an old toothbrush and scrub gently. Rinse and dry.
  6. Clean Coins With Dish Soap (Optional): If the coins are still dirty, fill the container with 1-inch warm water. Add a squirt of dishwashing liquid and agitate to create bubbles. Add the coins, rub each until shiny, rinse with warm water, and then dry them when they look too discolored or grimy. You can also do it as a rainy-day activity or before depositing them at the bank.

Caring for Your Precious Coin Collection

Now that you have understood how to clean a coin, you need to know how to maintain the value and appearance of your coin collection. Here are some tools and tips to help you organize and care for your coins:

Tools for Coin Care

  • A high-quality magnifying glass for coin inspection
  • A soft cloth or pad to hold coins over when viewing them
  • A plastic ruler (avoid metal rulers to prevent scratching)
  • A general coin reference book with information on dates, mint marks, varieties, grading, and prices
  • Good lighting for examining coins
  • Soft cotton gloves to protect coins from fingerprints and skin oils
  • Coin holders or albums for safe storage

Handling Your Collection

  • Hold coins by their edges between your thumb and forefinger while wearing soft cotton gloves. Avoid touching the coin’s surface directly.
  • Resist the temptation to polish coins excessively, as it can reduce their value. Older coins with natural age coloration are often more desirable than over-polished ones.
  • If you need to clean a coin, use mild soap and water, and then pat it dry with a soft towel. Avoid brushing or rubbing; it can scratch the coin’s delicate surface.

Storing Your Collection

  • Keep your coins in a cool and dry environment. Avoid high temperature and moisture fluctuation, which can cause discoloration and devalue coins.
  • Don’t talk directly over coins to prevent tiny saliva droplets from creating spots. These marks can be challenging to remove, similar to fingerprints.
  • Prefer original holders when buying and selling coins, as modern coin sets come in protective plastic cases or capsules. Individual coins may also be packaged this way.
  • Alternative storage options include 2″ x 2″ cardboard or plastic holders, plastic tubes or capsules, sleeves or envelopes, and albums.
  • For high-value coins, use hard plastic holders. Professional coin grading services use sealed holders called slabs for authenticated and graded coins.
  • Use acid-free cardboard and PVC-free plastic holders to avoid damaging a coin’s surface. PVC can create a sticky green residue over time.
  • Save any certificates of authenticity and information cards that come with your coins or coin sets.
  • Consider storing your collection in a safe deposit box at a bank for added security. Ensure your home insurance covers total replacement costs if you keep a collection at home.


Coin collecting is a fascinating hobby that combines history, art, and value. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned collector, the world of coins offers endless possibilities for exploration. When it comes to coin collecting for beginners, start with small steps, and learning about the coins you collect is the key to success. 

Remember to handle and store your care to preserve its value and beauty. With time, patience, and a love for coins, you can start on a journey of numismatics and become a collector.