The Internet marked a transformative era for numismatic collectors, shaping an entirely new culture within the hobby. The vast reach of the online platform exposed numismatics to a significantly larger audience, resulting in a surge of new collectors. However, this presented both opportunities and challenges. In the 1990s, many new collectors on the Internet were inexperienced. There was a lot of excitement about collecting coins online, but eventually, things settled down. This led to rapid fluctuations in prices, which wasn’t ideal for the long term. On a positive note, educational websites grew, and these sites, including resources on ‘How to Become a Coin Collector,’ helped new collectors learn faster. The Internet made it easier for people to become knowledgeable about collecting coins.

Basics of Coin Collecting

If you’re new to the world of collecting coins and wondering how to start, this guide will walk you through the basics of this hobby from the beginning!

What is coin collecting?

Coin collecting is the methodical gathering and examination of coins. The traditional belief is that coin collecting originated during the Italian Renaissance. The allure of the images on coins, featuring famous rulers and mythological beings, played a significant role in sparking early interest in collecting. In the 15th and 16th centuries, collecting ancient coins gained popularity and earned the title of the “hobby of kings.”

Benefits of Coin Collecting

Coin collecting offers several benefits, including:

  • Profit Potential: Coin collecting can be financially rewarding. Collector coins tend to appreciate over time. Some rare coins even fetch significant sums when sold. Selling your coins can potentially yield a return on your investment.
  • Satisfaction: Discovering a rare coin you’ve been searching for brings a deep sense of satisfaction. Building a collection and appreciating the unique beauty of each coin is a fulfilling aspect of this hobby.
  • Challenge:  If you enjoy challenges, coin collecting is an excellent fit, and it might be the perfect hobby. Finding and acquiring rare coins requires the right mindset, negotiation skills, and persistence. 

Stress Relief: Coin collecting serves as a stress-relieving hobby. Immersing yourself in the history and beauty of coins offers a therapeutic escape. You can unwind and find solace in your little world.

Building Your Knowledge

If you’re starting to collect coins, here are some basic things you should know:

Different Types of Coins

Bullion coins are made of precious metals (gold, silver, platinum, or palladium). People collect or invest in these coins. Examples include the British sovereign, American Gold Eagle, Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, and Krugerrand from South Africa. The Eagle and Sovereign coins have symbolic face values, but the Krugerrand does not. Commemorative coins are mostly for collectors. Some countries also make commemorative coins for regular use. They celebrate special events, people, or milestones, making them unique additions to coin collections.

Studying Coin Grading and Certification

For anyone into coin collecting, having the idea of coin grading and certification is essential. Grading is the term used to describe the wear and tear a coin undergoes from regular use. The grade assigned to a coin influences its market value. US coins are generally graded on a 70-point scale, ranging from Poor-1 to Mint State 70, with various descriptive steps in between.

Sheldon Grading Scale:

  • Poor-1 (P1)
  • Fair-2 (F2)
  • About Good-3 (AG3)
  • Good-4 (G4)
  • Good-6 (G6)
  • Very Good-8 (VG-8)
  • Very Good-10 (VG-10)
  • Fine-12 (F12)
  • Fine-15 (F15)
  • Very Fine-20 (VF20)
  • Very Fine-25 (VF25)
  • Very Fine-30 (VF30)
  • Very Fine-35 (VF35)
  • Extremely Fine-40 (EF40)
  • Extremely Fine-45 (EF45)
  • Almost Uncirculated-50 (AU50)
  • Almost Uncirculated-53 (AU53)
  • Almost Uncirculated-55 (AU55)
  • Almost Uncirculated-58 (AU-58)
  • Mint State 60-70

Originally devised by Dr. William Sheldon for early copper large cents, this grading scale has been extended to encompass all US coins and more. 

Grading combines both art and science. Proficiency in grading is achieved through reading, mentorship, and practical experience. It stands as one of the most important skills for a coin collector.

Learning about Mint Marks and Their Significance

Each mint uses a unique mark, known as a mint mark. It signifies the origin of the coin. The objective of the mint mark is traceability. In simple terms, a mint mark helps you identify the mint that produced the coin. Mint marks have played a vital role for traders and, subsequently, collectors in determining the origin of a particular Sovereign. Today, these marks serve mainly as assurances. It also offers a guarantee of the coin’s provenance and serves as a symbol of authority and genuineness.

Simple Steps to Become a Coin Collector

Lastly, we have some tips for you to become an expert coin collector-

  • Staying Informed: Always enrich your knowledge about the coin collection and look for more. Apart from understanding the basics, explore further. This will help you become proficient and break the myths regarding this hobby. 
  • Keeping up with industry news and market trends: A wise collector always stays up to date with updates in the coin market. You can join the online forums of coin collectors, subscribe to numismatic websites like, and stay connected with experts by using social media. 
  • Understanding the factors that influence coin values: If you love collecting coins, you know the market can be complex. While coins have a face value, collectibles often fetch much higher prices, especially if they meet specific criteria. Here, you need to understand the factors that influence coin values. Here’s a quick overview-
  1. Rarity drives demand
  2. Coins with limited mintage
  3. Metal Content
  4. Condition of the coin
  5. Historical significance

Considering these factors, buying coins at the right price is easier.


Collecting coins is a basic instinct, and how people collect them can differ a lot. People often collect coins based on politics, economics, history, art, or specific topics. No matter what your area of interest is, with continuous learning and passion, you can ace your coin collection game. All the best!