Coin Collecting

What Is Numismatics

What is numismatics? Numismatics is the study of money, medallions, banknotes, token coins, and stock certificates. It is believed to have been established in the time of Julius Caesar who wrote the first book on the subject. It is a very interesting topic because every medal or coin signifies a different era, culture, economy and/or politics.

Numismatists or the people who study the history and over all appearance of the above mentioned forms of currency are different from coin collectors. Unlike numismatists, coin collectors are only interested in collecting coins and the prestige that goes along with it; a numismatist may also be a coin collector and vice-versa.

Over the years, coin collecting has been very popular. The most common designs are famous people and animals to depict the era when the specific coin was first minted.

Numismatists are generally interested in the use of money, its origin, appearance, variety and production. They aim to explore the role of the different kinds of currency in our history using mint information. Mint refers to the place or facility where the coins are manufactured. They also grade or authenticate coins to determine their market value. To facilitate this, coin grading system facilities were established.

What Is Numismatics – Coin Grading

At this time there are three major third party facilities that authenticate coins and/or paper money. These are: the PCGS or Professional Coin grading system located in Newport Beach, CA; the NGC or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation in Sarasota, Florida; and Paper Money Grading (PMG).

PCGS is a third party institution that was established in 1986, which grades and authenticates coins primarily for commercial purposes. They are an independent body providing expert opinion in rating a coin. NGC is also a third party institution offering services solely to numismatists. It was established in 1987. On the other hand, PMG is solely for authentication of paper money and a smaller department of PCGS.

When coin collecting was not as popular as it is now, there were only 3 categories into which a coin could fall: 1. Good – which means that the coin has all of the details intact; 2. Fine – which means that the coin has all the details intact and still has a bit of luster visible; and 3. Uncirculated – which means that the coin was never put on the market thus maintaining its original appearance.

However, today coin grading has evolved and is becoming more definite. They use a combination of letters and numbers that corresponds to the quality of a coin. The coin grading system of United States of America is the most comprehensive and recommended for beginners. An example of USA grading system: MS-60 to MS-70 which means that the coin is blemish-free and has good color and strike. In short it’s perfect!

Knowing how to grade a coin properly is not only a gift, it’s an art. It requires knowledge, exposure and obviously skills. For coin collectors, the ability to grade a coin is a must because the value of a coin largely depends on its grade.

What Is Numismatics – Factors Numismatists Use In Coin Grading

Luster – It is a determining factor whether or not a specific coin has been circulated. To have a higher grade, a coin must be technically intact and free from any form of imperfection or blemish.

Surface preservation – Abrasion on the surface of the coin and its location is a huge factor in grading a coin but it does not necessarily mean that abrasion can lower the grade of a coin. For example, if a good-looking coin has a severe abrasion on the back that is unnoticeable it will not count against the coin, but the issue may not be the same if the abrasion is located on the front or focal point.

Strike – Refers to the coin designing process wherein the coin is being stamped onto a planchet. In overall grading, strike does not carry a great deal of weight.

Coloration – For some coin collectors, preservation of original color of the coin has a huge impact on its value especially if it is a copper or silver coin.

Eye appeal – Some coins may not be perfect but collectors may find them attractive, however, it still requires an expert opinion to conclude that a certain coin is excellent in all aspects mentioned.

So whats is numismatics? Simple, it is the hobby of coin collecting to either make money or to enjoy learning about the history of coins.

Posted by - September 24, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Categories: Coin Collecting Basics   Tags:

How To Collect Coins

There are many reasons why one collects coins just as there are many ways to learn how to collect coins. There are collectors who collect on the basis of the coin’s future perceived value, some collect coins coming from just one particular time period, some on metal type and some for a coins historical value.

There are also those who enjoy collecting everyday common coins, gaining pleasure from inspecting mint marks and dates on their everyday change. Others have a collection of coins from different countries. Some coin collectors spend thousands on rare gold and silver coins from the period of the 1800’s until the early 1900’s.

Learning how to collect coins can give pleasure and fun to an individual of any age. Many coin collectors began their collection when they were young children, collecting dimes or pennies many of them have made coin collecting a lifelong hobby.

The hobby of collecting coins usually involves spending money from the very start so it is good to join a coin collectors club to get ideas and help from knowledgeable and experienced collectors.

You need somebody to buy your coins from, and it may be hard to find a reputable coin dealer when you are new to the hobby, so having someone that has been in this collecting for years can be of great help to guide you on choosing an honest and knowledgeable coin dealer.

How To Collect Coins – Start You New Hobby Today

Begin by acquiring a big magnifying glass and examine coins so you can spot mintmarks, errors and to clearly read dates on worn or damaged coins.

Decide on what coins to collect and buy a coin collecting folder for that series.

You must also have coin storage essentials such as clear tubes made of plastic or coin tubes having top screws to keep your coins safe until you are ready to put them in a coin album; storage can also be good for keeping duplicate coins or coins of lesser value.

You must learn about different coin values. Follow what types of coins are sold, and how they are priced, based on dealer pricing. You also will need someone or some references that will show you how to evaluate the accurate value of a certain coin based on mint mark, age, color, surface and condition.

Coin Collection Books And Magazines

“A Guide Book of United States Coins” also known as “the red book”, which is published yearly, provides a good outline of U.S. coinage history, information on basic coin grading, coin descriptions from past to present including a list of errors to watch for, average U.S. coins retail cost, and an explanation of errors which occurred in the minting process.

Monthly publications like Coinage or Coin World magazine contain useful facts and information as well articles and photos about you new found hobby.

The newspaper, particularly in the numismatic section, will be of great interest to you especially when you become more and more involved and interested in your hobby and want to remain up to date with the current happenings in the world of numismatics.

As you grow more experienced in coin collecting, your “eye for coins” will improve and develop naturally so that you will now be scrutinizing more carefully the features and details on a coin such as lettering, making certain that the letters are not blemished or blurred, but are still distinguishable.

Spend ample time reading, looking at photos, learning from experienced collectors and asking as many questions as needed from not only other collectors, but dealers as well. The hobby of coin collecting is a continuing process that will last for as long as you are continue to build your collection.

Your knowledge and training will save you a lot of money as well as make you money when and if the time comes to sell some of your collection, but more importantly, you will have fun while learning. Take pleasure in what they call the “Hobby of kings” that has turned to be the “King of hobbies”.

Keep on learning how to collect coins as as time passes you will have a collection that you can be proud of.

Posted by - September 24, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Categories: Coin Collecting Basics   Tags:

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