Coin collecting, a popular activity for centuries, is more than just accumulating coins for their monetary value. It is the process of collecting and exchanging coins and other legally minted currency. Coins that have value are those that were in distribution for just a short period, coins that were imprinted with faults, or ones that are just very beautiful or historically appealing. Numismatics, while similar to coin collecting, focuses on studying currency.
The majority of collectors start with coins that have been out in circulation. There is no danger here, as you may simply use the coins you have collected, but there is also very little opportunity for profit. Coins that have been in circulation usually are only valuable if they are old, because they are more likely to have incurred damage. Once a collector becomes more involved in their new hobby, they can then start obtaining coins from other sources. Purchasing straight from the US Mint is the best method to make sure that the coin has not circulated. Coins are available for collectors to purchase from coin shops, coin shows, the internet, auctions, other collectors, or flea markets.
Almost any rare or obsolete coin may be valuable, but as is the case with most collectibles, the condition dictates its value. Any type of damage, for instance dents in the edges, holes, scratches, and even cleaning can really decrease a coin's worth. How a person handles a coin is very important. It is important to handle coins with care in an effort to avoid wear, spots, scratches, or color variations. When handling an un-circulated or proof coin, a collector must not touch it anywhere but the edges. Fingerprints on a coin can lessen the coin's value and grade. Even laying a coin down outside of its holder is usually done on a soft, velvety surface.
There is a variety of themes that are usually found and combined in most collections. The goal of some collectors is to get a coin sample from every country. Collectors might want to specialize in coins from a specific country, more than likely their own. Specific books are made for collectors so they can collect coins from every year. For a few collectors, coins released in historically significant eras are the most attractive. Different themes represented in a collection might be the 18th and 19th century; ancient Rome; the Byzantine period; medieval times; and coins with Greek, Indian, Celtic, Merovingian, Ostrogothic, Parthian, or Israeli origins. Coins are a product of historical events from the era that they were created. Collections may differ drastically for this reason, and they could conceivably have coins that were minted during a specific emperor's rule, government, a battle, or another historic event.
You can practice coin collecting like you would any other type of investment. The costs of coins may be stable or the values of specific coins that are not in high demand may go down. Collecting coins is like collecting anything else in that the items you collect do not generate income until they are sold.
Coin collecting is a delightful hobby, and it can be very lucrative too, if you know what you're doing.
Which coins are worth collecting and which aren't
How and where to get your first coins
How to figure out how much your coins are worth
Much, much more!