Coin Collection Facts - Simple Guide To The Hobby

coin collecting

Coin Collection Facts - Simple Guide To The Hobby

Coin collection is a wondeful hobby. While some coin collectors enjoy hunting for rare coins, others take it as an investment to make money out of it. As a coin collector if you know something about the grading and evaluation of coins, you will have a better idea about what others may be looking for.

Types of coin collectors

Normally coin collectors collect only some specific type of coins so as to add value to their collection and also to make it interesting to the buyers. Some other collectors do it only for personal satisfaction and are more interested in the uniqueness of coins. Series coin collectors are interested in coin series with yearly marks and design changes. They will not like to miss any coin of their series. The type collectors are people interested in the series of coins which have been changing.

There are ancient coin collectors: these are people interested in coins of the period spanning 650 BC to 450 AD. During this period coins were supposed to be invented and used. These coins are made of bronze, silver or gold. The Romans ruled in this period and these coins feature Roman emperors, their towns and gods, etc.

Token collectors collect tokens which were used in place of the actual currency when the coins were in shortage. Though these tokens might not have been authorized by the government, they were in use in place of the local currency.

Grading of Coins

Coins can also be graded for evaluation purposes. The condition of the coin decides its grading and that in turn will govern its price. It will be useful if a coin collector knows grading coins so that he can safeguard himself from cheating.

The term “uncirculated coins” refers to coins which show no wear or tear, they are also refered to as being “in mint condition”. The MS (mint state) grading is determined by the coin’s shine, visible contact marks or hair lines scratches, and the overall look. The MS grading ranges from MS-60 (implying dull luster) to MS-70 (meaning flawless). While the grade, MS-70, is unachieveable, coins with grades MS-65 or higher will fetch good prices.

The circulated coins are graded less harshly — amount of scratches or dirt on the coins with years of use are ignored while grading. Instead, the quality of physical appearance such as luster of the coin, visibility of design elements, letters and numerals, etc., determine the grade of the coin. Their worth is indicated by the following grades:

AU (about “uncirculated”), EF (extremely fine), VF (very fine), F (fine), VG (very good), G (good), AG (about good), F-2 (fair) and as
P (poor).

Since, these coins had been in circulation unlike the uncirculated coins which were never used, the grading of circulated coins do not drastically affect their value. This is a useful situation for those who need them merely to complete their collection.

The basic laws of economics applies to the world of coins too. The price of a particular coin will also be governed by the usual demand-supply situation, disregarding the grade of the coin. The low supply coins with heavy demand will be expensive compared to those in good supply.

It is the coin dealers who establish the demand, and hence the coins’ worth, by comparing the number of buyers and sellers. As a coin becomes hard to find, the coin dealers raises its price, and more people come forward to sell it.

You must know that grading and pricing of coins usually require a good deal of experience. While there are plenty of tips and guide books about grading and coin evaluations, it is the professional coin dealers who have the final word on the coins’ worth. It may be a good exercise that you grade and evaluate your coins yourself and then talk to some professional dealers to find out why your results are different from theirs.

While the investment and profit part will be always there in coin collections, it can certainly be made to be a joyful hobby. Besides knowing a thing or two about grading will be always useful so that no one can exploit your ignorance.

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