If you are new to the hobby, or if you are returning after many years, beginning a coin collection can be a daunting task. But, it does not need to be.
After 50 years of collecting, I can attest to being frustrated at times. What should I collect? How do I acquire them? Should all my coins be the same condition? Do I have to complete the set?
To make your decision a bit simpler, I have six suggestions on how to get the ball rolling –
- If you are over whelmed by the sheer quantity of denominations why not try a Type Set?
A Type Set can be an interesting and educational way to collect. Here you do not, necessarily, collect the rare dates, but rather common dates. For example, you can obtain a U.S. Type Album for the twentieth century coins. Or, a Type Set may contain the designs of only one denomination. For example, a cent Type Set of the twentieth century would consist of the following – Indian Cent, Wheat Cent, (zinc) Wheat Cent, copper Memorial Cent and a (zinc) Memorial Cent
2. Pick a coin that has few (if any) rare dates. One of the easiest collections to complete would be the Jefferson Nickel set (1938 to date). With the exception of the “War” nickels (1942 to 1945) there are no silver coins. This series also has one of the longest current runs, so you can still find many older dates in change. (You will find that in this series the album you need to collect the coins cost more than the most expensive coin).Another suggestion would be the Roosevelt dime or Franklin half dollar. The prices you pay for these sets will be very much dependant on the price of silver.
3. Another interesting way of collecting is to pick a personally significant year and try to collect all the denominations and mint marks. This, of course, can be very challenging for some years (most notably -1916 and 1921). On those tougher years you might want to do only select mints. Do you have a great aunt or uncle that was born in 1935? Then collect the best condition 1935 coins you can afford.
4. You could also consider collecting damaged or off-conditions coins. This is a great way of collecting older coins without breaking the bank. Several years ago I purchased a large collection that consisted of not only collectible grade coins, but also coins with holes in them. After obtaining a few more holed coins I decided to attempt to complete a 19th and 20th Century Type Set of ‘holy” coins. It took the better part of 20 years, but I finally completed the set last year. Strangely, one of the last coins I needed was a Jefferson nickel. Several of my customers said that they could fill the hole in about 2 minutes. But my rule was that I had to find a pre-existing holed coin. It really isn’t a bad looking collection. Without considering the hole, many would grade out XF or AU.
5. You may want to consider collecting a Year Set of coins. Invariably, there is one or two coins in most sets that would require a second mortgage to obtain. For example you could try to collect the complete set of Morgan dollars only to find that the years 1893 to 1895 could break the bank (if you wanted all mints). But by collecting only one coin per year you can pick and choose the mint that you can afford. Dansco makes a very nice year set album for dollars.
6. My final suggestion is to do what many collectors prefer – collect any coin that appeals to you! Don’t worry about “completing” a particular set. There are so many types of coins minted around the world that choices of attractive designs are almost endless. I have had many young beginning collectors in my shop that started with coins that had interesting designs or shapes (ie. Animals, coins with holes, etc.) Your imagination is the limit as to what to collect!
There are several different methods of housing your collection…but that is a future topic.
GOOD LUCK !!