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Coins of interest to collectors often include those that circulated for only a brief time, coins with mint errors and especially beautiful or historically significant pieces. Coin collecting can be differentiated from numismatics, in that the latter is the systematic study of currency.
A coin's grade is a main determinant of its value. For a tiered fee, a third party certification service like PCGS or NGC will grade, authenticate, attribute, and encapsulate most U.S. and foreign coins. Over 80 million coins have been certified by the four largest services.
People have hoarded coins for their bullion value for as long as coins have been minted. However, the collection of coins for their artistic value was a later development. Evidence from the archaeological and historical record of Ancient Rome and medieval Mesopotamia indicates that coins were collected and catalogued by scholars and state treasuries. It also seems probable that individual citizens collected old, exotic or commemorative coins as an affordable, portable form of art. According to Suetonius in his De vita Caesarum (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars), written in the first century CE, the emperor Augustus sometimes presented old and exotic coins to friends and courtiers during festivals and other special occasions.
During the 17th and 18th centuries coin collecting remained a pursuit of the well-to-do. But rational, Enlightenment thinking led to a more systematic approach to accumulation and study. Numismatics as an academic discipline emerged in these centuries at the same time as coin collecting became a leisure pursuit of a growing middle class, eager to prove their wealth and sophistication. During the 19th and 20th centuries, coin collecting increased further in popularity. The market for coins expanded to include not only antique coins, but foreign or otherwise exotic currency. Coin shows, trade associations, and regulatory bodies emerged during these decades. The first international convention for coin collectors was held 15–18 August 1962, in Detroit, Michigan, and was sponsored by the American Numismatic Association and the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association. Attendance was estimated at 40,000. As one of the oldest and most popular world pastimes, coin collecting is now often referred to as the "King of Hobbies".
The motivations for collecting vary from one person to another. Possibly the most common type of collectors are the hobbyists, who amass a collection purely for the pleasure of it with no real expectation of profit.
Another frequent reason for purchasing coins is as an investment. As with stamps, precious metals or other commodities, coin prices are periodical based on supply and demand. Prices drop for coins that are not in long-term demand, and increase along with a coin's perceived or intrinsic value. Investors buy with the expectation that the value of their purchase will increase over the long term. As with all types of investment, the principle of caveat emptor applies and study is recommended before buying. Likewise, as with most collectibles, a coin collection does not produce income until it is sold, and may even incur costs (for example, the cost of safe deposit box storage) in the interim.
Coin hoarders may be similar to investors in the sense that they accumulate coins for potential long-term profit. However, unlike investors, they typically do not take into account aesthetic considerations; rather they gather whatever quantity of coins they can and hold them. This is most common with coins whose metal value exceeds their spending value.
Speculators, be they amateurs or commercial buyers, generally purchase coins in bulk and often act with the expectation of short-term profit. They may wish to take advantage of a spike in demand for a particular coin (for example, during the annual release of Canadian numismatic collectibles from the Royal Canadian Mint). The speculator might hope to buy the coin in large lots and sell at profit within weeks or months. Speculators may also buy common circulation coins for their intrinsic metal value. Coins without collectible value may be melted down or distributed as bullion for commercial purposes. Typically they purchase coins that are composed of rare or precious metals, or coins that have a high purity of a specific metal.
A final type of collector is the inheritor, an accidental collector who acquires coins from another person as part of an inheritance. The inheritor type may not necessarily have an interest in or know anything about numismatics at the time of the acquisition.
Casual coin collectors often begin the hobby by saving notable coins found by chance. These coins may be pocket change left from an international trip or an old coin found in circulation.
Usually, if the enthusiasm of the novice increases over time, random coins found in circulation are not enough to satisfy their interest. The hobbyist may then trade coins in a coin club or buy coins from dealers or mints. Their collection then takes on a more specific focus.
Some enthusiasts become generalists and accumulate a few examples from a broad variety of historical or geographically significant coins. Given enough resources, this can result in a vast collection. King Farouk of Egypt was a generalist with a collection famous for its scope and variety.
Most collectors decide to focus their financial resources on a narrower, specialist interest. Some collectors focus on coins of a certain nation or historic period. Some collect coins by themes (or 'subjects') that are featured on the artwork displayed on the coin. Others will seek error coins. Still others might focus on exonumia such as medals, tokens or challenge coins.
Some collectors are completists and seek an example of every type of coin within a certain category. Perhaps the most famous of these is Louis Eliasberg, the only collector thus far to assemble a complete set of known coins of the United States.
A few common themes are often combined into a collection goal:
Country collections: Many enthusiasts focus their collection on only a single country--often their own. In contrast, some collectors attempt to obtain a sample from every country that has issued a coin.
Year collections: Rather than being satisfied with a single specimen of a type, a great many collectors collect type by year; for example, one Memorial Lincoln Cent for every year from 1959 (the year it was first minted) to 2008 (the last year it was minted). This is perhaps one of the most practical ways to collect a national currency since probably the majority of coin reference books and coin albums catalogue in the same manner.
Mint mark collections: Many collectors consider different mint marks significant enough to justify representation in their collection. When collecting coins by year, this multiplies the number of specimens needed to complete a collection. Some mint marks are more common than others.
Variety collections: Because mints generally issue thousands or millions of any given coin, they use multiple sets of coin dies to produce the same coin. Occasionally these dies have slight differences. This was more common on older coins because the coin dies were hand carved. But differences--intentional or accidental--still exist on coins today. Generally this is in a very small detail, such as the number of leaves on the ear of corn on the recent US Wisconsin state quarterFile:2004 WI Proof.png.
Type collections: Often a collection consists of an examples of major design variants for a period of time in one country or region. For example, United States coinage type set, Euro coins carry a "common side" that shows the denomination and a "national side" that varies in design from state to state within the Eurozone. Likewise, a type collection might focus on an unusual design feature such as coins with a hole in the middle, coins that are not circular in shape or coins with brockage.
Composition collections: For some, the metallurgical composition of the coin itself is of interest. For example, a collector might collect only bimetallic coins. Precious metals like gold, silver, copper and platinum are of frequent interest to collectors, but enthusiasts also pursue historically significant pieces like the 1943 steel cent or the 1974 aluminum cent. (Note that because the latter example was a pattern coin (a proposed design that was never produced for circulation) the U.S. Government considers private ownership of the 1974 aluminum cent illegal.)
Subject collections: Collectors with an interest in a certain theme or subject (such as, ships or eagles) may collect only coins depicting that interest.
Period collections: Collectors may restrict themselves to coins of the 18th or 19th century, while others collect ancient and medieval coins. Coins of Roman, Byzantine, Greek origin are amongst the more popular ancient coins collected. Some collect coins minted during a particular ruler's reign or a representative coin from each ruler. Collectors may also take interest in money issued during the administration of a historically significant bureaucrat such as a central bank governor, treasurer or finance secretary. For example, Reserve Bank of India governor James Braid Taylor presided over the country's move from silver currency to fiat money. Coins reflect the events of the time in which they are produced, so coins issued during historically important periods are especially interesting to collectors.
Printed value collections: A currency collection might be modeled around the theme of a specific printed value, for example, the number 1. This collection might include specimens of the US 1 dollar coin, the Canadian Loonie, the Euro, 1 Indian rupee and 1 Singapore dollar.
Volume collections (Hoards): Collectors may have an interest in acquiring large volumes of a particular coins (e.g., as many pennies as they can store). These usually are not high-value coins, but the interest is in collecting a large volume of them either for the sake of the challenge, as a store of value, or in the hope that the intrinsic metal value will increase.
Copy collections: Some collectors enjoy acquiring copies of coins, sometimes to complement the authentic coins in their collections. Copies might be:
contemporaneous ancient copies minted as official coins by other cities or rulers
contemporaneous ancient copies minted as counterfeits (often gold- or silver-plated) to fool merchants and consumers
contemporaneous modern copies minted as counterfeits to fool merchants and consumers
modern copies of older coins minted as forgeries to fool collectors
modern copies sold as replicas (often, but not always, marked as such)
modern copies minted for museums to be displayed instead of the originals
modern copies made to be used in jewelry
modern copies as official circulating coins that pay tribute to the original coin
modern copies as bullion collectable coins that pay tribute to the original coin
modern copies as medals or tokens that pay tribute to the original coin
Collecting counterfeits and forgeries is a controversial area because of the possibility that counterfeits might someday reenter the coin market as authentic coins, but US statutory and case law do not explicitly prohibit possession of counterfeit coins.
Geo-Political collections : Some individuals enjoy collecting coins from various nations which were once united by one dominant Geo-political force or movement. Examples include communist states such as the (PRC China) and the Soviet Union and satellite or constituent nations which shared similar iconography. Another common Geo-political coin collection may include coins from nations within the former and current British Empire, such as Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Canada, nations of the Caribbean, South Africa, Rhodesia, and other nations from Africa and South America, as well as Asia, such as Hong Kong and Europe, for example Northern Ireland a.k.a. "the Provence". Such collections can be broken down into geographical regions, such as British territories in Europe, from Africa, from Asia, the Americas, or from the Pacific, and even the smaller region of Oceania. Such coin collections can include a wide variety of coin shape and constituent materials, on the other hand they can also include periods where coins were very similar either in/or both composition and dimensions, with one face of the coin depicting local variance. There are many different Geo-political movements/ forces to choose from, including political movements such as CommunismFascism and Nationalism, and Empires such as those of the great European expansionists including England, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. Collectors of coins from empires have a wide time-span to choose from as there have been various forms of empire for thousands of years, with different regions changing hands between them.
Aesthetic collections : Some collections consist of coins which could fit into the other categories, and on coin grading may be graded poorly due to not conforming to their systems. These collections are made up of coins which are pleasing to the owner and to others not due to perfect condition, but rather due to the uniqueness of the coin based on several factors. These can include patinas which form from being exposed to acidic or basic environments (such as soil, when coins are excavated), and warping or wearing which come from use in circulation. Very interesting patinas and patterns can form on coins which have been naturally expose to environments which can affect the contents of the coin. Examples include naturally blackened Victorian pennies, which have only the most raised surface showing the underlying copper, meaning that the head is clearly presented. Many collectors often find discolored coins from the same year which are remarkably different, which makes for added categorization and enjoyment.
These sorts of collections are not enjoyed by mainstream collectors and traditional collectors, even though they themselves may have in the past or continue to have pieces which could be considered part of an aesthetic collection. One of the issues with this category is that the coins can be seen to have less perceived value to speculators and appraisers. Secondly the coins may be produced artificially, that is coins can be exposed to substances which can create effects similar to those sought for aesthetic collections. This means that coins which may be worth more to historians, numismatists and collectors for their purposes will be destroyed by the process.
Grade and value
In coin collecting, the condition of a coin (its grade) is paramount to its value; a high-quality example is often worth many times more than a poor example. Collectors have created systems to describe the overall condition of coins.
In the early days of coin collecting--before the development of a large international coin market--extremely precise grades were not needed. Coins were described using only three adjectives: "good," "fine" or "uncirculated". By the mid 20th century, with the growing market for rare coins, the American Numismatic Association helps identify most coins in North America. It uses a 1–70 numbering scale, where 70 represents a perfect specimen and 1 represents a barely identifiable coin. Descriptions and numeric grades for coins (from highest to lowest) is as follows:
This Deutsche Mark coin shows blemishes and rim dents that would detract from its grade in appraisal. 3D red cyan glasses are recommended to view this image correctly.
Mint State (MS) 60-70: Uncirculated (UNC)
About/Almost Uncirculated (AU) 50, 53, 55, 58
Extremely Fine (XF or EF) 40, 45
Very Fine (VF) 20, 25, 30, 35
Fine (F) 12, 15
Very Good (VG) 8, 10
Good (G) 4, 6
About Good (AG) 3
Fair (F) 2
Poor (P) 1
In addition to the rating of coins by their wear, Proof coinage occurs as a separate category. These are specimens struck from polished dies and are often packaged and sold by mints. This is frequently done for Commemorative coins, though annual proof sets of circulating coinage may be issued as well. Unless mishandled, they will stay in Mint State. Collectors often desire both the proof and regular ("business strike") issues of a coin, though the difference in price between the two may be significant. Additionally, proof coins follow the same 1-70 grading scale as business strike coins, though they use the PR or PF prefix.
Coin experts in Europe and elsewhere often shun the numerical system, preferring to rate specimens on a purely descriptive, or adjectival, scale. Nevertheless, most grading systems use similar terminology and values and remain mutually intelligible.
When evaluating a coin, the following--often subjective--factors may be considered:
"eye appeal" or the aesthetic interest of the coin;
dents on the rim;
unsightly scratches or other blemishes on the surface of the coin;
level of detail retained, where a coin with full details obviously is valued higher than one with worn details. If the coin is judged favorably in all of these criteria, it will generally be awarded a higher grade.
Damage of any sort (e.g., holes, edge dents, repairs, cleaning, re-engraving or gouges) can substantially reduce the value of a coin. Specimens are occasionally cleaned or polished in an attempt to pass them off as higher grades or as uncirculated strikes. Because of the substantially lower prices for cleaned or damaged coins, some enthusiasts specialize in their collection.
Third-party grading (TPG), aka coin certification services, emerged in the 1980s with the goals of standardizing grading, exposing alterations, and eliminating counterfeits. For tiered fees, certification services grade, authenticate, attribute, and encapsulate coins in clear, plastic holders. There are four coin certification services which eBay, the largest coin marketplace, deems acceptable to include in its listings: Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), Independent Coin Graders (ICG), and ANACS. Experts consider these to be the most credible and popular services. Together they have certified over 80 million coins.
In 2007, the rare coin industry's leading dealer association, the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), released the results of a survey of major coin dealers who gave their professional opinions about 11 certification services. PCGS and NGC were rated "Superior" overall, with ANACS and ICG deemed "Good". PCI and SEGS were listed as "Poor", while called "Unacceptable" were Accugrade (ACG), Numistrust Corporation (NTC), Hallmark Coin Grading Service (HCGS), American Coin Club Grading Service (ACCGS), and Star Grading Services (SGS).
Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC) is a Far Hills, New Jersey coin certification company started in 2007 by coin dealer John Albanese. The firm evaluates most numismatically valuable U.S. coins already certified by NGC or PCGS. Coins which CAC deems high-end for their grades receive green stickers. Coins which are at least high end for the next grade up are bestowed gold stickers. CAC-certified coins usually trade for a premium. CAC buys and sells CAC-certified coins via their affiliated trading network, Coinplex.
Coin certification has greatly reduced the number of counterfeits and grossly overgraded coins, and improved buyer confidence. Certification services can sometimes be controversial because grading is subjective; coins may be graded differently by different services or even upon resubmission to the same service. The numeric grade alone does not represent all of a coin's characteristics, such as toning, strike, brightness, color, luster, and attractiveness. Due to potentially large differences in value over slight differences in a coin's condition, some submitters will repeatedly resubmit a coin to a grading service in the hope of receiving a higher grade. Because fees are charged for certification, submitters must funnel money away from purchasing additional coins.
^"Coin Collecting". britannica.com]. Retrieved 2010. Quote: "The Nestorian scholars and artisans who served the princes of the Jazira (Mesopotamia, now Iraq, Syria, and Turkey) in the 12th and 13th centuries designed a magnificent series of coins with motifs based on ancient Greek and Roman issues. Some of these so accurately render the details of the originals that even the inscriptions are faithfully repeated. Others were modified in intriguing ways. [...] The great variety and the sophisticated use of these images reveal the existence of well-studied collections."
The Official Red BookA Guide Book of United States Coinsis 72 years young and going strong. Collectors around the country love the book's grade-by-grade values, auction records, historical background, detailed specifications, high-resolution photographs, and accurate mintage data. How rare are your coins? How much are they worth? The Red Book tells you, covering everything from early colonial copper tokens to hefty Old West silver dollars and dazzling gold coins. You'll find 32,500] prices for more than 7,600 coins, tokens, medals, sets, and other collectibles. Articles on investing, grading coins, and detecting counterfeits will make you a savvy collector; and entertaining essays on the history of American coinage, shipwrecks and hoards, and the modern rare-coin market give you an inside look at "the hobby of kings." These are just some of the features of the Red Bookthe world's best-selling coin price guide (more than 24 million copies sold). Full Color [[ 7.7" x 6" x 1.25
This is a full-color global guide to world coinage, from its origins in the 7th century BC to the present day, featuring coins and collectables for 200 countries. It provides an expert guide to understanding the value and identity of coins, with insights into dates, metals, denominations, shapes, mintmarks, and portraits. This thorough introduction details the history of coin production around the world, from the origins of coinage in the seventh century BC, to its subsequent development by Alexander the Great, Cleopatra and Napoleon, through to its role in today's society. It includes over 3000 life-size colour images of wonderful coins, including the boat-shaped issues of ancient Byzantium, the bronze tokens of the Chinese dynasties, the emergency World War One issues, the Vatican coins, and many more.
This is the definitive illustrated reference to the world's greatest coins and a professional guide to building a spectacular collection, featuring over 3000 color images.
This is the ultimate expert guide to coins and coin collecting. This is an in-depth introduction to the origins, anatomy and usage of coins looks at the birth of the world's first currencies.
Practical advice on evaluating grade and condition that will enable the amateur to gauge the value of their latest acquisitions, and step-by-step techniques show how to restore and preserve coins of all ages.
The fully-illustrated country-by-country directory contains concise and lively histories of modern-day territories and ancient regimes, plus engrossing stories of some of the most remarkable coins in existence.
Canât make heads or tails out of coin collecting? You needCoin Collecting For Dummies, 2nd Edition, thetreasure trove on information on numismatics. This hands-on guideescorts you through the worldâs oldest hobby, helping youdecide which type of coins you want to collect, keep yourcollection in mint condition, buy and sell coins on the Internet,find interesting coin shows to attend, and assemble and diversify agreat collection.
The purpose of this fun, easy-to-access guide is to turn youinto a world-class coin collector in as little time as possible.Youâll learn what coins can teach you about history andgeography, develop organizational and observational skills, andlearn to use analytical tools, all without event thinking about it.And youâll learn the basics about ancient coins, U.S. coins,world coins, and the wild-and-wooly stuff that really gets yournumismatic juices flowing. Discover how to:
Start your collection correctly
Evaluate coins using age, condition, rarity, and more
Buy interesting coins without breaking the bank
Locate rare and expensive coins
Get savvy about avoiding fakes
Get the whole family involved in your collection
Develop a buying strategy
Clean and handle coins safely
Keep your collection secure at home and on the road
Investigate tokens, medals, and miscellaneous coins
Create complete collections of copper, nickel, silver, or goldU.S. coins
When it comes to numismatics, Coin Collecting For Dummies,2nd Edition is right on the money!
Recent News Story: The long term appreciation for high quality rare coins have achieved returns exceeding those of the major equity indices. Looking back over the past 40 years, rare coins have had a compounded (IRR) rate of return greater than 11%, while the DJIA and S&P500 indices have grown at rates less than 7%.
These are important facts. Even if you just want to learn the basics of coin collecting, knowing how valuable coins are is important
In this book we will examine coin collecting from the beginner's view to the investors view.
Coins are becoming more and more valuable and thousands are being sold online. Unfortunately many of these coins are fake. I will show you how to protect yourself from fraud and how to determine a coin's value. You will learn:
How to start collecting
What tools you will need
How to spot error coins
How to grade coins
How to handle coins
Which coins are fake
How to buy coins
How to safely find coins in rolls
Which coins are rare and why
This book is packed and as an added bonus you can contact me directly with any questions you may have. Tags: The book is ideal for anyone wanting to learn how to collect coins, Lincoln Cents, Morgan Dollars, Silver Coins, Gold Coins, Rare Coins, Error Coins, Indian Head Pennies, Sell coins, Buy coins, fake coins, coin roll hunting.
Who were the models for the Indian Head nickel? Why is it called the Orphan Annie? What is the King of American Coins?
Fascinating Facts, Myths and Mysteries about U.S. Coins is a compilation of some of the more intriguing stories in the history of U.S. Mint coinage. Some are based on facts. Others are hobby myths. All of them make for entertaining reading. Read about:
The five-known 1913 Liberty head nickels
Augustus Staint-Gaudens and his famed gold $20
The short-lived 20-cent piece
The $1 million coin exhibit
The reason for the Liberty cover-up on the Standing Liberty quarter
Are you ready to take your coin collecting to new places? How about taking your collecting on a scenic tour of America's most breathtaking and revered national parks courtesy of this new "America the Beautiful" National Parks Collector's coin folder.This affordable and durable 3-panel folder contains 60 slots - more than most folders - to house all of the National Parks quarters. Plus, there is a slot each for the Denver and Philadelphia coin fronts. From Hot Springs National Park to Tall Grass National Park you'll have a stunning showcase for your quarters, along with geographic details and historical anecdotes about each national site featured, as well as key coin specifications. Plus, the front cover of this folder features the reverse image of each of the first five coins issued in this program — a unique feature of the Warman's National Park Quarters folders, produced by Krause Publications.
The Handbook of United States Coins debuted in 1942 as a resource showing how much coin dealers were paying on average to buy U.S. coins by type, date, and mintmark. For more than 75 years coin dealers have used the BLUE BOOK to make buying offers. As a collector, you can use it to find out how much your coins are worth! The price listings offer a real-world look at the coin market, gathered from dealers around the country. The new 76th edition includes updated prices, special features, and many new photos. Coverage includes colonial and early American coins, federal coins, commemoratives, Proof sets, die varieties, private and territorial gold, tokens, the newest Presidential dollars, National Park quarters, bullion coins, and other US Mint products. 24,000+ prices in multiple grades. Easy-to-follow coin-grading instructions. Coins and tokens from the 1600s to today. Historical info. Detailed, actual-size photos. How to start a coin collection. Detailed mintage records, and much more
Kids take a tour of a mint and explore the history of money in this perfect introduction to the facinating and rewarding hobby of coin collecting. This edition also includes gatefolds designed to accommodate the entire $1 Presidential Coins collection and Westward Journey nickel series, along with all 50 statehood quarters. Coin slots on each page of this colorful book and coin album challenge kids to seek out both old and new coins to start their own collection and develop a lifelong love of coin collecting.
The Official Red BookâA Guide Book of United States Coinsâis 71 years young and going strong. Collectors around the country love the book's grade-by-grade values, auction records, historical background, detailed specifications, high-resolution photographs, and accurate mintage data. How rare are your coins? How much are they worth? The Red Book tells you. Covering everything from early colonial copper tokens to hefty Old West silver dollars and dazzling gold coins. You'll find 32,500+ prices for more than 7,600 coins, tokens, medals, sets, and other collectibles. You'll also round out your education in commemoratives, Proof and Mint coins, error coins, Civil War tokens, Confederate coins, private gold, all the latest National Park quarters, Presidential and Native American dollars, Lincoln cents, and more. Articles on investing, grading coins, and detecting counterfeits will make you a savvy collector; and entertaining essays on the history of American coinage, shipwrecks and hoards, and the modern rare-coin market give you an inside look at "the hobby of kings." These are just some of the features of the informative, entertaining, invaluable Red Bookâthe world's best-selling coin price guide with more than 23 million copies sold.
The State Quarter program has made coin collecting cool. What other activity requires treasure hunting skills and knowledge of history, and delivers a decade of excitement, the thrill of hunting for errors, and an interest in U.S. history, and state pride? Treat yourself and your favorite fan of State Quarters to this beautiful three-panel coin folder, with 60 slots and intriguing anecdotes about these history-making coins.