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Collect Coins | Beginner Coin Collecting
Find helpful articles for beginner coin collectors!

Welcome to the Collect Coins beginner coin collecting series. You can also find the values of your coins & paper money with a NumisMaster coin price guide, find coin dealers online, and become a NumisMaster VIP Member to enjoy annual complimentary subscriptions & discounts on all coin books, coin magazines, and more in our coin bookstore!

 

 

*NEW* Collecting Treasures in Your Set: Silver Coins

Until 1961, the U.S. government controlled the price of silver in the country, setting it at 92.5 cents an ounce. But after 1961, silver bullion was allowed to trade on the free market and government controls on its price were lifted. Silver soon shot up to $1.29 an ounce.
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Organization is Key

President Bill Clinton signed the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act into law on Dec. 1, 1997. The bill originated in the Senate. It was introduced to “honor the unique Federal republic of 50 States that comprise the United States” and to “promote the diffusion of knowledge among the youth of the United States about the individual States, their history and geography, and the rich diversity of the national heritage.”
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  Collecting State Quarters

President Bill Clinton signed the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act into law on Dec. 1, 1997. The bill originated in the Senate. It was introduced to “honor the unique Federal republic of 50 States that comprise the United States” and to “promote the diffusion of knowledge among the youth of the United States about the individual States, their history and geography, and the rich diversity of the national heritage.”
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  Collecting Canadian Coins

The first coins struck in the name of Canada were produced by the Province of Canada. This was the collective name for Upper Canada (Ontario) and Lower Canada (Quebec). Bronze cents and silver 5-cent, 10-cent, and 20-cent pieces were struck in 1858-1859.
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Tools of the Modern Numismatic Trade

The most important tool for collecting coins is a magnifier lens: Every coin collector needs at least one magnifier. You should never examine a coin just with the unaided eye, whether buying or selling.
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Collecting Bicentennial Coins

A variety of coinage proposals for the nation’s Bicentennial emerged in the years leading up to the celebration.
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What's My Coin Worth?

Felix Schlag’s renditions of Thomas Jefferson and his Virginia home, Monticello, made their debut on the 5-cent coin in 1938. They replaced the Buffalo nickel, which remains popular with collectors today.
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Collecting Westward Journey Nickels

Felix Schlag’s renditions of Thomas Jefferson and his Virginia home, Monticello, made their debut on the 5-cent coin in 1938. They replaced the Buffalo nickel, which remains popular with collectors today.
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Collecting Error Coins

An average American living in the 13 Colonies during the 18th century would not have found many English silver or gold coins in his pocket. It was British policy to restrict the export of precious metals to the Colonies. As a result, nothing but copper was struck for the Colonies, and even that was rarely minted.
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Safekeeping Your Coins

An average American living in the 13 Colonies during the 18th century would not have found many English silver or gold coins in his pocket. It was British policy to restrict the export of precious metals to the Colonies. As a result, nothing but copper was struck for the Colonies, and even that was rarely minted.
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* NEW * -Safekeeping Your Coins

An average American living in the 13 Colonies during the 18th century would not have found many English silver or gold coins in his pocket. It was British policy to restrict the export of precious metals to the Colonies. As a result, nothing but copper was struck for the Colonies, and even that was rarely minted.
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The Evolution of U.S. Coins

An average American living in the 13 Colonies during the 18th century would not have found many English silver or gold coins in his pocket. It was British policy to restrict the export of precious metals to the Colonies. As a result, nothing but copper was struck for the Colonies, and even that was rarely minted.
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Mints and Mintmarks

The “U.S. Mint” is about as specific as most non-collectors get in describing the government agency that provides everyday coins. Behind that label are the various production facilities that actually do the work.
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Care and Storage of Your Coins

Once you find a coin you love, or begin to build a collection that you are dedicating time and money to, you really need to consider proper care and storage methods. Careless handling of your coins can quickly lead to loss of value.
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10 Ways to Buy Coins: But Not All Are Smart

Selling coins is more challenging than buying them. The first thing to remember is you cannot force anybody to buy your coins. There is no automatic process. You have to work at it.
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Tips on Selling Coins

Selling coins is more challenging than buying them. The first thing to remember is you cannot force anybody to buy your coins. There is no automatic process. You have to work at it.
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Modern U.S. Commemorative Coins

Commemorative coins honor events, people, organizations, or other things, and are authorized by law. They are official U.S. government issues and legal tender, but they are not intended to circulate.
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Collecting Lincoln Memorial Cents

Ask a longtime coin collector about the first series he or she collected, and they will probably say Lincoln cents.
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Grading Coins

Grading is an attempt to quantify, and describe, the various states of preservation (or condition) that a coin is in.
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Gold's Historical Role With Coinage

Today, gold prices are fixed in United States dollars, pound sterling and European euros. Originally, the offices of N.M . Rothschild & Sons in St. Swithin’s Lane were used for a table side meeting of five competitors; but since May 5, 2004, it has been done by phone.
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Tips on Buying and Selling Coins

TV and newspaper ads don't come cheap. You know that if a firm is paying heavily for their ads, the profit has to come from somewhere, such as out of your pocket!
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Brenner's Time-Honored Lincoln

Teddy Roosevelt had a good idea when he decided there should be a coin honoring the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. Just as good were his choices of the denomination to be used and the sculptor to design it, Victor D. Brenner. Full Story



Collecting Saints

Have you ever thought about the names given to different coin series? Celebrating the hundredth anniversary of its inception this year is arguably the best known American coin series - the Saint-Gaudens double eagle, or $20 gold piece. Minted from 1907 through 1933, this coin was designed by the most famous sculptor of his day, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Full Story



Carson City Dollars a Link to Old West

There's just something about silver dollars. Maybe it's because they conjure up images of cowboys, prospectors and the Old West. Whatever the reason, silver dollars are one of the most collected U.S. coins. And just about the most popular are the Carson City Morgan silver dollars. Full Story



Build a Portfolio with Affordable Coins

What attracted me to coin collecting (and ultimately coin investing) some 50 years ago was the ease of entry. No forms to fill out. No disclosure. Just sift through your pocket change and transform money into MONEY. Full Story



Collecting American Eagle Bullion Coins

Silver American Eagle bullion coins, and their gold counterparts, were historic firsts for the U.S. Mint when they made their debut in 1986. They were the first official U.S. coins struck primarily to be bought and sold for their bullion value. Full Story



Collecting Modern Commemorative Coins

Congress has authorized a myriad of commemorative coin series since 1982. Commemorative coins honor events, people, organizations, or other things, and are authorized by law. They are official U.S. government issues and legal tender, but they are not intended to circulate. Full Story





U.S. Minting Varieties and Errors

The P.D.S. cataloging system used here to list minting varieties was originally compiled by Alan Herbert in 1971. PDS stands for the three main divisions of the minting process: planchet, die and striking. Two more divisions cover collectible modifi cations after the strike, as well as non-collectible alterations, counterfeits and damaged coins.
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Division I: Planchet Varieties

The first division of the PDS System includes those minting varieties that occur in the manufacture of the planchet upon which the coins will ultimately be struck and includes classes resulting from faulty metallurgy, mechanical damage, faulty processing, or equipment or human malfunction prior to the actual coin striking.
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Division II: The Die Varieties

Die varieties may be unique to a given die, but will repeat for the full life of the die unless a further change occurs. Anything that happens to the die will affect the appearance of the struck coin.
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Division III: Striking Varieties

Once the dies are made and the planchets have been prepared, they are struck by a pair of dies and become a coin. In this division, we list the misstrikes resulting from human or mechanical malfunction in the striking process. These are one-of-a-kind varieties, but there may be many similar coins that fall in a given class.
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Division IV: Official Mint Modifications

Several mint produced varieties occur after the coin has been struck, resulting in the addition of the fourth division to my PDS System. Since most of these coins are either unique or are special varieties, each one must be taken on a case by case basis.
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Division V: After Strike Modifications

This division includes both modifications that have value to collectors - and those that don't.
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A Look Back at the History of Grading

In September 1888, Dr. George Heath, a physician in Monroe, Mich., published a four-page pamphlet titled The American Numismatist. There were no formal grades listed with the coins and their prices, but statements by Heath indicates that condition was a consideration for early collectors.
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Grading Circulated U.S. Coins

Dealers today generally use either the ANA guide or Photograde when grading circulated coins for their inventories. Many local coin shops sell both books.
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Grading Uncirculated U.S. Coins

The subjectivity of grading and the trend toward more classifications becomes more acute when venturing into uncirculated, or mint-state, coins.
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Grading U.S. Proof Coins

Because proof coins are struck by a special process using polished blanks, they receive their own grading designation.
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