Coin collecting is a fantastic and rewarding hobby that essentially dates back hundreds of years. What often starts out as a simple pastime can develop into a lifelong passion, resulting in a valuable and carefully strategised collection.
As it is, numismatics is a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry and many would-be collectors and rare coin investors are unsure about where to start, simply because there is so much to know and so many different options available to you.
So what we’ve done is take a few of the most frequently asked questions about rare coins, and put them together with essential need-to-know coin collecting basics, so you can get started with your collection as soon as possible.
1. You don’t have to have a huge budget when you first start out.
Sure, everyone has their eye on a favourite (and expensive) gold coin, but do yourself a favour and look at coins that you already have lying around. Also chat to family, friends and fellow collectors. They might have a rare coin or two that they’re willing to part with to help you get started.
2. Trawl markets and car boot sales, visit antique and coin shops.
The least likely places often have the best finds (and bargains!)Don’t be scared of having a scratch around, you might be pleasantly surprised. Also, don’t be shy to ask questions about the rare coins you find or are looking for. If the person selling has a large collection on display, then they know a thing or two about numismatics and they should be able to help you out with the information you need.
3. If you’re collecting purely as a hobby, then focus on what really takes your fancy.
You might like coins from a certain country or year, or those with interesting designs or emblems. At the end of the day, you’ll still have an interesting collection, and it might be worth more than you think.
4. If you’re collecting specifically for investment purposes, or to build up a valuable collection, then try to buy the best high quality, graded coins that you can afford.
They’re more expensive than ungraded coins, but you’ll know exactly what you’re getting, and it’s easier to follow their market performance. With ungraded coins, it’s almost impossible to determine the real value of a coin, especially if you can’t see it ‘in the flesh’. This makes buying ungraded coins online quite risky. It’s not uncommon for collectors, especially those who are new to it, to buy ‘rare coins’ online only to find out later that they aren’t as valuable as they were promised, by which stage you can’t do anything about it. Rather find a coin dealer you trust, who will be able to advise you on what coins would be best for your investment needs and budget.
5. Join and participate on online forums, and follow different coin blogs and websites.
It doesn’t matter if they’re international or local websites, you’ll learn a lot from reading about the latest coin trends, popular specimens, how the grading system works, the market performance of rare coins and gold coins, and other interesting and relevant information.
6. It’s really important that you look after your rare coins properly.
Handling and storing them correctly from the outset can mean the difference between preserving them and increasing their value, or drastically reducing their market value because they’ve been damaged.To start with, try to avoid touching coins with your bare hands, and don’t try to clean them yourself, no matter how tempted you are.For more on this, click through to our blog post on how to care for and store your rare coins. Similarly, if your coins are of significant value (but haven’t been graded), then there are a number of effective coin storage options you can choose from, depending on your budget and requirements.
That should be enough to get you started, but if you have any questions about getting started with your collection, or are looking for a particular coin to add to your portfolio, then email email@example.com or post the question on the South Cape Coin’s Facebook page.