An easy hobby on the surface, coin collecting actually has a long and colorful history, so it can be difficult for a beginner to know where to start. What are easy goals for the first-time coin collector? What sets can you reasonably expect to build in your first year?
If you’re wondering where to begin your coin collection, here are a few ideas.
A simple collection for the novice coin collector is a birth year set. Exactly what it sounds like, you build a birth year set by collecting coins minted during the year you were born. Pennies, nickels and dimes are easily found among pocket change, but quarters come in several varieties, including original and state quarters, and half-dollars and silver dollars from a specific year might be quite challenging to find because of their rarity. An even harder twist on this idea is to build the birth year set of someone older, like a grandfather or a celebrity you admire. You’ll need all your ingenuity to find, say, a peace dollar coin from 1935.
A great project for younger or inexperienced coin collectors, a state quarter set consists of quarters from all 50 states. They’re easy to find and identify, making this a simple pursuit if you’re unsure of your long-term interest in coin collecting, but you’ll also need tenacity to sift through all the duplicates for 50 states, giving you room to build your skills and gain confidence in your collection methods. You can also make it harder for yourself by searching for specific state quarters, like first editions or state quarters issued in a certain year. They weren’t all released at once, so complete year sets are impossible, but you can still collect every quarter released in, say, 2000.
Out of Circulation
This is a challenging endeavor, one best suited for mature collectors or those who have already successfully completed a few other sets. Out of circulation coins are off the market and no longer accepted by retailers, so you won’t find them in your change or through your bank teller. There’s also quite a few of them, including the half cent, the two cent and the infamous “large cent” of the 1800s. You’ll need to go to specialty shoes and numismatic exchanges to track down these beauties. Click here to learn more about the buying and selling of rare coins.