Entering into the coin-collecting scene but unsure of where to begin? The right set of tools can get you started off on the right foot.
If you’re just starting out and have a few coins you’d like to secure—say one rare American Double Eagle or Silver Eagle—then a coin holder is the safest option to ensure that your coin is preserved. These holders often come in the form of boxes, where your coins can be individually secured once collected.
Now you’ve been collecting coins for some time and you’re beginning to find that coin holders aren’t doing the trick anymore. Enter the benefit of a coin album! Just as you would insert important perforated work documents into an album, a coin album works much the same way, allowing you to secure your coins in individual slots across a page. This is one of the best ways to secure your coins en masse, keeping them in one protected place.
In possession of a lot of coins that don’t require storage in a holder or an album? Coin tubes are a quality way of storing coins in larger quantities. Don’t worry, these aren’t the paper coin sleeves you receive a roll of quarters in from the bank. Coin tubes are rigid plastic tubes that allow you to safely store your duplicate coins in an easy-to-pack space.
Soft Cotton Gloves
Do you remember your elders telling you to not rest your hands on your face? If so, it was for good reason as there are natural oils and acids that build up on your hands over the course of a day.
With such information, you should thus act as if your mother is watching you at all times while you are handling coins! The oils and acids found on your hands can damage the surface of a coin, especially those rare, uncirculated ones. For this reason, it is best to both wash your hands before handling coins and to wear a pair of soft cotton gloves. If no gloves are available and you wish to take hold of a possible American Silver Eagle, make sure to take hold of it on its edges, not its face.
Soft Cotton Cloth
Let’s say you found a coin and want to take a closer look at it. While you might be able to see some of the finer details on the coin, it is more than likely that there will be some residue buildup on the exterior of its face. A soft cotton cloth can be your best friend in this scenario—like your cotton gloves—as it is an easy way to clean a coin without causing further damage to it.
Moreover, if you happen to touch the face of the coin with your bare fingers, a soft cotton cloth provides an easy way to wipe the coin free of any oils or acids transferred.
Tweezers (Coin Tongs)
Along with your cotton gloves and cloth, tweezers provide a simple way to take hold of a coin in a pinch. With its thin tips, this is a preferred way of picking up and moving coins when gloves are not available.
It is important to keep in mind that a coin should be grabbed by its rim, not its face, whenever attempting to take hold of it. If you are worried about damaging the rim of the coin by having a metal surface contact a metal surface, there are tweezers available that have rubber covers placed over their tips.
After having already put on the proper glove wear, it’s certain that you’ll want to take a closer look at the coin(s) you intend to inspect. A handy magnifying glass is one of the easiest ways to achieve a closer inspection of the coins in your collection. The primary benefit of a magnifying glass is that they are easy to transport, meaning you can readily bring one along with you while searching for coins, making the investigation process much easier.
If you’re concerned that a large transportable magnifying glass isn’t go to work best for you, a jeweler’s loupe is the perfect solution. With its increased ease of sight and slight size, it makes it much easier to handle so you can spot intricacies on the coin such as physical flaws or signs of counterfeit markings. Most loupes come in a variety of magnifying strengths, but professional coin collectors recommend one between 10x-20x magnification.
Coin Reference Books
Not sure of the origin of your coin? Not sure what it might be worth? If you can’t answer either of these questions, you should know that a good reference book on coin collecting can help. The annually-published A Guide Book to United States Coins—also known as “The Red Book”—is one of the most definitive coin-collecting guides for collectors within the United States. Considered the bible of U.S. coin collecting, the guide provides information on U.S. coins dating all the way back to the 1600s; however, each guide becomes outdated with the printing of the newest.
For those seeking a digital source, the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) is a reliable site that can offer most all insights into coin collecting.
A journal might not seem like a necessity, as you can keep track of your coins within your folders and albums, but it is a surefire way to keep track of just what it is you’re looking for and what themes interest you most. A well-documented journal is a surefire way to ensure you track your collections, either by year or country.
Within your journal you can take specific notes on the coins already in your possession, assessing them for any defects or historical characteristics; furthermore, you can write just what coins you’re looking for, whether that’s a specific American Gold Buffalo or an American Gold Eagle.
With these supplies in your possession, you’ll be ready to embark on your coin collecting adventure. If you’re ever in need of some insight or have questions about any of our products, know that Provident Metals is here here to help you protect, preserve and strengthen your collection. Now it’s time for you to get out there and start collecting!