Coin Collecting A Fun And Rewarding Hobby
Collecting coins is a hobby that can be enjoyed by anyone of any age. A lot of coin collectors started as children, with the help of their parents or grandparents collecting pennies or dimes. For some coin collecting can become a lifetime hobby.
There are various reasons to collect coins. Some people collect coins from a specific period of time, some collect coins based on perceived future value, some collect coins based on type of metal, some for historical value. Some people happily collect more common everyday coins, going through their pockets at the end of the day for them is fun, checking dates and mintmarks on their change. Some collectors can spend thousands of dollars on rare silver and gold coins from the 1800's and early 1900's. Some collect coins from different countries.
With any new hobby comes the learning. As coin collecting is a hobby involving an outlay of money for coins from the start, it's best to join a group to get help from experienced collectors. You will need someone to buy the coins from, and it can be difficult to find a reputable coin dealer. Someone who has been coin collecting for years can help you choose a knowledgeable and honest coin dealer. You'll need to learn about the value of different coins. This can be done by following what coins are being sold for, and what dealers are paying for coins. You will need to be shown how to assess the true value of a coin which can be based on many factors such as age, mintmark, and condition.
The mintmark of the coin can usually be found near the date and on newer coins the mintmarks are as follows: "P" Philadelphia, "D" Denver, "S" San Francisco,"W" West Point New York. Older coins may show the following mintmarks: "C" Charlotte North Carolina, "CC" Carson City Nevada, "D" Dahlonega Georgia, "O" New Orleans. It's interesting to note that from 1793 to 1838 the only mint in operation in the US was in Philadelphia and coins from these years have no mintmark.
As you become a more experienced coin collector your "eye" will mature and you'll be looking more closely at details like the lettering on a coin, making sure the letters are still clear and not worn down. You'll pay attention to the general condition of a coin, and you may stray away from coins that have a lot of obvious wear and tear. These are a part of grading a coin. You'll learn to look for minting errors which can make a coin quite collectible. For example a three legged buffalo instead of a four legged one, or perhaps an off-centered image.
As with any hobby, the more you learn about coin collecting the more you'll be able to enjoy it.
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