Coin collecting can be a fun hobby and if you happen to own some rare old currency, it can be a profitable one as well. If you’re just getting started in the world of coin collecting, or if you’re looking to buy supplies for an acquaintance already involved in it, there are some useful terms and concepts in the field you should know before you shop.
Loupe – A tiny magnifying glass used to determine the grade and value of a coin. It can also be used by other types of professionals, such as jewelers and photographers.
Scale – A device used to calculate the precise weight of a coin. Note that a "scale" can also refer to a point system used to appraise the value of rare coins.
Album – Books specially designed to hold and display valued collections, such as antique or commemorative coins; they are often made to show both the front and rear of each coin.
Starter Kit – A basic set of coins and supplies that dealers sell to novice collectors.
Coin Holder – Seen in a variety of plastic and cardboard designs, they are intended to protect coins from wear and damage.
Coin Cleaner – A chemical solution used on dirty or tarnished coins, potentially increasing their sale value. Because of the variety of coins circulating in the world—gold, silver, copper, and brass—dealers often have a large supply of different cleaners.
Mint – A coin of the highest possible grade is said to be in mint condition. A “mint” is also the name for a facility that manufactures coins.
Collecting coins is an old hobby. Coin collecting is a fun and enlightening kind of hobby to start, and best of all, anyone can do it. Coin dealers are collectors who search out valuable coins to deal to buyers. As a business, dealers will shop for currency lots—a bundled purchase consisting of several pieces—to build up a supply. Collectors who sell rare or old money are havens for these salesmen, who look for special pieces to bring to trade shows. While some dealers are salesmen, others are merely collectors looking for high-graded pieces. Either way, a good deal of money can be made with coins.
Dealers may buy any type of coin while others are particular. Some only want old pieces while others will want to buy commemorative coins. Others may only buy supplies of gold and silver to boost their precious metals portfolio. In any of these circumstances, coin dealers will target the best albums which appraise for the highest value. Books of rare finds from all over the world make for valuable supplies. Currency in mint-condition or sold in kits go for higher values. The older and rarer the coin, the more attractive it is to a savvy dealer.
To become a dealer yourself, you must first be holder of a vast currency collection. Most dealers start off with supplies of hundreds of coins, which is sweetened if you already have some very rare items. Visit an antique shop for an appraisal to find out their market value in advance. Conventions specializing in collecting are popular, so be sure to search online for any local shows which may be held in your area.
Coin collecting may never fall out of fashion, and not only is it fun to do, but unlike trading cards or other trends, supplies will increase in value with age.