How to Start a Coin Collection – part 2

charlie_imageSo on Monday, I talked about how to start a coin collection, but today I’m going to get more into the specifics. I’ll give more insight in the why you should buy rated coins, numismatic raters, storage of coins, and show ya a few pictures from my own collection. Again, I don’t claim to be an expert by no means, but am merely sharing what I’ve learned over the last few years, and things that might help you.

Should I purchasing rated coins? 


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After first dabbling in coin collecting, by buying the lower graded coins, I decided to venture out and look at buying my first rated coins. In not knowing where to start, I went right to the two main numismatic rating company’s price guides. I’ve relied heavily on Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).  These two coin rating companies update their price guides daily, and are the closest to real time price updating that you’ll get.

In my experience, I researched these sites a lot before I ever thought of buying my first rated coin. I wanted to understand the different ratings and what each one meant. If  I was going to start spending more money on the nicer coins, then I needed to know I wasn’t getting ripped off. Also I’d highly recommend researching what defines each rating, and why. Here is a great list of how to rate coins, and what each rating really means.coin collection

List of Numismatic Raters

Storage of Coins

Storage of your new valuable possessions is extremely important. If you are storing rated coins, then NGC and PCGS produce great storage boxes. Check out Google Products for PCGS Storage Boxes and NGC Storage Boxes to find the best deal. Also consider buying individual sleeves for unrated coins to continue to protect these treasures too. Once you’ve got the container figured out, then consider how you are going to secure your coin investments.

Bank security deposit boxes are a great option to keep your coins in a secure, fireproof, and “off-site” location. Typically, these boxes start at about $25/year and up, but it all depends on the size. Second option is a safe in your home. Having a safe at your home comes with more risk, and I wouldn’t recommend any small safes (ones that you can just picked up and walked out of your home with). Consider buying either an extremely large safe or one that can be locked down securely. Also make sure that your safe is fireproof, and pay particular attention to what resistance your safe protects you against (flood, fire, or other act of God). In general, I’m not a huge fan of the Wal-mart safes, because these are cheaper, smaller, and can be easily walked out of your house with.

PCGS News Channel

Finally, as you are getting started in your collection, I’d recommend finding as much about coins as possible and a good starting point is the PCGS Weekly coins updates channel on YouTube. Below, is this week’s status update, and be sure to subscribe to continue to follow them. They have a lot of information on what coin shows are coming up, and what are happening with coin prices.

So on Monday the comments on my previous article were a little on the low side, so I’m going to spice up today’s post! If you post a comment, subscribe to our twitter feed, or subscribe to our e-mail list (3 chances to win), then you’ll be entered to win a pre-1900 Morgan Dollar. I’ll mail you one from my personal collection. If you retweet our post on twitter, then you’ll be entered 5 times. So be sure to enter and your chance to win ends at 8pm on Thursday – 6/13/13).

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12 comments

  1. carolyn says:

    I am also very thrifty-I enjoy all your articles and really thought about the coin collections. I save silver dimes -need to get more involved, Thanks for info!

  2. Carlton says:

    I am a coin collector as well and love it! I would also highly suggest cointalk.com or numissociety.com as forums where you can find friendly collectors, great posts on the numismatic field, and lots of opportunities to learn more about the hobby.

  3. Any idea what causes price changes in collectable coins? I imagine going rates for silver, gold, etc. might have some effect. I imagine rarity doesn’t change too much, but demand could.

  4. Brian Parks says:

    I actually started a coin collection at the beginning of the year by getting some old foreign coins from my dad. I decided that I wanted to look through circulated coins for rare ones so I sometimes hit the bank or just ask for coin rolls as cash back at the store. It’s a good hobby for me as it helps me focus and sit in a chair rather than on the couch!

  5. Charlie Robbins says:

    Hi Charlie,
    Nice piece in the coin collecting. I too have done a little dabbling in the coin collecting area. There are two ways of collecting, one for rarity and connected added value and one for safety from dollar devaluation/teotwawki. I am from the latter camp. We are about to enter an extremely dire time due to what our politicians and the federal reserve system have done to the dollar. I recommend looking into this claim, you will find no shortage of info on this conspiracy to rob us of our earnings. Anyone who is saving in dollars does so at their peril. Buy silver, turn it all into physical metal, take possession and hide it well. Here are a few links my broker sent me. You may have to copy and paste them, sorry. There are tons of youtubes also. Try looking into how money is created by your bank, It’s a license to steal!!
    If you are unaware of these outrageous claims, your world is about to change.

  6. Charlie says:

    @Laurie, carolyn – thanks for the kind comments! Keep reading!

    @Carlton – I’ll be sure to check out both those sites! Thanks! Always looking for new sources.

    @Ruser – love the question!!!!! Price changes are due to a multitude of factors. Primarily (and obviously), it’s changes in what people are willing to pay. So PCGS and NGC monitor auctions both online and at shows to deteremine what people are paying for certain coins. Based on these sales, then they’ll adjust the prices. Other factors are inflation/deflation and also the flight to safety in uncertain times. Does that help?

    @Charlie – thanks for reading! I’ve never heard of teotwawki, but am familiar with devaluation of the dollar. I call it QE. I think it is health to have a portion of your savings/retirement in silver and gold, but probably no more than 10% of your total assets. You never know what will happen in any market, and it’s never advisable to have too large of a % in one asset class. However, I do invest in coins to help protect my money that is invested in money markets. Thanks for commenting, and be sure to keep reading!

    @Kevin – thanks for commenting! What type of coins did your uncle collect? Do you or other readers find “old” coin collectors are continuing to collect coins today? You ever ask them why?

    Readers be sure to keep the comments coming! Still time to enter the drawing for the Morgan Dollar.

  7. That does help, thanks! I was looking at the Price Changes page on the PCGS site and was surprised to see such dramatic changes on some coins. If I’m reading the charts correctly, it looks like one coin jumped +160% over 3 months. Crazy!

  8. Andy says:

    Great article. I would really love to see an article on investing in precious metals as well.

    Thanks for all the great work you guys do!

  9. Valerie says:

    Storing coins in a safe deposit box is a safer option than at your home. One thing that I’ve found out is that the contents of your SDB are not insured by the bank or the FDIC. There is one company called Safe Deposit Box Insurance Coverage (SDBIC) that insures the contents of your SDB. This is a good option to better safeguard your coin collections.

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