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How to start and benefit from the hobby of coin collection?
Coin collection or study of coins (numismatics) can be very rewarding hobby. This articles tips the beginners about how to start the hobby of coin collection, how to take care of coin collection, how to clean the coins and also how can you earn money from this hobby of coin collection. This article also educates about different types of coins and collectors.
All of us save money for future. Many of us would remember putting a coin daily into piggybanks in our childhood. For little children, it's just a shiny piece of round metal that all the elders value the most. So, for children, it's more than thought of 'saving for economic meltdown', it's just a sweet feeling that we have got a huge, jingling collection of something precious. How about sticking to this habit of coin collection even when you have grown up? In fact, there are many such people in this world who are enjoying coin collection at their leisure and some have even gone further to make a decent profession out of it. Coin collection or numismatics is a hobby which is easy to start with minimum investment. So, collecting coins would help you kill free time as well as return monetary gains.
How to start coin collection as hobby?
Before starting a hobby for collection of articles, you must develop a collector's eye. You need to study about different types of coins. Not every coin is worthy for collection; you must be able to separate out the rare and precious coins from the rest.
- Check out all the coins you have at home, you will notice that there are few coins very different from other coins. These coins have different design patterns, they are minted to commemorate special events and very small quantities of such coins is minted.
- Ask elders at home or neighbourhood, elders tend to have coins representing the golden past. Older folk might have few old pennies at their disposal which are currently out of circulation. Older the coin, more its value.
- Have a cousin or uncle or any relative/ friend returning from foreign country? What better gift than a foreign coin can he/she bring for a budding coin collector?
- If you are ready to shell out some bucks, you can buy collection of coins at hobby shops or search for coin traders/ sellers online on internet.
- After you start enjoying the hobby of coin collection, you will find yourself peeping at coins in cash counters at shops, hotels and other merchant establishments, who knows, you might discover some rare coin! If you do find something interesting, you can politely request the person in charge for the coins. So, the key is you don't need to dig earth or burgle at a museum to start your collection of rare coins, just be watchful and soon you will be rewarded.
What are different types of coin collectors?
After you have learnt how to start your own coin collection, decide what type of coin collector you want to be. The following types of coin collectors exist:
- Casual coin collector Already have a coin from your recent foreign journey in your pocket which you show off to your kids and friends? Are you reluctant spending that special shinning new coin from your wallet? Then you probably are a casual coin collector. You will occasionally come across some coins different from others and just keep them aside.
- Novice collector: You graduate to the level of novice collector once the coin collector's bug affects your mind. Casual coins don't amuse you anymore you try buying coins at hobby shops or join local coin collectors club. Your enthusiasm grows with each new coin being added to your collection.
- Generalists collectors: You want to have coins from all periods in history or your collection doesnt have coins of specific region instead they have few coins from different nations, then you probably are a Generalist coin collector.
- Specialist collectors: You notice that almost all coins you got in your collection are from Mughal era or you are more biased towards only Indian coins, then you are on your way to be a Specialist coin collector. Specialist collectors are keen on collecting coins belonging to only particular domain. Every year, few coins are unknowingly induced with error while minting. Collecting such erred coins fascinates many a specialist coin collectors.
- Completist collectors: After you become a specialist collector of particular category of coins, you feel like you need to have every coin of that category; your collection is incomplete even without a single coin that was ever minted in that category. Congratulations, you have reached a rare collector level of Completist collector.
Different types of coins you can collect as a hobby :
Once you have decided that you want to follow coin collection as a serious hobby then next step is studying waht are the different types of coins which can adorn your collection. You can concentrate on collecting one or more types of coins from following:
- Year coin collection: Some eminent collectors concentrate on collecting coins only from specific period in history. This can be years in recent history or ancient history. The coins from ancient history are difficult to obtain. You can even start collecting all different coins in different denominations from past couple of years, which are easy to retrieve. These value of these coins will grow with time and make your collection precious.
- Country coin collection: There are two major categories of country wise coin collectors: one who collect coins of their own nation or others who strive to have coins from one or more foreign countries. If you are a beginner it's easier to start with your own national currency.
- Shape or type coin collection: Some coin collectors are obsessed with coins of specific shapes or size. For instance, there are many coin collectors who collect only non-circular coins or some collect coins with holes. Collecting coins of a particular type requires lot of perseverance.
- Mint mark collection: Usually the coins are marked with a mint mark which helps identify the mint where coin originated in case any problem occurs regarding them. Some collectors pursue coin collection as hobby by collecting such mint marked coins.
- Coin composition collection: The metals or material that make up a coin interests lot of coin collectors. Some coin collectors enthusiastically collect only bimetallic coins or only single metal coins like aluminium, gold, copper, etc. An old and very rare aluminium coin can be more valuable than a commonly available recent gold coin.
- Printed denomination coins: You can collect coins of different designs but having only a particular printed value. For eg. an Indian coin of Rs.2 is available in couple of shapes, multiple designs, different metals; you can try to collect all such different coins of similar value.
- Volume coin collection or coin hoarding: Collecting coins in large volume resembles the approach most of us adopted in childhood, collecting as many coins as we could in our modest piggybanks! However, this collection is on much larger scale and printed value of coins does not matter, all that matter is number. Volume collectors aim to collect very high number of coins as possible.
- Specific subject coin collection: Some collectors look to collect coins bearing symbols or pictures of specific subjects. For eg. Collecting coins having representations of animals on them.
Coin collection as a hobby is very rewarding irrespective of type of coins you choose to collect!
How to determine value of coin in the hobby of coin collection?
A good coin collector must learn to value a coin. Following are the factors which you must consider for evaluating a coin:
- Demand for the coin: Coin collection is growing in popularity as a hobby. Many coin collectors are looking to invest in rare valuable coins. Most of these rare coins are out of circulation long back and so procuring them has become very tough. Owing to this rising demand, some coins have more value than others. You must research and keep yourself updated about current trends in coin collection which helps you realize about the demand of some coins you might already possess.
- Condition of the coin: Every collector desires to have coins in best possible condition. Better the coin condition, more the value. A coin can be graded based on its condition in following categories:
- Good condition coin: If the imprint on both the faces of a coin are legible and surface of coin does not bear any abrasive marks then the coin is said to be in good condition. Good condition coins are generally in circulation coins.
- Very good condition coin: If a coin appears intact on both faces, mint mark, year and other designs completely visible, and also free of any chemical marks, the coin is said to be in 'very good condition'. A very good coin is not out of circulation but it is rarely circulated. Such coins are preserved with care such that no two coins are in contact with each other.
- Uncirculated coin: Coins can be acquired even before they are circulated in general public by procuring them fresh out of mint. These un-circulated coins are available at higher price than actual denominations. Various mints issue advertisements in newspapers or other media for sale of few such coins. These coins are obviously of highest quality and in best of condition.
As a beginner, with minimum investment you can collect coins in good condition and on some lucky days might also come across a very good coin!
- Mintage of coins: The value of coin also depends upon the mint where coin originated. Coins from some mints are minted in limited quantity for a particular year and this makes them special. Such specially minted coins have high value.
- Value of coin metal: Metals used in composition of coins are a major influencing factor for determining value of coin. Some historic coins are made up of precious metals like gold or silver. Price and value of such coins is directly proportional to market price of gold or silver at given instant. Also, some coins made up of metals like copper, bronze which are out of circulation long back are valued propositions. Recently coins are also being made out of alloys or two different metals whose value might increment in future.
Whatever be the economic value of your coin collection, they will always be priceless for an ardent coin collector!
How to take care of your coins while collecting coins as hobby?
Now that you have known how to collect coins and how to determine their worth, the next big and important question is how to protect your coin collection. Coins need to be stored properly and also cleaned regularly.
How to store your coin collection safely? Most of the coins are made up of corrosive metals and are affected by number of factors like humidity in air, temperature of the surroundings, air pollution, use of chlorine or acidic substances for cleansing purposes or simply improper techniques of handling coins. The presence of these affecting factors demand following considerations while storing coin collection:
- Select proper coin holder or album: One of the major reasons for coin degradation is coins rubbing against each other when stored together in a container or jar. There are many catalogues or albums available for hobbyists with all budgets, for storing coins securely. Keeping coins in these specially designed coin holders or albums allow collectors to show off their coin collections to others while avoiding damage due to handling. Also, coins can be categorized in different parts of albums for easy retrieval.
- Mind the location of your coin collection: As coins are easily affected by surrounding environment, the place where you keep your coin collection assumes much importance. Avoid keeping your coin collection in a store-room in basement where it is likely to be affected by dust or bitter cold. Also, avoid storing your coin collection where there are possibilities of water leakage due to rain or other factors. Storing your coins in the kitchen where they can be exposed to high temperatures and gases or liquids, is not suggested either. Instead, your living room or bedroom, where optimal temperatures and absence of corrosive liquids can be ensured are good places to keep your coin collection.
- Safe deposit box: Apart from exposure to regular harmful substances, valuable coin collection also needs to be protected from manmade factors like theft or fire. If your collection includes gold/ silver coins or rare coins then you need to invest in a good safe deposit box. Modern safe deposit boxes have internal temperature and moisture control along with burglar alarms. Or, if owing a safe burns a big hole in your pocket, you can choose to store your coin collection in a bank safe deposit locker which is available at small annual fees.
- Keep away from wood: Many of us have furniture and cabinets at home made up of wood polished with chemicals and fixed using adhesives. These adhesives, paints and wooden varnishes contain chemicals which might react with coin metals. So, it is always advisable to store your coin collection in metal box or safe deposit lockers.
How to clean coins from coin collection? Coins are made up of reactive metals and your attempt to clean them using incompatible chemicals can result in damage to coins. Coins made up of different metals need different types of cleaning methods as follows:
- Silver coins: Silver coins can be gently rubbed with a tooth brush and a solution of soap water and then dried off with soft towel or a piece of cloth.
- Copper and bronze coins: Copper and bronze coins can also be cleaned with a tooth brush. Before rubbing with tooth brush, Copper and Bronze coins can also be immersed in diluted Tamarind or lemon solution. Another method is immersing these coins one by one in any edible oil and then gently rubbing off with tooth brush. Coins can be dried by gentle patting of soft towel on their surface rather than vigorous rubbing.
- Other coins: Coins of other metals can be cleaned in regular soap solution in warm water. On coin at a time should be dipped in lukewarm soap water solution and rubbed gently using your fingers. Before cleaning coins, ensure that your fingers are very clean. Never dry the coins by rubbing them with rough towel, instead gently pat them using soft cloth until they dry. If you store away even slightly wet coins, they can corrode when in contact with air.
How to earn money from the hobby of coin collection?
The hobby of coin collection is very efficient utilization of your spare time. It lets you indulge in something creative rather than wasting your valuable time. But what if your hobby of coin collection would earn you money? You can earn money from coin collection hobby in following ways:
- Sell your rare coins to local coin dealers: Local hobby shops and coin dealers are always looking out for rare and good condition coins. You can fulfil their demands for such unique coins and earn handsome cash too!
- Write a blog or an article on internet about your coin collection hobby and make money from advertisements on your successful blog!
- Put up your coin collection for an online auction: You can use online auctions sites like ebay which also deal in collectibles.
The hobby of coin collection can be practised successfully within the confines of your home with the roaming for collecting the coins being reduced greatly due to advent of internet, speed posts and couriers. But, those who are in love of outdoor hobbies definitely need to consider trekking as a hobby which involves much interaction with nature!
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