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Your Coin Collection -
Deciding What to Collect

Each Coin Collection is as unique and diverse as the people who create them. There are literally thousands of different subjects, themes and coin types on which to base your collection.

In this section I will give you some examples to help you decide which direction you want to go with your collection.

Here are some ideas for starting a coin collection. You do not have to stick to just one method however. Don't be afraid to combine two or more of the examples below to come up with a coin collection that is right for you.

  • Collect by Country: Collect coins from your favorite country or maybe more than one country. You might decide to try to get a coin from as many different countries as you can.
  • Collect by Year: You can go about this in a couple of different ways -

    • You can try to find every coin made in a particular year for a particular country.
    • You can try to get one coin of a particular type for each year it was minted. For example, if you chose Roosevelt dimes you would try to get a dime from every year from 1946 to the present. This is a great way to go for beginners. Coin Albums are available that are specifically designed for these types of coin collections.
  • Collect by Mint Mark: Some coins are made at more than one mint in a particular year. So, if you were to combine a mint mark collection with the Year collection just above, you would be collecting three dimes for most years as Roosevelt dimes were minted in Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco.
  • (click image for larger view)
    Normal Wisconsin Quarter beside an Extra Leaf Variety
    Wisconsin Quarter Extra Leaf
  • Collect by Variety: Sometimes the coins that are released from the mint, for various reasons, are sometimes slightly different. This is usually a very small detail such as the extra tree on some of the Minnesota State Quarters or the number of leaves on the ear of corn on the Wisconsin state quarter.
  • Collect a specific president or a certain denomination. For example, you might choose to limit your collection to all pennies, or nickels, or any other denomination. Or, you might choose to collect only Kennedy Half Dollars.
  • Collect Coins from a Specific Time Period: You might also like to collect ancient coins or coins from a specific period in history, such as U.S. Colonial Coins.
  • Collect by Type or Series:
    • A Series is a set of years a coin was minted with a specific design and denomination (such as the Morgan Dollar example described here). Some other examples are U.S. State Quarters, Buffalo Nickels or Lincoln Pennies.
    • A Type Set is one of each coin of a particular design, series or period.
  • Collect by Metal: You could collect only coins made of a certain metal such as copper, silver or gold coins.
  • Collect by Theme: You could choose a particular theme for your collection, such as coins with animal, plant, flower, car, or boat designs or maybe even Olympic Commemorative Coins.
  • Collect Error Coins: Error coins are coins that were produced in the same way and on the same machinery as other coins, but they have some sort of error for some reason, such as a misalignment when the machinery was stamping or doubling of the image or missing components.
  • Collect Medals and Tokens: Another idea is to collect commemorative tokens or war medals. These 'coins' are not legal tender and have no monetary value, but they can have value as collectibles.
  • Yet another way of getting started in coin collecting is the "shotgun" method of collection where you just collect coins which specifically interest you.

Here is My Favorite Coin to Collect

I love the Morgan Dollar. It is not the only type of coin I collect, just my favorite. It will be a good example for you to get an idea about collecting a series of coins.

1891 Morgan Silver Dollar

When you collect coins in a series, you try to find one coin from every year and mint mark of a particular coin. The Morgan Dollar is one of the most collected series.

These silver dollars were minted from 1878 to 1904 and again for one more year in 1921. They are highly prized by collectors today and sought after the world over.

Morgan Dollars were minted at several mints in the United States. These mints include:

  • Blank (Philadelphia Mint in Philadelphia, PA)
  • CC (Carson City Mint in Carson City, NV)
  • D (Denver Mint in Denver, CO)
  • O (New Orleans Mint in New Orleans, LA)
  • S (San Francisco Mint in San Francisco, CA)

So, if you were to decide that you wanted to collect the Morgan Silver Dollar SeriesSeries
Set of years a coin was minted with a specific design and denomination.
, you would want to try to find one from each of the mints listed above for each year from 1878 to 1904 and the year 1921 (however, some coins may not have been minted every year at every mint).

Mintmark on Morgan Silver Dollar

(Mint marks for the Morgan Dollar are under the tail feathers of the bald eagle on the reverse or back side between the letters D and O in Dollar.)

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