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Doing Research for Coin Collecting

Research for coin collecting is a very important aspect of the hobby. Without it you would not be able to identify and ascertain the value of a coin or coins you have in your possession or any that you may consider adding to your collection.

The first piece of research for coin collecting is to identify the coin. This is usually easy to do.

Most coins, especially US coins, are clearly marked with the information you will need, such as: What country issued the coin? When was it issued? What is the face value? Does it have a mint mark? Was there more than one design used that year, if so which one is it?

If your coin is in a language that is foreign to you, your research may take a little more digging. Typing the wording from the coins into a search engine such as google should get you started.

Most of the other information that you will need to know when doing your research for coin collecting can be found right here on this site.

Research for Coin Collecting Available on This Site

One of the most important areas of research for coin collecting is determining the grade or condition of the coin. You have to know the grade of a coin before you can determine a value for it. Site Build It!

Follow the links in the Grading Coins section of the site to learn how to grade your coins.

In that section you will learn about the coin grading services, the coin grading scale, and how coins are graded. It will take some time to fully understand and become good at grading coins, but it is important for you to know how to find the value of the coins you collect.

When doing your research for coin collecting, you will also need to identify where a coin was minted. This can be achieved by identifying the Mint Mark on coins. Follow the links in this section to learn what mint marks are and where to locate them on United States coins.

You will also want to learn what affects a coin's value, how to care for your coins, and what supplies and accessories you will need in your new hobby.

And don't forget to take a look at the coin collecting terminology and Coin Terms - Anatomy of a Coin. You need to learn the coin terms in these two sections so you will know what coin dealers and other collectors are talking about when they use words like strikeStriking
This refers to the process by which a coin is minted. It could also refer to the sharpness of design details. For example, a sharp or strong strike will show all of the details struck very sharply, but a weak strike will show details lightly.
, toningToning
This is a natural discoloration of a coin's surface caused by the atmosphere over a long period of time. Toning can be very attractive. Some collectors prefer to collect coins with this feature.
, body bagBody Bag
If a coin is sent to a Third Party Grading Service and they determine that it has such a significant problem that they will not encapsulate the coin, the coin is returned to the collector/dealer in a plastic polyvinyl bag. This bag has come to be known by the slang term body bag.
, muleMule
This is a coin that was struck from two dies not intended to be used together. For example, it would have the front (obverse) of one denomination and the back (reverse) of another denomination. These are very rare.
or slabslab coin holdersCoin slabs are hard plastic, tamper-proof cases, that are sonically sealed and hold a coin which has been graded and certified by a third-party grading service..

Here are a few more resources that will help you in your research for coin collecting.

  • Trade Papers: There are several weekly and monthly magazines and trade papers that cater to coin collectors. They will keep you up to date on the latest coin news and information including price guides, general coin information and in-depth articles. A couple of good ones are Coin World and Numismatic News. Read more about them here.........
  • Numismatic Reference Books: NumismaticNumismatics
    The scientific study of currency and its history in all its varied forms.

    A specialist in numismatics. A person who collects numismatic items, especially coins.
    reference books have been published that cover every aspect of coin collecting. As a beginner, when you are just getting started in coin collecting, a coffee table book that shows full color pictures of a variety of coins might be a good choice. When you have decided what type of coins you are interest in, you can then find a book that has more detail about date, mint and pricing. See more about Coin Collecting Books here......
  • Price Guides: Price guides list coins and their values for varying degrees of condition. For beginners, the yearly book - A Guide Book of United States Coins, also known as the Red Book - is probably a good choice. Once you begin to buy and sell coins on a regular basis, you might want to consider subscribing to a weekly or monthly periodical that will give more current prices.
  • Grading Guides: Grading guides are a must for serious collectors. Without knowing the grade of a coin, it is impossible to know its value. My favorite, and one I would recommend for someone just getting started in coin collecting is Photograde. With Photograde you just match your coin to the photograph that best fits your coin's condition to find the grade of that coin.

    Note: Coin grades will vary slightly from one guide to another. Although we now have a standardized scale for grading coins in the United States, it is still open to human interpretation. Therefore, different collectors or dealers may have a slight differing of opinion on grades.

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