Beginner Coin Collecting Tips: Basic Items Every Coin Collector Needs

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If you’re reading this, you may be thinking about getting into collecting coins. That’s great!

Coin collecting is not only a hobby… it’s an investment. Every coin that you add to your collection will only gain value over the years.

Coin folders are one of the first coin collecting items you will want to buy.

So, what tools and supplies do you need to start collecting?

3 Must-Have Coin Collecting Items

#1 – For starters, you’ll want a magnifying tool. This will be just about every collector’s best friend.

magnifying-glass-for-coin-collectors.jpgI learned this the hard way back when I first started collecting coins…

I was going through big pile of old wheat cents from the teens. All were extremely circulated and had a lot of wear to them. I found myself squinting my eyes at every one of them, trying to read the dates and mint marks while holding them up at different angles in the light to see if that would help.

Needless to say, I had a coin magnifier by the end of the week!

2008-official-red-book-coin-price-guide.jpg#2 – Next, you need a price guide.

I prefer the Red Book which has colored detailed pictures and good info. However, the Blackbook has some good info also and is half the price.

Both can be picked up at your local coin shop or at an online store.

#3 – You’ll also want to protect your coins from further wear or scratches. Depending on what you’re collecting, they make all sorts of protective sleeves and holders.coin-folders-for-collecting-coins.jpg

If you’re just wanting to start a lower grade collection of cents or nickels, I would suggest using coin folders. Folders have individual dated slots to place the corresponding coin in. Whitman makes folders for just about every type of coin that was ever minted — from buffalo nickels to gold dollars.

plastic-coin-holder-mylar-flip.jpgIf you have just a few random coins that you’re not going to make a set out of, you’ll want to get some coin flips. They are single coin holders that have an opening for 1 coin and an opening for a label that you’ve written on. If you want to go a little bit cheaper and do a little more work, they sell individual cardboard coin holders that have see through plastic centers so you can see the coin. These are less expensive, but you have to staple the 4 sides to keep the coin secure.a-coin-tube-for-collecting-storing-coins.gif

Coin tubes are also good for storing coins. If you have several hundred wheat pennies, they make hard plastic coin tubes that hold 50 pennies each. They make coin tubes for all denominations of coins.

Well, those are really the only “basic” items you’ll need to start collecting coins.

TIP: If you can’t find an item you’re looking for at the Whitman site, try Valley Coin. It’s a small company with a large inventory. I’ve dealt with them a few times — they’re very nice people and ship the items fast.

Other Coin Collecting Items You Might Want To Consider

cotton coin glovesIf you get into more serious about collecting coins or have high-grade coins, then you’ll want to have special gloves — because human skin has oils and dirt that can be harmful to coins. A thin pair of cotton gloves are best.

You’d also want some kind of felt cloth (or other non-abrasive cloth) to lay your coins on while examining them. If you have a higher grade coin, you don’t just want to throw it on the table!

A Word Of Advice About Cleaning Coins

The last thing I want to mention…

If you are new to coin collecting, then you might be thinking about “cleaning” your coins.

Never clean your coins! Here’s why.

Yes, some of your coins are going to look dull and dingy, but cleaning coins reduces the value to a collector. And yes, they will be able to tell.

All that being said, you’ll just need to do one more thing to be a good collector: Have fun!

Here’s another longtime coin collector’s list: 5 Cheap Coin Supplies You Need & Where To Find Them

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9 thoughts on “Beginner Coin Collecting Tips: Basic Items Every Coin Collector Needs”

  1. i have a 1937 buffalo head nickel that appears to be missing a hoof…can you tell me with or without hoof what the worth of the coin would be…we’ve been getting very different information in our coin book as opposed to the internet. thank you for taking the time to answer our question. have a great day!

    • Hi, Carman —

      The reason you’re probably getting different answers is because while there IS a very rare 1937-D 3-legged Buffalo nickel worth $500 or more, it’s also very common to find parts of many coins missing due to uneven wear, debris that got in the way of the coin striking process, and other things.

      Let’s start at the mintmark… is there a tiny ‘D’ under the word ‘FIVE CENTS’ on the back of the coin? If there is, it may be an expensive coin. If there’s no mintmark, then we’re probably talking about a common mistake on your coin or probably just wear.

      Do there appear to be 4 legs, just not 4 hooves? Or are there just 3 legs?

      Please let us know what you see and we’ll go from there!


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