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Every coin collector, early on in his or her ventures in the hobby, eventually gets to the point where they need to start investing a little money in coin collecting supplies to enjoy the pastime to its fullest.
When I was 11 years old and first started collecting coins, buying supplies was not initially on the top of my to-do list.
But before long, I began setting aside a little bit of my coin collecting budget for items that would become important in my numismatic ventures.
Here is my list of the top 5 most important coin collecting supplies:
#1 – Coin Price Guide
One of the first coin collecting supplies I ever bought as a kid was a coin price guide. The 1992 Edmund’s Coin Price Guide book was my first exposure to obsolete type coins, coin grading information, and mintage figures. Today, I recommend buying A Guide Book of United States Coins (also known as The Red Book), which has been an annual publication since 1947 and is truly a coin collector’s bible, thanks to its multitude of information for U.S. coins dating back to the 1600s.
#2 – Coin Folders
If you are going to collect coins, you’re going to need a safe place to keep them. Coin folders are an inexpensive form of protection for coins, and they’re particularly suitable for circulated common-date coins. Whether you’re collecting Lincoln cents, Jefferson nickels, Mercury dimes, or another 20th century coin series, you’ll quickly find that putting your coins in folders is an inexpensive and efficient way to keep your coins organized.
#3 – Coin Tubes
If you have a bunch of coins – say, Lincoln wheat cents – that you don’t really care to put into coin albums (maybe they are all duplicates, for example), then you might want to put them in coin tubes. Coin tubes are the rigid, plastic equivalent of the paper coin wrappers you can get at banks and office supply store. Coin tubes are easy to stack, and they’re ideal for coin collectors who need to safely store a lot of coins in the tightest space possible. What’s more, coin tubes are among the least expensive coin collecting supplies.
#4 – Coin Flips
If you want an inexpensive means for storing coins individually (as opposed to putting them into coin tubes), then coin flips are the way to go. They are clear, plastic pouches. One pouch is designed for holding a coin, and the other is where you may place a coin identification card. Coin flips are one of those coin collecting supplies that you’ll want to have plenty of on hand. Just be sure to avoid those that contain damaging PVC — those types are very soft and pliable. The best part: coin flips usually cost less than 20 cents apiece.
#5 – Magnifying Glass
Last but certainly not least on my list of top coin collecting supplies is the almighty magnifying glass. It’s a tool that will become your best friend in the hobby. A good magnifying glass will allow you to inspect tiny details on your coins, help you with coin grading, and aid in the overall enjoyment of viewing the coins in your collection. I recommend buying a coin loupe with at least 5X magnification. (I prefer 10X to gain the best view of your coins.) Eventually, you might want to invest in acoin microscope.
My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I'm also the editor at CDN Publishing (a trusted source for the price of U.S. rare coins), editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I've contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I've also authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins — and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!