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You see… most coin collectors think about the accumulation aspect of the hobby. That is, they buy, look for, or otherwise select coins to place into their coin collection.
Well, it is. But coin collectors also need to keep track of the coins they are putting into their collection!
A coin inventory (or coin log) is something that every coin collector needs to have.
Keeping track of your coins is important for these reasons:
- Knowing which coins you already have
- Knowing which coins you still need
- Determining the value of your coin collection quickly & easily
- Getting an at-a-glance look at the many coins in your collection
- Documenting your collection for coin insurance purposes
About My Coin Inventory Logs
When I first started collecting coins, I looked right away into keeping track of what I had.
After all, it was sort of fun listing all the coins I had acquired.
And on a more practical level, it was important for me to know what coins I had — so I knew which ones I needed to complete my ever-expanding coin collection.
While I didn’t put much thought into the matter at first, I soon came to realize the value of keeping a coin inventory.
A coin inventory is vital during in the event of a property emergency. For example, a theft, fire, flood, or other disaster will mean my having to know which coins I own — for insurance and recovery purposes.
Free Coin Inventory Methods
The logs I use to record my coin holdings are “manual” or hard-copy log sheets.
I discuss making your own “manual” coin logs below.
For a moment, let’s focus on the coin inventories that you can buy at coin dealers and bookstores…
Coin Inventory Books
There are several coin inventory books published, which are pre-designed to aid collectors in recording their coins.
Whitman, which produces its annual Guide Book to United States Coins (aka “The Red Book”), publishes a coin inventory log book: The Official Red Book Collector’s Inventory of United States Coins. It is a spiral-bound book which makes writing on every single page very simple!
Coin Inventory Software
Coin inventory software is another way to keep track of the coins in your collection.
Coin inventory computer programs use spreadsheets, boxes, and windows to input and save information about the coins in your collection.
One of the more prominent coin inventory software programs available is Coin Collector’s Assistant by Carlisle Development Corporation. The program has detailed information — including pricing — for several U.S. coin series. This program also allows you to insert listings for coins that are not already pre-programmed into the CD-ROM.
How To Make Your Own Coin Inventory Logs
While you could easily go buy a coin inventory log book or coin inventory software, you can also create your own coin inventory using regular notebook paper!
This is, personally, my favorite way to go. Creating a coin inventory from notebook paper allows me to adjust, add, or make changes to my inventory whenever necessary.
Whatever you do, make sure you keep at least one copy of your coin inventory in a lock box, vault, or safe-deposit box so it will always be safe and handy should you need it.
At the absolute minimum, you should include the following information for each coin you have on your coin inventory sheet:
- Year of the coin
- Mintmark on the coin
- Country of origin
It is also a good idea to include the following details, as well:
- Grade of the coin
- “Type” of coin (name of the design or series)
- Comments about any errors or “varieties” with the design
- Comments on the coin’s physical condition (such as “cleaned,” “scratched,” “bent,” etc.)
- When you acquired the coin
- What you paid for the coin
- Current value of the coin (be sure to update this periodically)
Here is an example of a good entry in a coin inventory log:
1907-S Barber Half-Dollar (USA) Good, Small Nick 3:00 Obverse. Paid $4.75 11/3/1994 Worth $14 3/6/2009
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. 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 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 authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!