Must-Knows of Coin Collecting

As a coin collector, there are many things questions you must consider. Coin collecting can be fun and financially important, but it can also be intimidating because there is so much to know. Below are some important questions that are pertinent to coin collectors.

Why Do People Collect Coins?

There are many reasons people collect coins. Each coin tells a different story. Some collectors see coins also as an investment with the hopes the collection appreciates in value. Others collect because they want to own a specific set of coins. There are many reasons people collect coins today. Collecting coins, however, often helps you gain a better understanding of the past. It is a hobby that has been practiced by every walk of life.

What is Numismatics?

Numismatics is the term for collecting coins, or coin collecting. It can go beyond that however, with collecting and studying paper currency, and even tokens. You might hear coin collectors be referred to as numismatists. Numismatics goes a bit beyond casual collecting, in that a numismatist will also be interested in every aspect of historical information about an item or series.

What is a Mintmark?

A mintmark is a small letter that identifies where the coin was minted. For example, a “W” identifies that the West Point Mint produced the coin. It is important to note that some countries use a symbol as opposed to a letter. There will be instances of U.S. coins that do not have a mintmark, which is an indication that it was likely produced by the Philadelphia Mint. You may also find coins from around the world that do not carry a mintmark. This is up to each individual mint.

Do I Have to Know In-Depth History In Order to Collect Coins?

You can study the history of a coin, collecting, Precious Metals or bullion all you like but collecting does not require you to be an expert in history. Collectors have different motivations for collecting and they are not all the same. Some collectors prefer ancient and rare coins, which requires an extended history lesson. Some collect 50 States Quarters, while others only collect coins minted before 1964. The sky is the limit when it comes to collecting, but at the very least, a cursory knowledge of the coins you collect is wise so you know what you are looking for when purchasing.

What Are Some Examples of Coins I Can Collect?

The sky is the limit when it comes to collecting coins. There are hundreds, maybe even thousandsm of choices for coin collecting. Some examples of popular collector coins are the 50 States Quarters, Silver American Eagles, Gold Maple Leafs, Morgan Silver Dollars, Gold Double Eagles, Draped Bust Coins and Chinese Panda Coins.

What Does AU and BU Mean?

AU, otherwise known as Almost Uncirculated, refers to a circulating coin (meaning one that was once used as currency) that shows very little signs of circulation. Any spots of wear generally only apply to the highest points of the design. Despite having a small amount of wear or discoloration, AU coins still have tremendous value. BU stands for Brilliant Uncirculated, which describes a coin in new condition. The BU grade means the uncirculated coin maintains much, if not all, of its luster and beauty.

Should I Collect Coins that are not Precious Metals?

There is still much value in collecting coins that are not strictly Gold, Silver, Platinum or Palladium. There are rare pennies, rare nickels, rare dimes and rare quarters that are not strictly made from Silver, but are valuable instead because of their place in history. The designs are something worth noting as well, being an important part of the value of the coin in many instances. Never write off a non-Precious Metal item simply for the fact that it lacks Precious Metal content.

What is the Difference Between Bullion and Coin?

Bullion is a generic term for products or items that are made of Precious Metals. Usually, the term bullion is used to reference bars or rounds but these products also include coins, bullets and in some cases, jewelry. A coin is a type of bullion product that carries a face value in whichever country it was produced.

Where Can I Buy Coins?

You can buy collector coins and bullion from a trusted retailer like APMEX. There are other places like pawn shops where you can buy coins and bullion, but you cannot always trust the quality or have the same assurance the bullion is authentic. At APMEX, we provide a unique quality assurance test of every product before shipping to you.


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