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How to Organize a Coin Collection?

Published on 3/10/2021 by APMEX

Coin collecting supplies

Coin collecting is a common hobby and one you might get into after you were gifted some rare coins or received them in an estate. But if you’re new to coin collecting, it can be daunting figuring out how to organize them. A collection is a challenge to keep track of, especially for someone new to numismatics. How do you organize your coin collection?

Organizing Your Coins

The first step to organizing your coins is understanding what you have. Lay your collection out carefully and survey what’s in it. Most coins in coin collections are likely to be U.S. coins, though this is not always the case. Keep them together by size. Do not clean any coins with discoloration, no matter how bad it is — this will ruin the value of the coin.

Take a look at these coins and categorize them according to the Guide Book of United States Coins, also known as the Red Book. If you have coins that don’t fit under this classification, bring them to a qualified numismatist who can identify them for you. The Red Book should cover most coins.

Then enter them into a ledger. You can do this in a notebook if you like pen and paper, but a spreadsheet on the computer is a more effective way. Note the date, the type, mint marks, errors, personal memories and more individual identifiers for a particular coin.

Noting down all the details of your coins is not just a good step for your own records. Keeping track of purchase and sell prices will keep you up to date with the IRS. You want to have an accurate accounting of what you bought and sold your coins for. Keep your records safe and clean.

Categorizing and Storing Coins

After this step, you can consider ways to categorize these coins. There are many purpose-built albums that are available if you have many coins of a certain series. But if you want to keep your own taxonomy, you might consider your own boxes.

You’re going to want something to keep the coins safe from decay and corrosion. That means some sort of sleeves. Don’t use old sleeves if you have them unless you know where they come from and what they are made of — older sleeves can contain PVC, which will corrode coins.

Whether you go with albums or boxes, the more clear you can make your organization, the better off you’ll be. Make sure you keep your coins clearly marked and organized. Your collection will be easier for you to browse, faster for you to keep track of for your taxes, and safer for future selling.

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