What Types of Coins are Good for Beginning Collectors?
Many who are just getting started in coin collecting ask themselves that very question. Here are some tried and true suggestions for beginners who would like to build a nice coin collection.
Many people start off collecting the Wheat Penny. This is the longest-running coin series in United States history. Lincoln Cents were first minted back in 1909 for the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. Although the design has changed several times, the coins have been continuously minted since 1909. A complete collection of Lincoln Cents from 1909 to date numbers about 300 different coins. This is a great starting point as many coins are relatively inexpensive in circulated grades.
Another great series to collect is the Morgan Silver Dollar. These coins have great appeal and are some of the most collected coins worldwide. And why not! They are big, heavy Silver coins, weighing .7734 oz with a 38.1 mm diameter, and were minted between 1878 and 1921. While many are very accessible even for beginners, there are a few expensive coins in this collection – 1889-CC, 1893-S, 1895 – that would set you back thousands of dollars for even low-grade examples. Morgans were minted in Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Carson City and Denver. It can become a lifelong passion to continually upgrade the Silver Dollars in your collection, but that is why Morgans are so popular!
Many collectors state that one problem with collecting Lincoln Cents or collecting Morgan Dollars is that all of the coins look exactly alike. Book after book, row after row of the same portraits. While many collectors are not bothered by that, some find it boring to open a book of coins where every coin looks like the other.
To remedy that potential boredom problem, some collectors turn to U. S. Classic Commemoratives. There are 50 basic types of coins, which include quarter, half dollar and dollar coins, and every design is different. All coins were minted between 1892 and 1954 and all are Silver. Commemorative coins were minted to celebrate some great events (400th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage to the New World) to some nearly unknown events (the 1924 tercentenary of the Huguenot-Walloons). In the pantheon of coin designers, some of the most famous names – Fraser, Morgan, De Francisci, Sinnock, Barber and Aitken – have designed commemorative coins.
For those with more time and a larger wallet, collecting these Classic Commemorative Coins from every mint and year they were issued would be a great adventure. To accomplish that, a collector has to assemble a 144-piece set. It is certainly a challenge but not an insurmountable one, as these coins are readily available and some are valued today at historically low prices.
Whatever you decide to collect let me pass along one piece of sage advice. Buy what YOU like! You will enjoy owning and collecting these coins if you like their designs and history. Do not chase what is popular in today’s market – buy what interests you!