Five Principles To Help Beginning Coin Collectors Better Enjoy Their Collection And Maintain Its Value

Coin collecting is one of the most popular of hobbies, with hundreds of thousands of active collectors in the United States. Coin collecting offers individuals not only an enjoyable pastime but also an opportunity to financially invest for the long term.

There are very few "rules" to coin collecting, but there are some basic guidelines that will make collecting a much more enjoyable activity. Beginners aren't always aware of these guidelines, and they may miss out on enjoyment or devalue their investment in coins as a result.

Below are several principles that will help beginning coin collectors gain more satisfaction with the hobby and help maintain the value of their collections.

Never Clean Any Collectible Coins

Coins are often the dirtiest objects around, especially if you take time to look at them closely. However, the cardinal rule concerning the cleaning of collectible coins is simple: don't do it. No matter what you may think of a collectible coin's appearance, the simple act of cleaning it can destroy an irreplaceable aspect of a coin, the patina.

The patina of a coin is its finish, and this is something that emerges after many years of circulation or storage. It is valued by collectors, and any kind of cleaning will strip away the patina.

Not only that, but cleaning can also scratch collectible coins or even remove fine details. A shiny silver dollar may look beautiful to the untrained eye, but it can be a devastating attack on the coin's value.

If you are tempted to clean your coins, then lock them away for a while until the feeling passes. You will be glad you did.

Handle Coins with Gloves

Another important rule for coin collectors to follow is to avoid touching collectible coins with their bare hands. Your hands contain a number of oils that can stain uncirculated coins and alter their appearance.

That is why collectors should wear cotton gloves when handling coins. These gloves will prevent oils from transferring from your fingers and are inexpensive enough to toss out after wearing a few times.

Do Not Remove Coins from Slabs

A coin slab is a permanently sealed, plastic container that encapsulates a collectible coin. A slabbed coin also is graded, as indicated by data on the front of the coin, and this helps standardize the condition of the coin. Slabbed coins provide consistency in the collectible coin market and make it easier to buy or sell without fears of being "taken".

As such, opening the case will negate all of the advantages of owning a slabbed coin. Cracking the case will place into doubt the coin's grade and remove its protective cover. Keeping the coin in a slab is the best way to protect its reputation and value, for the remainder of its stay in your collection.

To learn more about coin grading, click here.

Avoid Buying Coins from Television

If you have watched infomercials late at night or spent much time viewing home shopping channels, then you probably have seen all kinds of coin promotions. Some of them may promise big financial rewards or make other claims.

While some of these coins may be interesting or even offer some value, it is more likely you will way overspend and end up with an overpriced coin. Instead, seek out established, reputable coin dealers when looking for new purchases. They can provide realistic, insightful information about possible coin purchases and help you add coins to your collection that meet your own personal goals.

Don't Collect Purely for Investment Purposes

Though coin collecting can be a part of your overall investment portfolio, it is important to keep in mind that coin values, as well as the price of precious metals, have fluctuated over the years.

By all means, buy coins in the hope their value appreciates; there are few other hobbies that offer such an advantage. However, collect coins mostly because it's fun and because of the satisfaction it brings. You will be happier whenever you look at your collection and enjoy it for what it represents, a slice of irreplaceable history.