7 Key Things to Know About Starting a Coin Collection


Starting a coin collection is a fun and potentially lucrative hobby. Some coins can sell for millions of dollars if you know what you’re looking for.

In fact, a 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar sold for $10 million in 2013!

So, where do you start? Do you pick out a few cool looking quarters from your wallet or do you invest in something more interesting?

Here are a few key things to consider when you’re first starting a collection.

1. Understand Why You’re Starting a Coin Collection

People start coin collections for many reasons. Sometimes, it’s because they want an easy way to start any kind of collection. Others want to continue on a friend or family member’s legacy.

If you’re hoping to make money with your coins, you’ll need to look for specific ones to improve the value of your collection. Think about what’s driving you to start collecting and use that to guide your research and future purchases.

Ultimately, the reason is personal, but the more you understand it, the better off you’ll be. 

2. Pick a Theme

Once you understand why you’re collecting coins in the first place, you need to figure out which coins to collect. Remember, it’s not in your best interest to just collect as many coins as you can. You want a unified theme to make your collection stand out.

What types of coins draw your eye? Some people like traditional coins from the U.S. Mint.

Others choose to collect challenge coins as a way to show off a cause or organization that means a lot to them. What is a challenge coin exactly? It’s a coin issued by an organization and given to its members or supporters.

They’re fun, unique, and valuable if you collect the right ones.

Regardless of the type of coin you’re interested in, it’ll be easier to narrow down your choices if you have a theme in place. This will keep you from falling into the beginner’s trap of amassing too many coins and helps you focus on ones that add value.

3. You Don’t Have to Invest Tons of Money

When you’re first starting to build your collection, try not to focus exclusively on the coins that seem the most valuable. It’s always best to take your time and build your collection based on the coins you like rather than what the industry deems the most valuable.

Start small. Buy coins that appeal to you and learn everything you can about your theme. As you develop your knowledge base and become an expert in your theme, you’ll be able to expand your buying options.

Remember, the last thing you want to do is spend too much on a coin just because you’re in a hurry to build your collection. Collecting is about the journey just as much as it’s about the coins themselves. Save your money and build it slowly as your expertise increases.

4. Know How to Care for the Coins

Coins may seem like a low-maintenance collectible, but they still need regular TLC. The way you store and care for your coins will largely depend on the type of coins you’re collecting.

As a general rule, keep the coins in a cool and dry environment. This will help prevent damage and keeps them looking great for years to come. Dedicated coin cases and display books are great options.

If you’re handling the coins, make sure your hands are clean and hold them around the edges rather than on the face. The less your skin comes into contact with the coin, the less they’ll tarnish and fade.

5. Network with Other Collectors

There are tons of other coin collectors out there and many of those collectors focus on different themes. Try to find others in your area and network with them.

This will give you a wonderful social group to interact with and gives you resources to better expand your collection. You’ll be able to share your knowledge and draw off of each other’s resources to make sure you’re making the right purchases.

Collectors help each other out. When one person in your network stumbles across a coin you might find interesting, they can let you know. If you find a coin someone in your area would love, you can give them the details.

6. Always Stick to Your Budget

Once you get into coin collecting, you’ll find that there are options at almost every price point. The more valuable a coin is, the more it will cost to buy.

The best thing you can do is set a firm budget when you’re starting out.

Figure out how much money you’re willing to invest in your collection. It doesn’t have to be much. You can start with just a few dollars if you choose to collect the right type of coin.

Once you have that number in mind, stick to it. Don’t blow past it, especially at first. Remember, there’s no guarantee that you’ll enjoy collecting coins in the long-run.

If you do decide to stick with it, you can always re-evaluate your budget and increase it as needed.

7. Be Willing to Sell… Eventually

If you’re like most new collectors, the thought of selling anything once you get a hold of it seems like an impossibility. After all, you’ve gone to the trouble to track down coins you like. Why would you part with them?

As your collection grows, you’ll find yourself increasingly willing to sell certain items from your collection. It helps free up money to invest in more valuable or more desirable coins.

Research your collection as it grows and find out what each one is worth. If you have more valuable coins, consider getting them graded so you’ll be able to get more for them.

Starting a Coin Collection Is Fun

Collecting is a great way to pursue your passions. If you’re thinking about starting a coin collection, keep these key facts in mind as you build it.

Remember, it’s okay to take your time and build your collection slowly. Just make sure you focus on the coins you love rather than investing in coins that you think will offer the best return in the future.

Looking for more tips on building a successful collection? Check out our most recent posts for more inspiration.




  1. It makes sense that you should hold a coin by its edges when handling it in order to minimize damages caused by tarnish. My son and I would like to start collecting coins this summer, and I would like to give him a gold coin for his birthday that he can display in his room. I’ll be sure to teach him how to handle coins before I buy one for him.

  2. I’m glad that you talked about how I should focus on coins that I like to collect instead of trying to find coins that are really valuable in this field. My grandfather encouraged me to collect coins when I was younger and I think it’s time to heed his advice. I’ll try to look for types that I love to see first before looking for rare coin dealers around our area.

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