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Any Tips To Help Me Start Collecting.

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New Member

United Kingdom
2 Posts
 Posted 06/30/2020  8:02 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Andy501 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi, I am new to collecting and have only really bought a few items. I am looking to start collecting more over the years ahead. I am asking for any tips or tricks to help start me off. Is there anything you wish you'd of known when you started.
Thanks for your help.
Pillar of the Community
United States
2147 Posts
 Posted 06/30/2020  8:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hfjacinto to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Well each person collects differently, what may work for me may not work for others, but I can tell you what I do.

1) Set a budget: I have a certain amount every pay period go to a hobby account. I can use this money for anything related to my hobby. So for astronomy telescopes, camera lens, speakers or coins/currency.
2) Set a Max Budget: How much are you willing to spend? That will decide also what to collect.
3) Set a minimum condition: Set a minimum condition and stick to it, for example for Indian Head cents I wanted full liberties until it hit into number 2, my Max budget so I went with a lower condition that had good visual appeal.
4) Be flexible: Let's say you are collecting Canadian Small cents and you also want to start Canadian Large Cents, if you find a few good large cents, you should get them as long as they met conditions 2 and 3.
5) Pick what you to collect: I had a list of US coins I wanted to finish but a few I decided to pass as I wouldn't complete them since I wouldn't spend that much for a coin or the coins I would buy would be in a condition I wouldn't want.
6) Plan: Make a list of what you would like to collect. Figure out costs and rarity.
7) Learn: Yes ask us, what a few videos but get some books and learn about the hobbies, you may find out that you like currency or US silvers or Canadian cents. The more you learn the less chances you'll make mistakes.

As to me, I've been collecting on and off since I was 7. I always read before I made purchases so that I learned what I was doing. We all make mistakes but don't expect to win the coin lottery finding that $1 million coin. Enjoy the hobby.
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2946 Posts
 Posted 06/30/2020  8:51 pm  Show Profile   Check silverwolf's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add silverwolf to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
my best advice to you would be search out this website for all it's worth,type in the search bar all your questions, I would be better off today had this information been available to me 30 years ago..
Bedrock of the Community
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United States
13777 Posts
 Posted 06/30/2020  9:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add T-BOP to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
To CCF , Coin collecting is an amassing hobby though a little on the expensive side if you intend to buy them in leu of finding them by CRH'ing . You have to decide what you want to collect . Errors ,varieties , classic , moderns slab or raw . First thing I always recommend to a new collector is buy The Red Book a guide to U.S. Coins , if you intend on collecting U.S. coins . Good information from this book but don't pay too much attention to their prices as they are inflated . The key to this hobby is learning as much about coins in general as you can . Then pick out a coin design and denomination that knocks your socks off , if you can afford them go for them but again read learn ,study before you make your first purchase . Most of all have fun putting together a coin collection that you will be proud of for many years to come .
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Pillar of the Community
United States
6416 Posts
 Posted 06/30/2020  10:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

First off - you already have a great are asking for advice from this forum and fellow collectors.

Since other things have been mentioned - here is one piece of advice that will likely save you money in the future:

One of the first errors to avoid is to realize that just because there are so many slabbed coins on the market that slabbing companies are not an essential part of the hobby, they most certainly do not assign THE actual grade to a coin, and they do not have a scientifically verifiable way of grading coins. In other words the grade on the slab's label is not an absolute (the companies websites will tell you grading is an art - not a scince).

A simpler way of putting it is that if you break a coin out of its slab and resubmit it, even to the exact company, there is no guarantee it will come back with the same grade.

So be smart and buy the coin, not the slab. You will be glad you did, and will likely not waste money in the long run.

Look here:

And please note I am not saying slabs are "evil." If you like them then collect them. Some people have a blast with things like registry sets. Some people like the looks of different label designs and so have fun with that.

Just do your homework to realize what you will be collecting is opinion (changeable), and inspect the coin itself instead of blindly putting faith in the ink on the label.
- When I value " being right" more than what IS right, I am then right...a fool.
- How much squash could a Sasquatch squash if a Sasquatch would squash squash?
- Prosp long and liver.
Valued Member
United Kingdom
409 Posts
 Posted 07/01/2020  03:36 am  Show Profile   Check PaddyB's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add PaddyB to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

As you are in the UK and have posted in the UK section of this forum, can I make an assumption that UK coins may be your starting point? In which case:

1. Get a good reference book. The recognised "official" book is "Coins of England and the United Kingdom" by Spink. Now in two volumes (one pre-decimal, one decimal), covers all the way back to the Iron age in sufficient detail to get started. Copies from earlier years can often be picked up very cheaply. OR, if you want up to date and cheaper, and your focus is more modern, get the Coin Yearbook.
2. Resist the temptation to buy anything and everything that comes your way until you know a bit more. However, a good way to get experience and enjoyment cheaply is to look for bulk lots from local auction houses or carboot sales.
3. Use Ebay - but mostly as a guide to start with. You can search for any coin on there, and probably find many for sale at vastly different prices. Click on the "Sold" button to see what they actually make rather than what some hopeful thinks he can get for it. If you see something that you believe is rare at a cheap price, assume it is a fake until proved otherwise.
4. As you get going, sort out what it is about coins that gets you excited and work out what sort of collection you want to make. Buy storage appropriately - if you are staying in the cheap and bulk, then the albums from WH Smiths are a great basis. Don't bother with expensive rings, cabinets and trays if you are only putting cheap coins in them.
5. Graded and slabbed coins are not as big a thing here in the UK as they are in the US. You will find few on the market, and those that are are very pricey. Getting coins slabbed is expensive and long-winded here, so even if you are inclined to that, only bother with top coins initially.
6. Once they are open, get along to the bigger antiques fairs and coin fairs - great fun exploring and you can learn a lot from the dealers and fellow collectors.
7. Don't believe in the hype from the unofficial, non Royal Mint, coin producers that advertise in the press all the time. The vast majority of the commemorative coinage produced by these over the last 40 years is worth scrap metal only on the resale market. Even commemoratives produced by The Royal Mint are really only worth face value most of the time. Anything made to be collectable almost certainly isn't!

I could go on, but that is a good starting list!
Edited by PaddyB
07/01/2020 03:40 am
Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
678 Posts
 Posted 07/01/2020  06:21 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Anaximander to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Welcome to the forum. I find this a great place to learn.

If you buy coins from ebay there are some things to be aware of. There are some great sellers and some excellent deals. But there are also wolves who just want to fleece you. You probably know this already but here are a few thoughts when buying. Some of these caught me out when I started.

Check what is actually offered for sale. Are the photos "stock" from catalogues, or of the actual item? If it is not an actual photo of the offered item, why not? You will want to see both sides and maybe the edge as well. Be wary of sales where what you see is not what you buy. It might be ok if there is a good reason, eg you are buying a random one of a seres of numbered banknotes.

Dont automatically believe what the seller says. Look it up for yourself. Some will claim an item is rare to push a sale, when in fact the item is common.

Sometimes sellers will (deliberately?) misuse coin jargon. Eg occasionally I see modern-made copper crown-like "coins" labelled "proof" and "pattern", with dates and designs harking back to George III and similar. They are not patterns or proofs at all. They are modern fantasy pieces given imposing labels.

Lots of things listed on ebay as modern UK error coins are not - they are just normal variations, or faked for ebay.

Sometimes sellers will over grade a coin. Decide on the grade yourself.

If a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is. It might just be somebody who does not know what they have, or who wants a quick sale, but more likely is you're not getting what you think.

I now generally buy from sellers with a lot of feedback with % in the high 90's. With these people I am not disappointed. When I step outside that I do so as a gamble, being prepared to lose money and put it down as experience bought.

Slowly build up a library of useful reference books. Some will be quite expensive, but will be well worth it in the long run. Once you have an idea of what to collect, you could ask what others on this forum recommend.

I hope the hobby brings you a great deal of pleasure. It has for me.
Valued Member
United Kingdom
383 Posts
 Posted 07/01/2020  06:49 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add zookeeperz to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
1. First $ 200 for any new collector should be spent on reference books. Trust me it will pay back it's worth 10 fold

2. Stick to silver it is far less problematic. Although the more expensive option over Copper and Bronze

3 early on I would if I went back and did it all over again start with slabs(I know I know) but purely because as you build knowledge you can spot pitfalls . Early on you are at the mercy of the wolves. At least with a slab it is almost exactly as it says on the tin. No nasty shocks to greet you well for the most part.

4 Never ever buy from dark, badly lit,blurred or distant pictures used in the auctions they are like that for a reason. Something nasty lurks behind them.

5. On every purchase ask the seller questions . Has the coin been cleaned,polished,dipped or altered in any way. As your eyes are only 50% of the critique. If they answer "the coin is to their knowledge untouched other than by age" that is a another + sign . If the answer is "Not since it has been in my possession"Move on as it tells you more than not saying yes.

6. Choose the coin you wish to collect then go and look up past auctions and sales from as many places as you can this will give you the range of prices from low to high depending on grade . This will over time make you more comfortable with the budget you have. If you are buying a coin in a slab treat it the same as if it wasn't in one. The plastic case doesn't make the coin suddenly become worth 2 or 3 times as much as one not slabbed. Shame most sellers do not realise this fact.
Having said that slabbed coins will always out perform raw coins as the uncertainties are already answered.But as has been already been said. Buy the coin not the coffin.

7. Enjoy this great hobby. If you cross the T's and dot the i's it is a fun and very rewarding pastime
Bedrock of the Community
17159 Posts
 Posted 07/01/2020  07:49 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Depends on yopur budget.
I started by collecting coins taken from circulation.
There is a huge variety of British commemorative coins out there. Get the best example of each and every design you can from circulation at face value.

Read some good books on the history of British coinage.
That may help you decide in a particular area of British coins that may catch your interest.

I found Pre Roman Celtic coinage fascinating, and I have a few examples in all metals.
I also have a complete type set of English / British shillings Charles 11 to Elizabeth 11, and an almost complete type set of SILVER florins of Great Britain and her Commonwealth member countries, 1848 - 1964.
Those sorts of collections can take 20 or more years to complete, and even longer for me.
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United States
88708 Posts
New Member
United Kingdom
2 Posts
 Posted 07/01/2020  4:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Andy501 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks everyone for the tips. I'm looking at buying the guide books ASAP. I've started my collection with relatively new silver proof coins that have a low mintage between 2500 and 4000. They are nice looking coins but not entirely sure if the value will increase. Maybe a mistake but we all learn. I really do appritiate the help guys. Thanks
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United States
1628 Posts
 Posted 07/01/2020  6:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bump111 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

My advice learned during my tenure at the school of hard knocks:

1. Find something that speaks to you - specialize in a particular area that you find interesting.
2. Read more than you shop - become very familiar with your collecting niche.
3. Don't buy the first one that comes along - be very picky about the items you add to your collection.
4. If it starts becoming a chore, take a break for a while. Refocus often.

A small collection of top-shelf items is much more enjoyable than a big pile of whatever! Have fun!
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United Kingdom
2382 Posts
 Posted 07/02/2020  10:48 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bacchus2 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
UK collectors are spoilt for choice. There's an incredibly rich local history to delve through - Pre Roman, Roman, Medieval, (the pennies alone will keep you entertained for ages - and don't even mention the continental imitations), first ever milled coins, etc. Then you have the commonwealth connections and everything associated with them. There's Maundy coins and mountains of tokens to choose from. When first starting I had always considered tokens to be a kind of poor mans coin - and by association the poor mans collecting field - but this was completely wrong.

The only common thread for all collectors is that they collect what really interests them.

The buying the book before buying the coin is good advice, but not really practical from a psychological perspective - people will impulse buy and it may be that impulse that starts them on the journey. I suspect nearly everyone only goes looking for advice etc AFTER they have a few coins in their possession and messing around with a few low value coins won't harm anyone - budget wise. Spending large amounts is different - for that you really do want to know everything before buying.
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