Are you new to coin collecting? This fascinating and lucrative hobby can be your ticket to a fun, new world or even a second income stream. But you first need to know what to collect and how to spend your money. How can you determine what is a good buy, what's not a good buy, and what is a real bargain (rather than a faux bargain)?
Take a look at three key factors that make one coin collectible and another not so much.
As with most collectible objects, coins become more expensive and more desired when fewer of them exist. One of the most valuable U.S. coins, the 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar, was issued in a batch of about 2,000 coins - whereas pennies were issued in a batch nearly six times larger one year later.
Add in natural loss of coins over the centuries, and this coin's rarity is almost unmatched - and therefore, its value is also in the clouds.
In addition to coins that were simply struck in low quantities, errors are also a rarity that will boost some values. Errors come in many forms and types. They include misspellings, missing elements, double or missing printing, coins struck together, and proofing errors. Usually, very few of any particular coin suffer an error, so they often fetch high prices - and they make fun conversation pieces.
The artistry of a coin often matters to collectors in different ways. Some coins are valued due to the actual artwork on them as well as the condition of the strike that makes the artwork.
For example, the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens created the iconic gold Double Eagle coin that is considered a beautiful must-have for many collectors. Iconic imagery of the nation's culture or its history - like the beloved Buffalo Nickel or Indian Head penny - appeal to coin collectors and history buffs.
Even modern collectors like the artistic expression in the recent U.S. state quarters collection or different depictions of Queen Elizabeth II on coins issued throughout her reign.
Artistry isn't always limited to famous imagery. It can be more ethereal and harder to define, often coming down to, "how does the coin appeal to me?" The answer will be different for everyone. But as a coin collector, you will be in the best place to judge for yourself as your collection and experience grows.
The ultimate determination of what is or is not valuable and collectible is the market demand for it. Unfortunately, demand rises and falls, so it's an imperfect science. A number of things can affect the market, including metal values, the entry of new collectors into the pool, and even public interest. The best way to keep up is through publications and online numismatic groups.
A few modern trends are reliable at the moment. One is the desire for complete sets - complete sets of anything, really. Another is the rise in interest in modern coins. Both of these can provide excellent and inexpensive entry points for new collectors who aren't ready to jump into older, rarer (and more expensive) coins.
By focusing on these three key elements that add value to collectible coins, you can build a solid collection even on a limited budget and without a lot of experience. You will know what to look for and what to skip.
At Gardena Jewelry & Loan Company, our inventory of coins is always changing so you're sure to find new and intriguing additions for any collector. Visit our pawn shop today to learn more about starting your collection.