How do I become a Professional Coin Collector?
Collecting coins simply for their artistic and esthetic value is a hobby with a very long history. The first systematic collectors were mentioned in Mesopotamia and in the ancient Roman Empire. Since then coin collecting has become more and more popular all over the world.
Professional coin collectors do not simply randomly gather all the coins they find around. There are numerous types of coins around and real collectors usually choose a central theme or display interest in a certain category of coins.
If you are interested in becoming an advanced coin collector the first thing to do would be to define a clear direction for your future collection. Some people collect coins minted in only one country. Others collect coins based on specific subjects: animals, sport events, heraldic symbols and so on. Some collectors are interested in coins of exotic shapes while others collect only one denomination (for example they look for coins with denomination one: 1 dollar, 1 cent, 1 pound, etc.). As you can see there are numerous possibilities for directing your collection. Focusing your collection in one or two directions will help you manage acquisitions and can be more rewarding than randomly collecting.
Once you have decided to collect a certain category of coins you must learn how to correctly evaluate the grade (the quality) of a coin. This will be of great use when buying or exchanging coins because you will be able to competently judge the value of a coin based on its condition. There are multiple free resource on the internet that describe the process of grading a coin based on its condition.
The fun part in coin collecting is adding new pieces to your collection. This can be done in multiple ways. Visit your local flea markets or antique shops and look for the coins you are interested in. Usually at flea markets you can find the cheapest coins. Join a coin collecting club if you can find one. This will open the possibility of exchanging coins directly with other coin collectors.
Let's not forget the internet. You can find anything on the internet including coins for sale and coins to swap. There are plenty of specialized websites selling coins for collectors. There are also many online communities of collectors and usually this is a good place for swapping pieces with other people.
One very important aspect of coin collecting is proper storage of your coins. Coins may be fragile and their quality and look may be deteriorated in time if not kept in good conditions.
Humidity is one of the biggest threats for coins. When humidity is too high metals from the coin's composition may react chemically. Changes in temperature are to be avoided too. Probably most coins are damaged because of improper handling. On the surface our hands there are deposits of fats and acids and touching a coin directly with the fingers may transfer some of these chemicals on the coin surface. In time, this incorrect handling will result in irreversible coin damage due to chemical reactions. So, it is recommended not to touch the coins with bare hands. Instead, use cotton gloves or at least surgical gloves which are cheap and can be easily procured.
Coins should be stored in specially designed holders, cases or albums. These are easily found at specialized shops. They are specially designed to ensure coin integrity and protection. Never keep coins together in a jar or a box! This way coins get scratched due to rubbing against other coins and chemical damaged is easily passed from one coin to another. After arranging the coin collection in the chosen storing system, make sure it is stored in a good location, not too humid and without extreme temperatures (cold or hot). As a general rule, if the environment feels comfortable for a person it should also be fine for a coin collection.
It is a good idea to keep a record of your coin collection. As it increases you will find it more and more difficult to keep track of your coins if no record is kept. The easiest way to do is to create a basic database using simple software like Microsoft Excel or similar. Update this database on a regular basis, every time you add or remove a new coin from your collection.
The above are only basic guidelines for collecting coin. Coin collecting is a life-long hobby and new things are learned all the time. Practicing this hobby you will develop your skills and knowledge, and this combined with a good collecting practice will ensure a long-lasting, valuable collection that will be enjoyed for a lifetime.
Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )