Collecting rare coins is one of the most challenging hobbies out there. Yet, it’s also one of the most fulfilling. In many cases, coin buyers spend a lot to purchase all kinds of rare coins, from error coins such as the Kansas quarters bearing the statement ‘In God We Rust’ to the 1794 Flowing Hair dollars that are worth USD$10 million. The rarer the collectible, the higher the satisfaction one may get from acquiring it.
If you’re interested in buying rare coins, you may want to look into some of the considerations you should make before your journey as a collector begins. Doing so would help you narrow down your options and determine which features to check. Keep reading to learn more about the factors you have to take into account prior to purchasing any rare coin.
- Reliability Of The Dealer
Generally, you could buy rare coins anywhere. But if you’re looking for authentic ones, the choices available to you might be rather limited. Fortunately, the coin industry has started to implement standardized coin appraisals. This way, you can check whether your coin dealers are selling authentic rarities.
Government-approved appraisals would help you in identifying coin shops you can trust. For platforms offering coins for sale online, you could read customer feedback about their items by joining currency collecting communities.
A coin’s value typically depends on its rarity, but it also functions similarly to investments. At times, some coins may have higher value because of the limited number in circulation. The next thing you know, their prices have dropped significantly because of a sudden increase in their availability in the rare coin market. Meanwhile, the historical importance of a coin would add a lot of value to it.
Before you pay for a coin, it’s advisable to do some research in order to be more familiar with it. A dependable coin dealer could also help you in this matter. Information from legitimate sellers are usually complete and factual, so the expensive coins they have are more likely worth buying. Typically, they also follow industry coin grading standards. However, the final price of a coin is, in most cases, a result of an agreement in which both parties involved are happy.
Apart from the coin’s value and your possible sources, you may need to consider certain qualities of rare coins. Here are some of the characteristics that can define a particular coin’s grade:
A coin will likely have an industry-grade price if it has precise details and is free from deep scratches. The more blemishes it has, the lower the value it has. Nonetheless, some scarce coins remain costly despite their poor condition due to their low availability.
- Type Of Metal
The material used to manufacture the coin also affects its overall quality. In many cases, gold coins are more expensive than platinum and silver when it comes to ancient coins. However, those cheaper options are more durable.
For nickels, quarters, and other contemporary types, such as Morgan dollars, the grade and percentage of gold, silver, and other metals in them play a role in determining their price.
- Mint Marks
These refer to the letters or inscriptions indicating when a rare coin was produced. If these are readable and unaltered, the coin is considered to be in good condition.
- Eye Appeal
This has to do with the aesthetic quality of coins that’s influenced by the mint mark quality, their luster, and their general appearance.
- Types Of Storage
Of course, if you’re going to collect rare coins, you have to know how to store them in a way that would best preserve their current condition. You need to go for a cool and dry option. Keep in mind that the type of storage will affect the coin’s toning, discoloration, and dirt buildup in the long run, so you should choose among the following well:
These are durable and airtight coin holders that can store rare coins. Often, each slab can contain only one coin. Many coin collectors use slabs for their most prized collections, such as bullion coins. However, you may need to buy additional bigger storage that could collectively store these holders.
- Coin Albums
Coin albums are one of the most preferred coin storage solutions because they can display both sides of the coin. That way, all the details can be clearly seen and appreciated. These albums have mylar slides that secure the coins in place but could leave a mark on the rarities when pressed, so you need to be careful in inserting and getting the coins out.
These are the cheapest option and are primarily used in storing low-value coins. Only one side of the coin is visible, so the hidden side typically experiences toning. In addition, these have no locks or safety bags that could secure the coins in place, the items may fall out.
2×2’s are single-use, cellophane-covered square cardboard holders for your coins. However, these have to be stapled to keep their contents safe. Also, the coins could have scratches when removed improperly.
This item got its name from its first version that measured two by two inches. Today, bigger versions of the product are circulating in the market.
These look like 2×2’s but have see-through plastic instead of cardboard and cellophane. They’re commonly used during the transport of coins but not for long-term use as their PVC component may result in your coins getting damaged and toned.
- Cleaning And Maintenance
Here’s the thing: the current condition of rare coins is often part of their appeal, so there’s no need to clean most of them, especially if you want to retain their value. Also, if you choose the right storage option, you won’t have to worry too much about their maintenance.
However, perhaps you’ve acquired a coin that’s so dirty you can barely see the details on it. In that case, turn to a coin expert before you decide to clean it. This way, you’ll know whether it’s safe to carry out the task or leave the item as is. If you’ve been told that you can clean the coin, follow the expert’s instructions to a T. Common substances you might be advised to use are distilled water, dish soap, and white vinegar.
Now that you know some of the things to consider before buying your first rare coin, you need to think about your budget and the kind of collection you want to have. Are you going for expensive, ancient coins? Or are you going to settle with rare but more available types found online or in coin shops near you? Whatever your preferences may be, see to it that you purchase from a reliable dealer to acquire the best rare coins you can be proud of for years or even decades to come.