Most coin collectors will look for only a specific kind of coin that will make their collection more valuable and interesting to buyers. Others are collecting for sentimentality and are looking more at the coin’s uniqueness.
Series collectors are those looking for a series of coins that mark every year and every design change made in that coin.
Type collectors are those people who are looking to get one of each coin where there were/are changes made.
Ancient coin collectors are those people looking for coins spanning the years 650 BC – 450 AD. This is the time when coins were invented and there were silver, gold and bronze versions made. It also marks the time when Roman emperors were the rulers and most of them feature famous Roman emperors, Roman towns, or gods.
Token collectors are those who are looking for different kinds of tokens that were used in exchange for real money when there was a lack of coins. These tokens were used as local currency even if the government had not given permission for them to be used.
Coins are also graded. A coin’s grading depends on its condition and the price of the coin will rely heavily on that grade. It is important for a coin collector to know how to grade a coin to make sure that he is not swindled by individuals looking for a quick profit.
“Uncirculated” coins are those coins that are not showing any wear and tear or to referred to as “in mint condition”. A mint state (MS) grading depends on a coin’s luster, contact marks, hair lines and overall appeal. A coin can have a grade ranging from MS-60 (dull luster) to a flawless MS-70. Although MS-70 is considered unobtainable, a grade of MS-65 and higher will make a coin’s price shoot up.
Circulated coins are more forgiving, they do not take into consideration the amount of scratches and dirt a coin has gathered along the years. Grades for circulated coins will vary. AU (about “uncirculated”), EF (extremely fine), VF (very fine), F (fine), VG (very good), G (good), AG (about good), F-2 (fair) and P (poor) are used as indication of how much a coin is worth.
These grades are dependent on a circulated coin’s luster, visible wear, design elements and visibility of letters and numerals. Unlike “uncirculated” coin’s grades, these grades do not dramatically lower a coin’s value. This is wonderful for people who are looking just to complete a collection and do not care about a coin’s mint condition.
Pricing of a coin will usually be determined by a coin’s supply and demand. Very low supply and very high demand will make a coin’s price higher; however, high supplies of the coins will depreciate a coin’s value.
Demand is usually established by coin dealers where they take into consideration the number of people wanting to buy or sell the coins. Once a coin becomes difficult to find, coin dealers will usually make its price higher so that people are inclined to sell extra copies of their coins.
Grading and pricing a coin usually takes a lot of experience to master. Although there are several tips and guidelines to look for in grading a coin, only professional dealers have the final say on how much a coin is worth. It does not hurt to know this grading is done and why your coin was graded differently from what you thought.
Coin collecting is not really about investment, it should be a fun and thrilling hobby. While the overall goal of a coin collector is to complete a set of coins, learning what to look for in a coin is important to make sure that no one can take advantage of your need to complete a particular set.
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