Coin Collecting Guides Tips

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What am I getting when I buy a proof mint set?

Collecting Proof Mint Sets

Proof mint sets can be an excellent addition to your coin collection. If you're not familiar with proof mint sets, this breakdown will help you understand what you'd be getting. A proof coin uses a special process to create a mirrored finish background or field. The relief or image may have some frosted portions. A proof coin is designed specifically for coin collectors. You won't find proof coins for circulation nor will you typically find them at face value.

   
What are some common terms used for coin collecting?

Your Coin Collecting Guide To Coin Lingo

If you're getting into coin collecting, you'll need a coin collecting guide to help you with the basics and you'll find it all here. Check out our coin collecting guide to coin lingo so you'll know the essentials:

Bullion – A bullion is a platinum, gold, or silver bar. Bullions also include other shapes such as coins and ingots.

Commemorative coin – A commemorative coin honors a person, place or event.

Coin Grade – Coin grade refers to the amount of wear a coin receives from being in circulation.

Mint Mark – A mint mark is a small letter inscription identifying the US mint where a coin comes from.

Numismatics – Numismatics covers the study and collection of all monetary related items, such as coins, tokens, bills, and medals.

Uncirculated coin – An uncirculated coin may describe its manufacturing process, may refer to the quality of its grade, or may mean it is a coin not used for monetary exchange.

   
What organizations will provide me with good information on coin collecting?

Five Good Sources For Coin Collecting Information

If you're looking for some good sources of information to gain some numismatic knowledge, we've got the resources for you to check out here. Whether you're looking for publications, professional organizations, or grading and authentication services, this list of five good sources will get you the coin collecting know-how you're looking for.

Coin Dealer Newsletter – Operating out of Torrance, California, the Coin Dealer Newsletter offers a number of different publications depending on your particular area of interest.

The American Numismatic Association – This non-profit organization has educational programs and a museum (virtual and online) for the coin collecting enthusiast.

Professional Numismatists Guild, Inc. – The Professional Numismatists Guild, Inc. is a non-profit organization that maintains a high set of standards for its coin dealers. They also are an excellent resource for articles and research on coin collecting.

Society for U.S. Commemorative Coins – The Society for U.S. Commemorative coins is an organization for coin collectors with an interest in U.S. commemorative coins. Membership gives you the opportunity to gather at national coin shows and participate in educational programs.

Numismatic Guarantee Corporation of America – This organization provides third party grading services for rare coins. They have an active chat board which allows exchange of information regarding coin collecting.

   
Is there a risk in buying coins online?

Four Pitfalls To Buying Coins Online

Buying coins online can be a tempting prospect for the budding coin collector. It's convenient, you're competing on the open market, and there isn't a middleman. However, buying coins online do present some dangers to the unknowing buyer. Here are four pitfalls to buying coins online.

1. There is a lack of regulations for some online auction places. For example, the biggest online auction source for buying coins online is eBay. Unfortunately, there has been little regulation for coin dealers online despite complaints about transactions.
2. Although it seems like a good place to find a bargain, online auction places are notorious for selling coins at high reserve prices.
3. The coins offered online aren't necessarily the best quality. Coin dealers do not use online auction places to sell their best quality pieces.
4. Online auction places are a dumping ground for coins not graded by a third party certification service, so you'll be lacking an important safeguard if you purchase one of these coins.

   
Can you tell me about the different parts of a coin?

Decipher the Anatomy Of Coins

Ever wondered what you call all the parts of different coins? This reference will help you decipher the terms you need to identify what the parts are in various coins.

Edge – Coins have an outer border encompassing it which may be plain, lettered, or decorated.
Rim – Not to be confused with the edge, a coin's rim is raised on both sides to protect the design from wear and tear.
Relief – The relief in coins is the raised area, often depicting various imagery.
Field – The field is the flat part of a coin which does not have any inscription or image.

   
How does one determine coin values?

Your Guide To Assessing Coin Values

There are several factors which come into play when determining coin values. To find out what goes into assessing coin values, read this handy guide:

Identification – When identifying a coin, you'll want to know what country it came from, whether it has a mint mark, and what the face value is.

Authenticity – An unethical seller might create counterfeit coins in order to sell to an unknowing collector. If in doubt, you may want to consult with an expert authority to determine the authenticity of coin values in question.

Coin Grade – A coin's grade refers to its overall condition. Factors affecting coin grade include the amount of wear, absence of dings, and sharpness of details.

Damage and Cleaning – Most coin collectors prefer obtaining a coin that is not tampered or cleaned in any way. Once a party polishes, drills, or otherwise alters a coin, its value changes.

   
How can I tell if I should avoid making a coin purchase?

Four Ways To Avoid An Unscrupulous Coin Purchase

In the world of coin collecting, you're bound to come across a situation where you're not sure if you should walk away from a coin purchase or not. If you want to avoid making an unscrupulous coin purchase, read on.

1. You've heard it before, but if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Searching for that perfect bargain while you're coin collecting might let your emotions get the best of you, but coins selling far below market value are often either scams or an error in printing.
2. Don't fall for a guarantee of a performance percentage. You might find an unscrupulous ad guaranteeing you a performance percentage of 25 percent a year. Although it is a grey area, most leaders in the coin collecting industry agree the Securities Exchange Commission finds a guarantee of a performance percentage to be illegal.
3. If you conduct a transaction with a coin dealer who knowingly omits a major error in a coin, it's safe to say you should not deal with that coin dealer again. A dealer who offers a refund or recourse for an error should be considered an ethical dealer.
4. A coin dealer offering a coin for sale that isn't in stock is actually a common practice and shouldn't concern you. The coin dealer is often in the process of locating the coin for you. However, if a coin dealer lists five different grades of the same type of coin, but only has one and tries to pass off the same coin to you when you return and decide to upgrade, you should seek a refund and a new coin dealer.

   
Is there a safe way to buy coins at online auctions?

How To Use Online Auctions

Although online auctions are not the most ideal place to make your coin purchase, it can be a viable option for you to find what you're looking for if you take a few precautionary measures. If you do decide to buy your coins through online auctions, keep the following advice in mind.

  • Conduct your transactions with reputable dealers, such as members of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG). If you're conducting your transactions on eBay, avoid dealers with numerous negative feedback.
  • Don't expect to get a good deal for your coin purchase. Many of the coins offered online have reserves at or above the actual fair market value of the coin.
  • Do not expect to get a coin at premium quality online. Dealers may decide to sell coins online which are spotty and of low quality.
  • Read the terms of the sale before you bid. Sometimes there are hidden fees in the fine print and you don't want to get stuck paying more for a coin purchase than you thought you were going to pay.

   
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