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Stamps didn't appeal, too much glue. Baseball cards? Too hard to clean off the chewing gum. But ah...coins don't have a downside, and they appreciate in value. Still, you're just starting out, and don't know a half-dollar from a palladium bullion United States Coin. Some hints to help you learn about coins:
* Like the '60s song says, you better shop around. Is there a coin store in your area? Your local bookstore usually has a section on hobbies and collecting. The Official Blackbook Price Guide to U.S. Coins 2005, 43rd Edition (Official Blackbook Price Guide to United States Coins) is a great reference guide.
* Find out if those US coins Grandpa left you are circulated (lots of wear and tear) or uncirculated (in mint condition). This can affect the collectibility of your collectible coin. Even if your circulated United States coin has dings and signs that Grandpa handled the money, it can still be valuable, depending on the grade. The grade is the condition of the coin, and among both circulated and uncirculated world and US coins there are different grades that appraisers can use to tell you what your coin is worth.
* If the talk of circulated, uncirculated and grades has you thinking of collecting leaves or thimbles, don't worry. There are several excellent glossaries on the Internet and guidebooks. Learn the language of the collectible coin.
Besides, leaves attract bugs, stamps dry out, baseball cards remind you too much of the glory days before Senate hearings, but coins, like diamonds, are forever.