There are countless different coins any collector can collect. There are tons of options for US coins, world coins, ancient coins, and even currency and tokens. You need to choose what you want to collect to allow you to be the happiest collector you can be. I already did an article about this for the types of sets you can collect, but you don’t even have to go into a set, but rather, collect something that fits you that may not even be a traditional route. The following are some important things to consider before starting a collection. Even if you’ve been collecting for years, you can always change it up and collect something different.
What Interests You?
The first thing to think about is what first got you into collecting. Did you get into the same type of coins as a family member who showed you the hobby? Did you have interest in what special coins you can find in circulation? Did you find commemorative coins to be unique and cool? Whatever the case may be, something that first got you into the hobby may or may not be something you’re interested in for your collection. Even though I did say you can always start collecting something different, this is not something you should do frequently. It will cost money and lots of time to grow a set that you’re pleased with. If you decide to start a set, you should have immediate interest. Let’s say you choose to collect a set of Morgan Silver Dollars. If you decide to collect this because you think you’re interested, great! However, if you purchase the first coin for the set and you aren’t excited, that’s not the right set for you. I know I am always excited about every new coin I buy and that’s how it should be if you found the set that really interests you.
Coins Look Different
The design of every coin differs and there may be one coin or a few coins that you may find particularly appealing. Everyone’s definition of “appealing” differs. For some, it’s the perfect MS and PR-70. For others, like me, it’s the look of classic circulated coins. A lot of collectors start with one of the modern, circulated coins, particularly the Lincoln Cent collection. I think I have 8 Lincoln Cent albums, a few of them almost full. Another popular set are the National Park and State Quarters, allowing people to find the coins in circulation and all of them have a different reverse design, which allows the series to be continuously interesting. In particular, I like type sets, since every coin has a different design, which avoids boredom in your collection and peaks interest.
What’s Your Budget?
One of the biggest things that determines what you collect essentially chooses for you. That is your budget. If you’re young, you probably have a coin budget of whatever money you get for holidays or allowance. If you have a job and a career, you have a lot of stuff you have to pay for, like your house, your car, food, etc. One of the most important things is to budget properly and never spend more than you actually can on your collection. Don’t start with a goal to create a massive set of something incredibly expensive. A complete set of Trade Dollars, for example, would not be a good goal for many collectors. A complete set of Indian Head Cents, however, would be much more doable for more people. Even if you have a very low budget, you can still have a nice collection. Generally, you want to choose quantity over quality, so if you have a small collection, that’s fine! I’m actually working to downsize my collection. I have many lower end coins in my collection, but I am working on a PCGS graded type set. Each coin costs significantly more, but I’m fine if I have a smaller collection because that collection will mean more to me and each coin will be more significant. Never think that you need to constantly grow your collection. Just because you don’t buy a coin for a few months does not mean you are not a collector. It means you are saving up or looking for just the perfect coin.
Don’t think that you have to collect coins from your country. While that is generally easier, foreign coins can be incredibly entertaining and sometimes even more fun, because they are much more unique. If you find a country whose coins interest you, collect them! They may be harder to find, but the search is one of the best things about collecting. Currency is less popular than coins, but that is a different realm that you can get into. Ancient coins are another less popular realm, with many of them being surprising affordable. Ancient coins have far more history to them than any US coin.
Find what you like the collect. Don’t feel limited. There are options for everyone.