Tip of the Month - Coin Collecting
Find an honest coin dealer - When you first start collecting it is important to find a reputable and honest coin dealer you can trust. Ask around for a personal referral for a dealer that will follow industry standard code of ethics. A good coin dealer can also appraise your collection when you're ready to sell your coins providing you with an accurate price.
Learn about grading - Grading is a skill mastered by coin dealers. It's a system of determining the state of preservation and wear of a coin. For most circulated coins, the primary focus of grading is on how much wear the coin has seen and what damage it has suffered for example dings, dents and scrapes. Grading consists of a 70-point scale, with an abbreviation for an adjective appended for clarity. For example: VF means "Very Fine," EF means "Extremely Fine" and MS refers to "Mint State." Uncirculated coins are always referred to as Mint State on the grading scale.
Protect your collection - One of the easiest and cheapest ways to protect your coin collection is by using cardboard folders. These folders have circular holes cut into them that fit the coin exactly and hold it firmly in place. Underneath the hole is generally a date or description of that particular coin. This will help to keep you organized as you begin to assemble a complete set of coins. You can also purchase plastic covers to protect coins. However, over time the plastic can adhere to the surface of the coin and potentially damage it.
Coin collecting supplies - As an aspiring coin collector, there are certain supplies that you will need in order to begin your collection process. For starters, you need a magnifier to help see your coins better. Search for a magnifier with a magnification power between 2X and 3X. It's also important to have some reading material. Every coin collector should have two books: A Guidebook of United States Coins also known as the Red Book and provides standard pricing of all U.S. coins. And The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards of United States Coins which has a detailed description of every U.S. coin and how grade is determined.