The world of coin collecting is so diverse and varied; it is a hobby that can last a lifetime. There is a mountain of information to help you get started and keep you interested in collecting coins for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, it is also easy to get lost in this vast amount of information. Focus on these top ten coin collecting resources, and you can’t go wrong.
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The Red Book
The ultimate guide book to collecting United States coins is "A Guide Book of United States Coins" authored by R. S. Yeoman and edited by Jeff Garrett. Whitman Publishing published the first edition in November 1946 with the cover date of 1947. Originally, it was only published in hardcover with a distinctive red color. Because of its popularity, it quickly became known as “The Red Book.”
You can purchase the book in a variety of formats, including hardcover, spiral-bound, paperback, large print, hidden spiral-bound, and e-book. This catalog is over 400 pages long and includes retail pricing information for coins that circulated in colonial times through modern issues. The book is printed on high-quality semi-gloss paper with full-size color pictures of every coin.
Yeoman provides details for each coin listed in the book. Designer, weight, composition, diameter, and edge type are just a few of the details provided. Additionally, a brief description and history of each coin can be found at the beginning of each section. A summary explanation for each grade is also given to help you determine the value of your United States coins.
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Whitman’s Guide to Coin Collecting
If you are ready to move beyond assembling a variety of interesting coins in a box or jar, this book will guide you to becoming an accomplished numismatist. The “Golden Edition” is the most recent rendition of this popular guide. Written by award-winning author Kenneth Bressett, this book just about covers it all.
From getting started in the “King of Hobbies” to complex techniques and standards, this book has it. It discusses how to find coins in circulation and strategies for buying coins from a coin dealer. Although this book is not a price guide, it does explain the differences that affect a coin’s value.
Chapters such as caring for your coins and grading techniques and standards will help ensure that you have an enjoyable experience on your coin collecting journey. One of the most important chapters explains how to spot counterfeit coins and how to ensure that the coins you purchase are authentic.
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Making the Grade
One of the most difficult skills to acquire in coin collecting is coin grading. Coin grading is not a science, but a subjective skill. The adage on how to become a good coin grader is, “Get a good light, a good magnifying glass, and twenty years of experience.”
"Making the Grade" by Beth Deisher is the best book to begin developing your coin grading skills. This comprehensive guide to grading every type of United States coin includes color maps of prime focal areas and illustrated photos of design high points. Depending upon the type of coin, grades from AG-3 through MS-69 are described with large color images and detailed descriptions.
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PCGS Apps and Website
Professional Coin Grading Service has published several apps that every coin collector should have on their smartphone or tablet. If you don’t have a portable electronic device, the same tools are available on the PCGS website.
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- PhotoGrade – High-resolution photos for every type and grade of United States coins.
- CoinFacts — Essentially an online encyclopedia of every United States coin to help you make informed numismatic buying, selling, and trading decisions.
- PCGS Certification Verification — Allows you to scan a PCGS barcode or enter a certification number to verify that the coin is authentic.
- Retail Price Guide — Quickly look up retail prices for every PCGS graded coin.
- Set Registry — Allows you to manage your PCGS Registry Set so you can compete with other coin collectors and assembling top-rated sets.
- Coinflation — Calculates silver and gold melted values for common United States coins
- My Account — Allows you to manage and track coins that you have submitted to PCGS for grading and authentication.
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American Numismatic Association
The American Numismatic Association (ANA) is the largest and most active international coin club in the world. The ANA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and encouraging people to study and collect coins, paper money, exonumia, and related items. They serve coin collectors, the academic community, and the general public with an interest in numismatics.
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Although there are many resources available on the Internet, nothing is more helpful than networking with people that share a similar interest with you. Local coin clubs are your most valuable resource as you begin your coin collecting journey. As you begin to specialize, you may want to join a specialized coin club such as The Early American Coppers (EAC), Liberty Seated Collectors Club (LSCC), or Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America (CONECA), to name a few.
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Coin World Magazine & Podcast
The world of coin collecting is always changing. Discoveries are being made, auction records are being set, and mints around the world are always releasing new coins. Subscribing to Coin World magazine can keep you updated on what is new in the world of coin collecting. The magazine is available both in hard copy and electronically. There is also a Coin World weekly podcast that you can download to your electronic device and listen to at your convenience.
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The Blue Book
There always comes a time in every coin collector’s life where you will want to sell your coins. Many market factors affect the value of your coins. As mentioned above, The Red Book is a retail price guide that will help you decide if a dealer is offering a coin at a fair price.
"The Handbook of United States Coins," also by R. S. Yeoman, is a wholesale price guide which will help you decide if a coin dealer is offering you a fair amount of money to purchase your coins from you. The book is offered in both hardcover and paperback editions. Black-and-white photos of each type of coin will help you locate the coin you are going to be selling. Grades from G-4 through MS-65 are included for most coin types.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Standard Catalog of World Coins
The variety of world coins is nearly endless. "The Standard Catalog of World Coins" is a six-volume set covering world coins from 1601 through today. These books began their long and storied life as the brainchild of authors Chester L. Krause and Clifford Mishler. Today, each of these books is about the size of an old telephone book. However, they are also available electronically in PDF format so you can load them on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. These highly portable editions will give you the world of coins at your fingertips.
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Coin Dealer Newsletter
If you have ever been to a coin shop or coin show, you will see coin dealers referencing a magazine whenever they are buying or selling coins. If you are an intermediate or advanced coin collector and are frequently buying and selling coins, you will want to know exactly what coin dealers are referencing. "The Coin Dealer Newsletter" is a monthly publication that averages wholesale prices across the country. Coin dealers use this as a reference guide when buying and selling coins. You can negotiate a better deal if you have your copy of "The Coin Dealer Newsletter."