Coin Collecting For Dummies, 3rd Edition
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Because money is a limiting factor, no matter how much of it you have, figure out how much you want to budget for your collection and then decide where to spend it. Here are some suggestions for interesting and challenging ways to collect coins:
  • Denomination: Try putting together a complete set of all the different denominations issued by the United States. Start with the coins in circulation and then include obsolete coins like a half cent, a three-cent piece, a 20-cent piece — coins that most people have never heard of.
  • Type: You'll find a number of different types within each denomination. For example, half dollars include the Flowing Hair, Draped Bust, Capped Bust, Seated Liberty, Barber, Walking Liberty, Franklin head, and Kennedy types. You can collect by type within a denomination, or you can expand into other denominations.
  • Date: Collecting by date is a fun and affordable way to obtain every date for a particular series. For example, you could easily collect a half dollar from every year they were minted since 1900. There's no reason to pay extra for a rare mintmark — just pick the least expensive coin for the year and add it to your collection. Not only will you have one coin from every year, but you'll have added several different types along the way.
  • Date and mintmark combination: Collecting every date and mintmark combination becomes a bit more challenging and expensive. Most series have a rare mintmark that can sometimes be prohibitively expensive. You don't want to attempt to collect a set of Barber dimes unless you have a lot of money. You may find and be able to afford every date in the series except for the extremely rare 1894-S — you'll need $1 million or more for a nice one! On the other hand, there are several series that you can complete without breaking the bank. If you can't afford the Barber dime set, try the Barber half dollars instead. The coins are bigger, and every date and mintmark in the set is affordable.

    Keep in mind that until recently, coins minted in Philadelphia had no mintmark.

  • Year: Many people try to buy every coin issued in the year of their birth. If you're under 50 years old, all you have to do is buy the mint sets and proof sets issued by the government in the year of your birth, plus any commemorative coins issued that year. If you're older than 50, you may have to search a little harder — but that's half the fun of collecting coins, isn't it? If you really want to go all out, try collecting coins issued in your birth year by other countries!

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Neil S. Berman: Neil S. Berman has been an expert numismatist and professional rare coin dealer since 1968. Coming back to the United States from Israel at the end of 1967, he apprenticed to the world-renowned Dutch numismatist and coin auctioneer Hans M. F. Schulman. He incorporated as Neil S. Berman, Inc., in 1968. In 1974, Neil became an associate of Metropolitan Rare Coin Company of New York. For the next several years, he represented Arthur and Donald Kagin of Des Moines, Iowa, then the largest coin dealer in the Midwest, as a purchasing agent. Later he represented Superior Galleries under the Goldbergs, also as a purchasing agent. In 1979, Neil, with his brother Jed, founded First Federal Coin Company, the first East Coast coin company to sell rare coins into IRA, Keogh, and pension plans. From 1983 until 1990, he was the purchasing agent for Asset Services, Inc., the largest coin company serving the financial community. Neil donated his large collection of German and Swiss silver minor coins to the American Numismatic Society (ANS) in 1989. In 1997, he received the American Numismatic Association (ANA) Service Award from ANA President David Ganz. In 2005 and 2006, he was associated again with Superior Galleries of Beverly Hills, this time under the ownership of numismatist Silvano DiGenova.
Neil catalogued the U.S. gold in the 1977 Kagin’s ANA Coin Auction Sale, the first New York coin auction sale in 1981 of Spink and Sons, England’s oldest and largest coin dealer, and a coin auction sale by Superior Rare Coin Galleries of Beverly Hills in 2006.
Neil has been published in Barron’s, Trusts & Estates, The National Law Journal, The Financial Planner, Pensions World, and Executive Jeweler. In 1987, he wrote, with Hans Schulman, The Investor’s Guide to United States Coins, which sold 40,000 copies and received a Numismatic Literary Guild award for Best Investment Book. In 2007, he wrote the second edition of the book with Silvano DiGenova. Neil has just completed a book on rare coin auctions.

Ron Guth: Ron Guth is a jack-of-all-trades and master of one — numismatics. Ron is a certified public accountant (CPA), a licensed auctioneer, and a writer, but the bulk of his time is spent on his true love — coin collecting and dealing. Ron’s battle with coin fever began when he was 12 years old, and he’s never gotten over it. After a decade of collecting, Ron went professional in 1976, when he began working for a local coin shop in Tampa, Florida. In 1978, he partnered with David Goldsmith and purchased the Bay Area Coin Exchange in Tampa. Ron and Dave blasted through the silver boom, and then split up in 1981, when Ron moved to Evansville, Indiana (his wife’s hometown), where he set up shop on First Avenue. In 1984, Ron formed Mid-American Rare Coin Auctions with Jeff Garrett of Lexington, Kentucky. The company quickly established itself as an innovative leader in the industry and, within the first year, became the fifth largest rare coin auction company in America. In 1988, Ron sold his interest in the company, went back to school to finish his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance, and has since become a numismatic consultant and a major dealer in German coins.
In 1984, Ron won the American Numismatic Association’s Wayte and Olga Raymond and Heath Literary awards. He has written many coin-related articles and is listed as a contributor to several books, including Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States Coins, Krause Publications’s Standard Catalog of German Coins, Roger S. Cohen’s American Half Cents, Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents, and others. Ron has served as a numismatic consultant for many rare-coin companies, including major firms such as the Professional Coin Grading Services, Heritage Numismatic Auctions, and Early American History Auctions.

Neil S. Berman: Neil S. Berman has been an expert numismatist and professional rare coin dealer since 1968. Coming back to the United States from Israel at the end of 1967, he apprenticed to the world-renowned Dutch numismatist and coin auctioneer Hans M. F. Schulman. He incorporated as Neil S. Berman, Inc., in 1968. In 1974, Neil became an associate of Metropolitan Rare Coin Company of New York. For the next several years, he represented Arthur and Donald Kagin of Des Moines, Iowa, then the largest coin dealer in the Midwest, as a purchasing agent. Later he represented Superior Galleries under the Goldbergs, also as a purchasing agent. In 1979, Neil, with his brother Jed, founded First Federal Coin Company, the first East Coast coin company to sell rare coins into IRA, Keogh, and pension plans. From 1983 until 1990, he was the purchasing agent for Asset Services, Inc., the largest coin company serving the financial community. Neil donated his large collection of German and Swiss silver minor coins to the American Numismatic Society (ANS) in 1989. In 1997, he received the American Numismatic Association (ANA) Service Award from ANA President David Ganz. In 2005 and 2006, he was associated again with Superior Galleries of Beverly Hills, this time under the ownership of numismatist Silvano DiGenova.
Neil catalogued the U.S. gold in the 1977 Kagin’s ANA Coin Auction Sale, the first New York coin auction sale in 1981 of Spink and Sons, England’s oldest and largest coin dealer, and a coin auction sale by Superior Rare Coin Galleries of Beverly Hills in 2006.
Neil has been published in Barron’s, Trusts & Estates, The National Law Journal, The Financial Planner, Pensions World, and Executive Jeweler. In 1987, he wrote, with Hans Schulman, The Investor’s Guide to United States Coins, which sold 40,000 copies and received a Numismatic Literary Guild award for Best Investment Book. In 2007, he wrote the second edition of the book with Silvano DiGenova. Neil has just completed a book on rare coin auctions.

Ron Guth: Ron Guth is a jack-of-all-trades and master of one — numismatics. Ron is a certified public accountant (CPA), a licensed auctioneer, and a writer, but the bulk of his time is spent on his true love — coin collecting and dealing. Ron’s battle with coin fever began when he was 12 years old, and he’s never gotten over it. After a decade of collecting, Ron went professional in 1976, when he began working for a local coin shop in Tampa, Florida. In 1978, he partnered with David Goldsmith and purchased the Bay Area Coin Exchange in Tampa. Ron and Dave blasted through the silver boom, and then split up in 1981, when Ron moved to Evansville, Indiana (his wife’s hometown), where he set up shop on First Avenue. In 1984, Ron formed Mid-American Rare Coin Auctions with Jeff Garrett of Lexington, Kentucky. The company quickly established itself as an innovative leader in the industry and, within the first year, became the fifth largest rare coin auction company in America. In 1988, Ron sold his interest in the company, went back to school to finish his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance, and has since become a numismatic consultant and a major dealer in German coins.
In 1984, Ron won the American Numismatic Association’s Wayte and Olga Raymond and Heath Literary awards. He has written many coin-related articles and is listed as a contributor to several books, including Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States Coins, Krause Publications’s Standard Catalog of German Coins, Roger S. Cohen’s American Half Cents, Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents, and others. Ron has served as a numismatic consultant for many rare-coin companies, including major firms such as the Professional Coin Grading Services, Heritage Numismatic Auctions, and Early American History Auctions.

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