Collectible American Coins
Collecting American Coins requires you to conduct extensive Research
Collectible American coins are highly valued collector's items, in the world of Numismatics or Coin collecting. An extremely easy hobby if you reside in the U.S., and even otherwise, collectible American coins come in a variety of forms, such pennies, nickels, dimes, half dollars and dollars, and quarters. Over the years, numismatists have found interesting relations in the imagery and design of collectible American coins.
Before you begin collecting though, this hobby requires you to conduct extensive research about the different types of collectible American coins. Your best source of reference are books on the subject, with beginners benefiting most from ‘Coin collecting for Dummies', by Ron Guth. Other basic reference books are ‘The New York Times Guide to Coin Collecting', by Ed Reiter and ‘The Whitman Guide to Coin Collecting', by Kenneth Bressett. For the purpose of dating and valuation of collectible American coins, some great books are, ‘A Guide Book of United States Coins', by R. S. Yeoman, which is updated annually and covers American coins from Colonial times to state quarters and ‘Coin World Guide to U.S. Coins, Prices & Value Trends', by the editors of Coin World.
Apart from this taking up subscriptions of magazines related to the collection of American coins, or joining collector groups, like the American Numismatic Society or the American Numismatic Association, is a great way to pick up tips from experts. After you have sufficiently educated yourself about the topic, you need to pick a collection strategy. There are two widely accepted methods; one is type collection, where collectors collect different coins which represent different coin series, while the second approach is date/mintmark collection, which focuses on collecting a single series.
Amongst the various collectible American coins, the Lincoln head penny is the most collected. Minted since 1909, Lincoln head pennies made in 1943 are particularly valuable as they were made of copper and are quite rare. In case of nickels, numismatists must note that nickels made between 1883 and 1913, had a portrait of goddess Liberty on their faces, with the 1913 Liberty nickel being the most valuable. Another popular nickel is the buffalo nickel, which has an Indian head and a buffalo on the two sides. Dimes are not a highly sought collector's item, mainly since they have not changed much since 1945. Quarters are the most popular category, with different series minted till 1930, then another till 1999, and the most recent series finished in 2008.
But collecting coins is not the only aspect of numismatics that a collector should known, storage and maintenance is equally important. One sure-shot way of damaging coins is direct contact, either by hand or even with other coins. In fact, direct exposure to air can also erode coin surfaces. Coins should ideally be placed in 2 X 2s, where the coin is placed behind thin mylar windows, which is attached to cardboard, which is then folded and stapled. But these containers are not air-tight, which could cause problems in the long run. Hard-plastic holders are a safer, but more expensive, option. All holders can either be placed in plastic boxes, or within albums, in which case the coins are inserted directly, without holders.
Proper maintenance and care, backed by effective research, can help you make the most of your collectible American coins.