Articles Published by Ken Dunn - Dunway Enterprises
Coin collecting is the collecting or trading of coins or other forms of legally minted currency.
Frequently collected coins include those that were in circulation for only a brief time, minted with errors or especially beautiful or historically interesting pieces. Coin collecting can be differentiated from numismatics in that the latter is the study of currency, though both are obviously closely related.
History buffs and antiquarians alike love the thrill of collecting old coins. Whether itís a 200 year old penny or an ancient Roman coin, collectors of old coins enjoy a fascinating hobby. With their depictions of world leaders, epic battles and political mascots, coins offer a personal glimpse into the events of a countryís history.
The very idea of a coin being passed from generation to generation infuses old coins with a sense of history and heritage that can be quite powerful.
Part of the charm of these antiquities, and much of their value according to some collectors, is the years of accumulated grunge on their surfaces. While some collectors prefer to trade them in their less-than-pristine condition, others opt for a cleaned and polished coin for their collection.
Many experts caution against cleaning coins, saying that exposing the metal to the corrosive agents in the air will cause them to lose value. They suggest a gentle cleaning with mild soap and water to remove excess ground dirt, but skip the polishing. Of course, itís up to you to decide if you like the old worn grime, or opt for shiny bits in your collection.
If you plan to clean your old coins, make sure you have the proper equipment to do so safely. Coins, especially older ones, are susceptible to damage from scratchy cleaners and chemicals. Protect your investment by using a cleaning product especially designed for old coins.
You can find verdigris removers, concentrated liquid soap, special brushes and other cleaning products. Some collectors use a super-concentrated strength of hydrogen peroxide; use care with this, as too much of a good thing can be bad news for older coins.
When dealing with any coins, especially old ones, itís important to understand a coinís value. There are a number of resources out there to help you identify and value your old coins.
Try one of these books to start:
There are also a number of websites out there dedicated to helping collectors identify their coins. And of course your local hobby shop or coin dealer is a great resource for you. You can also visit coin conventions and trade shows to talk to industry insiders. There you can often find collectors who will offer to value your coins on the spot. But get a second opinion before you sell, to be sure you are getting a good deal.
A coinís value is determined largely by considering its rarity, its demand, its historical importance, and its general condition. To keep your coin from losing value once you acquire it, be sure to protect it when handling and storing.
Treat each coin with care, and consider using inexpensive cotton coin gloves whenever you handle the coin. You can find these at any good coin shop, for around $4 a pair. Handle your coins by their edges only, to avoid wear and keep the oil from your hands from collecting on the coinís surfaces.
Proper storage is essential to protecting an old coinís value. If you store your coins in paper envelopes or albums, be sure that the paper is acid free and designed specifically to be safe for antiques. Plastic slips should also be avoided for older coins, as they can cause corrosion over time.
There are clear acid-free envelopes available for storage, that still allow you to see your coins while offering them a safe place to stay. Expect to pay $15-20 for 100 acid-free envelopes. You can find these items at online coin suppliers, your local hobby shop, or at conventions and trade shows.
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