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Strategies to Improve Your Coin Collection

Posted on October 02, 2021

Strategies to improve your coin collection hero image

Coin collectors are always looking for ways to improve their collections. Whether it’s beginners just getting started, or seasoned collectors looking to add the perfect coin to round out a set, everyone could use some new ideas or new perspectives for their coin collection. There are all sorts of reasons to improve your collection: increase its value, add enjoyment, the thrill of finding the perfect coin, and so on. Take a look at these strategies to improve yours. Who knows, maybe you will learn a thing or two... 

Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Collection:

1. Catalog your collection

If you haven’t done so already, cataloging your collection is a must. The process of cataloging keeps your collection organized in a way that is easy for you or anyone else to decipher. This could be extremely important when you are no longer around, and your heirs come across your collection. A thorough catalog doesn’t just consist of a description of your coin. Ideally, your catalog would include all the information necessary for an insurance appraisal. Consider incorporating the following into a thorough coin catalog:

  • Date acquired, price, source (receipt if available – provenance!)
  • Date graded, cost, source
  • Specifics of the coin itself: Nationality, year, mint mark, variety (if applicable), denomination, condition (unless graded)

A less formal catalog might include your personal thoughts and associations for each coin. What images does it bring to mind? What does it symbolize to you? Some collectors’ catalogs contain long, contemplative essays about the history a specific coin has seen. Others love writing the story of a particular acquisition. Your catalog may evolve into a combination scrapbook/journal documenting your adventures – let it happen!

2. Identify a theme

2021 gold american eagle type 2 reverseCollections can be more enjoyable when they have a unifying theme. This doesn’t have to be so specific — like 18th-century copper coins — and instead can be a generic theme that creates more intrigue for your collecting journey. 

Maybe you enjoy American history and want to collect historical American coins, or you enjoy collecting coins from foreign nations and want to start there. One collector we know is only interested in coins from nations he’s visited in his life, and his goal is one of each coin in circulation during the year he was born. Another coin-collecting acquaintance loves both gold coins and bird-watching, so he collects gold coins featuring his feathered friends.

When you identify a collection theme, you can bring this theme with you when you’re on the hunt for new coins. You’ll have a better sense of direction in your collecting journey and an automatic filter to help you evaluate any potential new acquisitions.

3. Go deep, or go wide

The distinction between going deep or wide can be important for any collector. Going deep with your collection means attempting to collect all possible variations of a single coin. For instance, a deep collection of the Morgan silver dollar would include all variations of the coin minted as early as 1884 and with mint marks from San Francisco, Carson City, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. Collectors who go deep tend to relish the finest details and truly enjoy discovering new facts about their area of interest.

Alternatively, a wide collection includes a wider array of coins, such as collecting a silver coin from each of the past 20, 50, or 100 years or collecting an American eagle bullion coin in gold, silver, and platinum. Those who enjoy going wide tend to love learning various topics, dipping into and out of the histories of different nations. 

Note that going wide can be similar to “Identifying a theme” above (for example, one of our acquaintances only buys coins that remind her of her family). 

Going deep or going wide with your collection are both viable collecting strategies; it’s just a matter of which you prefer.

4. Become an expert on the collection you already have

Sometimes more isn’t better. Instead of spending your time and energy looking for new coins, why not become an expert in the collection you already have? 

Learning more about your coins will not only give you greater joy but will also serve you to understand their value better when it comes time to liquidate your collection. (And the process may help you decide what you’d like to collect next…)

5. Complete matching sets to round out your collection

There’s nothing like finding that final missing piece to complete a collection. The feeling is indescribable. But, depending on what you are collecting, it could be quite some time before you find the missing piece. An example of rounding out a collection is owning all 56 America The Beautiful 5 oz silver coins in the series. 

This takes patience and fortitude, but when done correctly, it can lead to the ultimate sense of satisfaction, not to mention the potential for a massive boost in value depending on the collection.

6. Add appealing coins

Even if you collect as an investment, it’s always fun to add coins to your collection that you find personally appealing. Some people are entranced by the magic of gold coins, while others find themselves enamored with ancient copper coins. Whatever appeals to you should be the coins you search after and acquire. Let your passion guide you!

7. Reach for your wallet when necessary

No one likes to spend extra cash when they don’t have to. But when you find the perfect coin to add to your collection, don’t be afraid to pay that extra few dollars to make sure it comes home with you. If you can afford it, buy the coin you desire at the highest grade available. This won’t always be possible, but you should always strive to maintain a collection with the highest quality coins as a collector. 

On the flip side, don’t just purchase for the sake of it, only buy coins that make you feel excited to add to your collection.

8. Build a relationship with a local or online dealer

In today’s digital world, it’s easy to forget about the lost art of relationships. Throughout the years, coin collectors and dealers have built strong relationships that have greatly benefited both. Do your best to build a positive relationship with a trusted dealer — whether locally or online — so that you can ensure you are getting authentic coins at the best prices. 

9. Take your time

Trying to improve your coin collection can be stressful. But don’t let urgency get the better of you. When looking to purchase a new coin or revamp your collection take your time to analyze the situation and make the best decision for yourself. There’s no worse feeling than rushing into a new purchase only to realize later that you overpaid, or worse, purchased a coin that just doesn’t fit in with the rest of your collection.

10. Share with others

What good is the thrill of numismatics if you are at it all alone? After all, coin collecting is a hobby best shared with others. Find a local numismatics club or attend an event to meet other collectors. It’s with like-minded collectors that you will not only find more enjoyment, but you will learn more about how to collect and improve your collection.

Additional tips for an improved collection

  • Bored of a coin? Sell it - Make room for new coins in your collection (and more money in your pocket) by ditching any coins you no longer find interesting. 
  • Knowledge is power - Improving your collection doesn’t mean adding new coins; it can mean boning up on your collecting knowledge by purchasing books and guides to help you along the way.
  • Get your coins appraised - The only way to truly get a sense of your collection’s value is to get it appraised. Without an appraised value, you might get fleeced the next time you go to sell a coin.
  • Clean your collection properly - Maintain your collection so that it can last for decades to come. But be careful not to damage anything in the process. Some of us actually enjoy the cleaning process!
  • Build your knowledge base - Use the BullionMax Knowledge Base to get all of the collecting knowledge and tips you will ever need. From coin fundamentals to security, BullionMax has everything you need.