What Coins Should I Collect
By Robert L Taylor, JD
You should collect
what you like and enjoy. This is Your Dream.
Design it any way you want.
Never-the-less, . . . decide on Foreign coins or
US Coins; and Proof or Mint State. If US, then
decide upon a Denomination: penny, nickel, dime,
quarter, half dollar, dollar or other.
Or, decide upon a particular Period in History,
e.g.: Morgan Dollars (Lady Liberty, Following
Civil War), Peace Dollars (Following WWI), War
Time Cents (Steel and Shell Casing - WWII), War
Time Nickels (Silver - WWII), Silver quarters
and dimes – pre 1965; Statehood Quarters; 20th
Century; 19th Century.
Or decide upon an Historical Figure; Kennedy
Half Dollars (Following his death), Lincoln
Cents; Washington Quarters; Franklin Half
Dollars; Eisenhower Dollars, Susan B Anthony
Dollars, Roosevelt Dimes; Sacagawea Dollars. You
can also choose Type Sets, Year Sets, Mint Sets,
Proof Sets and Decades.
The Next Step is to decide upon the Quality of
Coin you want to collect. Your choices are: a)
pocket change; b) bank rolls; c) US mint and
proof rolls/sets (new and used); d) Buy from
Coin Shows and Clubs; e) Buy on the Internet; f)
Buy from dealer; g) Buy from a coin magazine or
ad. Each has their benefits and advantages.
Pocket Change and Bank Rolls provide circulated
coins. The US Mint provides uncirculated “Mint
State” and “Proof” coins, but only on a yearly
basis. The Internet provides the Greatest
Selection from private Web Sites (e.g.:
www.ThePerfect-Coin.Com) to the big Auctions
like eBay, Heritage and TeleTrade. And With the
advent of PayPal (free) it becomes very easy to
pay for purchases over the Internet and by
The one thing that is important in all of the
above choices is the Grade of the Coin, which is
closely related to Value (another article). But
which leads to the next choice: Buy Slabbed or
Raw? Raw coins are what you find in pocket
change. Slabbed coins are those that are
Professionally Certified and Graded by an
Independent Third Party. The coin is then placed
in a “slab”, made of plastic, identified,
labeled and sealed. It actually takes 3
Professionals to decide upon the Grade of a
Coin. If Buying Raw Coins, You need to Know How
to Grade a Coin. Even then, there will be
disputes about the Grade. If Buying a Slabbed
coin, You Know the Grade. The Grade Becomes
Virtually Undisputable! All references to Price
in any resource are Based on Grading, which
follows the Guidelines set by the ANA – American
Numismatic Association. Currently, there are
only Four Companies that are Recognized for
Strictly following these Guidelines: PCGS, NGC,
ICG and ANACS. It is from these Professionals
that one should buy slabbed coins. Buying
Slabbed Coins is the First Rule of Serious Coin
Obviously, one will be very limited in the
years, mints, and varieties available from
pocket change and bank rolls - both being local
in nature. Even if starting with these means of
collecting, always keep an open mind the other
resources. So, a little future insight helps to
decide that better resources will yield better
coin collections. Most collections will span a
greater range than either pocket change or bank
rolls will produce. It is therefore imperative
to investigate other resources. Your budget will
usually determine the Grade of coin that you can
afford to collect. MS63-MS65 is an Ideal range
for Collecting, because of the excellent
condition and detail of the coins, but also the
greater availability, lower costs, and because
coins in this range tend to Appreciate faster
than other Grades.
Lastly, decide whether to collect all of the
coins in your Group – including varieties and
errors – or just the regular issue coins. Errors
and Varieties can become extremely expensive and
difficult to find. Most people will avoid them.
There is one more item to decide, but it is very
simple, and it has to do with the quality of the
coin – or how much you want to Spend per Coin -
for an average coin, for an exceptional coin, or
a perfect coin. Your budget will usually
determine this factor, or, how much per month
you can spend for your new Investment. Think of
it as a Fund. You are trading Money for . . .
Money that Grows! Properly attended, this Fund
can quite possibly put someone through college.
This Concept is critically important because
most people shy away from spending a little
more, just to get the best. And I am talking
about the best in quality of coin, no matter
what the Grade. In other words, get a Coin with
the Grade it is Supposed to Have. This is the
Only way to be sure of the Value of the Coin.
Spend your Money Wisely. Get what you pay for.
Until you become a Professional at Grading, rely
on the Professional Graders. Whether you choose
to collect Kennedy Proof Half Dollars, or
Jefferson Nickels from pocket change, Or, thanks
to the Internet and Private Web Sites, you will
find a huge selection available to give your
Coin Collection a boost.
But Always Know Your Grade!
Robert L Taylor, JD
Copyright 2006, Robert L Taylor, JD
About the Author
Robert Taylor is a retired Lawyer from Denver,
CO, and who has had a passion for collecting US
coins, since the age of 6. Wanting to share his
Passion, he created http://www.ThePerfect-Coin.Com
which features US Rare and Modern Coins (from
1960) and http://www.PerfectDollarCoins.Com
featuring US Dollar Coins (from 1878), all
Certified and Graded by NGC, PCGS, ICG and ANACS.