Grand Rapids Coin Dealer Tips for New Coin Collectors

Top Ten Do’s:

  • Study coins and become a knowledgeable collector. Consider subscribing to coin trade journals (Numismatic News and Coin World offer a wealth of detailed information).

  • Join online forums (try PCGS, NGC, VAM World) and local coin clubs to share knowledge and learn from others.

  • Attend coin shows and visit coin shops. Check out the many online calendars for local, regional, and national shows.

  • It’s easiest to start by picking one type of coin for study. For example, you might start with Washington quarters or Lincoln cents. Sell some coins occasionally to get a feel for true market value, and to understand how pricing works.

    • Buy the key date rarities first when starting to collect a specific series. The highest condition coins with great eye appeal are the easiest to sell.

    • Look for errors and varieties – “cherrypicking” is an ongoing treasure hunt!

    • Keep coins in a secure location in a temperature-controlled environment

    • Use caution when a coin’s price is too good to be true – avoid counterfeits and harshly cleaned coins. Contact an expert for a second-opinion.

    • Look for coins graded by reputable third party grading services such as PCGS, NGC and ANACS. Even then, know the differences in value between these services. CAC coins are even more desirable.

    • Work with a reputable dealer who understands your collecting goals. He/she should be a partner in building your collection.


Top Five Don’ts:

  • Don’t clean coins! Harsh cleaning will dramatically diminish value… even soft cleaning harms a coin’s original look and will diminish value.

  • Don’t believe estimated grades on “raw” coins unless you have experience with the coin dealer – particularly avoid buying “raw” coins online or via national ads.

  • Don’t “buy the plastic,” buy the coin! Some coins in third party holders are “over-graded” and not worth the asking price. Consult with experts if you are unsure of a coin’s value.

  • Don’t expect to sell a coin to a coin dealer at full retail price. Reputable coin dealers will normally pay about 80%-85% of retail value for collectable coins. Higher percentages are often paid for exceptionally rare and desirable coins.

  • Don’t expect to get rich quick (unless you come across a once-in-a-lifetime find). Like any investment, coin values fluctuate.

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