How can I make money as a coin collector with no experience or knowledge?

Coin collectors don’t make money by collecting coins – they make money when selling all or part of their coins; sometimes to profit, sometimes to liquidate part of a collection, sometimes to pay bills.

Collectible coins are an accumulated or acquired asset. You are in a position to make money with coins when you can sell them for more than what you paid.

Most collectors (myself included) have a fondness for coins and collect for fun. If you approach coin collecting as a business, You can make money, but you need to learn the market. Your coin collection becomes inventory, you need to manage it, track your costs, advertise, and buy and sell to build up your business. Some coins may have value but not sell well; a downturn in the market may cause a downturn in your business.

If you are truly interested in coins as a business (and you need to treat it as such) I would suggest educating yourself as to what coins can make a profit, which coins sell quickly vs. sit on a shelf, and what kind of investment you want to make in your coin business.

Making friends with a local coin dealer, and going to shows is also helpful – their experience and advice can be invaluable.

To recap:

  • Decide whether you want to be a collector or coin dealer/trader
  • Treat coin collecting like a business, not a hobby
  • Learn as much as you can about grading and coin values
  • Track prices in the coins you want to inventory and sell
  • Make friends in the business, you will benefit by knowing them

Books that may help:

A Guide to Coin Collecting: A Guide to Buying, Selling and Finding Coins Online (Amazon)

Pleasure & Profit: 100 Lessons for Building and Selling a Collection of Rare Coins (Amazon)

Websites:

Dumb People Can Make Money in Coins

How to Make Money as a Coin Collector

Get the Inside Scoop on Buying and Selling Coins

YouTube video (one of many):

Thanks for the A2A! (This question originally appeared on Quora)

I wish you the best of luck in your numismatic endeavors!

Disclaimer: I blog about coins on my site, Pocket Change Riches

Should I consider coin collecting as part of my retirement strategy?

In my opinion, collectible coins and bullion coins (Silver and Gold) can have a place in your retirement strategy, if you want physical wealth that has to be managed.  The collectible value is frequently much more than just collecting bullion (bulk precious metal).

For example, I like US Morgan Dollars, each one is one ounce of silver, which is   US Currency and (at a minimum) worth the value of the base metal, silver. If you have highly graded coins, they will be worth much more then the value of the the silver. and It can be fun collecting an entire set (years and mintages) of Morgans, or just a few for your modest collection.

 

Higher grades command higher values. Morgan Dollar (1878-1921) Value – PCGS Price Guide  , Comprehensive Grading Guide for U.S. Coins (from Amazon)

Another personal favorite of mine to collect are Silver Strike casino coins, which are a $10 casino chips with a silver center (about .6 ounce of silver). Collecting casino memorabilia is fun to me, since I have been to many of the casinos and enjoy displaying the strikes I have won/collected.

Most casinos are not using Silver Strike slot machines, as they are mechanical machines, making them harder to find. I frequently buy them on ebay and Amazon. You can also visit the Silver Strikers Club, which has the latest news on Silver Strikes.

Some coins have no silver or gold (or any precious metal) in them; They may only have collectible value.  Some may have no value at all,  making them good for jewelry or as a memento of your visit to a foreign country.  If you have some bona fide collectibles, WONDERFUL!  If not, well, hold on to them if you enjoy owning them.  Your kids may find pleasure in owning Great grandad’s coins from his trip to Havana.

Another favorite of mine is the Silver Eagle (and Gold Eagle) US Coins. Each are 1 ounce of the base metal and are beautifully minted coins! Here again, I frequently buy them on ebay and Amazon. You may also find them at swap meets, flea markets, and yard sales. Coin dealers usually have many in stock, although they buy at wholesale and sell to you at retail. Learn values and grades, and soon you will become a shrewd buyer!

 

2016 silver and Gold Eagle coins, are available online from  eBay and Amazon.

If you enjoy collecting coins, You will need a safe place to  keep them. Some people keep them in a safe deposit box at their bank, others in a  gun safe, if they have one. Thieves don’t like to run around with hundreds of pounds of metal coins – unless you have rare or extremely valuable coins, crooks may pass them by (or just take the shiny ones).

As a hedge on retirement, coins can be readily converted into cash.  You can easily sell most coins to a dealer or on Ebay. Pawn shops will give you a better value on gold coins (usually smelt or base metal value) than on most jewelry. This means you can use your coins like a retirement plan, cashing them out over your anticipated retirement, or saving them as a reserve fund for unexpected bills.

How To Buy And Sell Gold & Silver PRIVATELY: Must Know Strategies To Keep Your Portfolio Private, Stay In The IRS’s Good Graces, Know Your Tax Requirements, … File The Right Reports, Buy The Right Metal

You can give your coins to your heirs while you are still alive, sharing in your enjoyment and teaching the next generation about coin collecting.  Why wait until the end?  You can even get your children (and Grandchildren) coin collecting sets, and get them in the habit of looking at their pocket change, and putting old and potentially valuable coins in “flips”. I bought my grandson this collecting set on Amazon.

Coin collecting set

To recap:

  • Coins can be part of your retirement strategy. (if you don’t like coins, consider a collectible that you will like).
  • Consider the value of the coin, Base metal and collectible value.
  • You will need to track your purchases and store your coins securely.  Anticipate taxes.
  • Coins can be readily exchanged for cash from multiple sources.
  • You can pass them to your heirs without being deceased (or paying taxes, up to $14,000 in the US). (talk to your accountant).
  • Most important – you can enjoy them while you are alive!

I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I do – a small portion of my retirement is in coins that I enjoy. some are listed above (Morgans, strikes, Silver Eagles, etc.) and some are pocket change and circulated coins that have a value – above face value – with the possibility of appreciation over time. I have a modest budget for my eclectic coin collection.

If you are seriously thinking about coin collecting as a retirement option, Talk to your financial advisor, attorney, and accountant – and guys like me – to determine if  adding coins to your personal financial assets makes sense. Or you can just start collecting pocket change and the occasional coins you like. That is an easy way to start.

Consider all your options, and enjoy your retirement!

Niue coins also available on eBay – note the Star Wars coins! (link opens in new window)

Nuie entry in wikipedia

I hope you found my point of view enlightening and informative.  Please share it with your retiring friends.  What’s in your Pocket?

Welcome to Pocket Change Riches

Valet tray (coins not included) from Amazon

By Alan Chenkin, who jingles his coins…

With Credit cards and smart phone payments we hardly need to carry cash anymore.  While it makes me a bit of a throwback, I will miss the bulge and jingle of change in my pocket.  For example, slot machines Have been using paper money, credit cards, for wagering and paper slips for winnings when you cash out.  They used to have big trays to catch the players winnings, and the noise of all the coins dropping was like a siren call to all the nearby gamblers.  Casinos used to distribute sealed towelettes to slot machine players because of the dirt that would accumulate on their hands from handling coins while playing.  And kept coin cups nearby to hold the winnings of the lucky players! 

In my man cave, I have always been in the habit of throwing my loose change in a cup on my dresser every evening.  every so often I will sort it out, and hunt for coins of value;  old silver coins – the odd foreign penny or farthing; sometimes a Euro – so I can celebrate my “find” and put them aside.  For the older silver and well preserved coins I have “Coin Flips”, for keeping the coins clean after I wipe them with a cotton sock, er, “coin cleaning rag”.

Coin Flip Assortment - Cardboard 2x2 Holders - 25 each of 6 Sizes
2×2 coin flips from Amazon
Collecting coins is almost a passive hobby in this way – seeking finds in pocket change (ergo “Pocket Change Riches”) and finding fun collectible coins in stores, on EBay, or yard sales.  We all have need for money, and what painless way to accumulate coins and potential wealth, just by emptying your pockets!
 
I hope you will join me in this journey of coin collecting and enjoyment as I answer questions from my readers and post them.  feel free to comment or share, and I will respond to any requests or queries to the best of my ability.
 
 Welcome and thanks for reading my blog! – Feel free to repost and share!

How much are US wheat pennies (Lincoln cents) worth?

Wheat pennies are fun to find in your pocket change
These websites will guide you to the specific values of different years and grades of wheat pennies:


Lincoln Pennies (1909-1958) – JM Bullion
Wheat Pennies (1909 to 1956) Values – Cointrackers
Find Out How Much Is Your Lincoln Wheat Penny Worth? – The Spruce

If you sort your coins, you can collect pennies in many forms:

Lincoln Wheatback Cents Album, 1909-1958 P, D & S (Cornerstone Coin Albums)1c Lincoln Wheat Cent Penny Album/Book/Kit & 200 Random Coins Included #53303^
Lincoln Wheat Penny Starter Album Collection Kit; Great for Beginner CollectorsBCW Peel-N-Seal Self-Adhesive 2x2 Coin Flips for Pennies 100ct
Wheat pennies, because of their minted volumes, are easy to collect and fun.  Kids like them, because they can understand the value of a penny.  
 
You can even buy Wheat Pennies on-line if you don’t have any, or need specific years:
 
coin collecting does not have to be fancy.  A cardboard box or a cigar box, a magnifying glass, and an old sock (to wipe any fingerprint oil or dirt off the coins) is almost all you need.  You can almost feel history when you hold a 100 year old coin in your hands!
Coin Collecting - Newbie Guide To Coin Collecting: The ABC's Of Collecting - Including Gold, Silver and Rare Coins: What Every Investor Must Know
Thank you for reading my blog – I hope you enjoy it and find it informative! – Feel free to share!

 

What is the proper way to clean coins?

By Alan Chenkin, Novice coin collector.
The general rule of thumb is to never clean coins. Ever.
This is particularly important with valuable coins, because a speculator might clean the coin to improve it’s worth – but most cleaning actually is visible to coin graders, and such attempts actually reduce the coins value. But there are times to clean a coin, and consider the best way to handle them – look at this from the internet:
How to Clean Coins – Wikihow
If you are considering selling the coins, definitely do not clean them; store them separately and bring them to a dealer for appraisal. If your coins have sentimental value, souvenirs of a trip, or a gift from a friend, preserve them in a holder or frame, and clean them if necessary – the sentiment is worth far more than the coin.
There is nothing wrong with wiping your coins with an athletic sock or polishing cloth, as these do minimal invasive damage to the coin. You may also want to polish a coin that is deteriorating due to corrosion or oxidation – consider it’s value before attempting this, cleaning can actually diminish the collectible value of the coin if done harshly or with strong chemicals.
After you polish your coins, reduce any further damage by keeping them in plastic holders or traditional coin flips.
A fun thing to do with some coins is to use them as jewelry. In that case, having a clean finish will be necessary, and the finished piece may be worth more than the coin itself.
Here is how you can put an amazing shine on a coin:

He uses Mothers Metal Polish and a Dremel tool with a buffing wheel. (Links to Amazon)

If you are unsure as to clean your coins or not, bring them to a coin dealer and ask! Most are helpful professionals, and have a wealth of knowledge. You can also get an idea from these sites on coin grading, especially when dealing with a coin you suspect has value:
How To Grade Coins Using the Coin Grading Scale – Coin collecting guide for beginners
The Westin St. Francis Hotel washes it’s coins.  Read about it on  NBC news  and cointalk. Hotel ruins millions of coins for collectors
Remember to have fun with your collection! Clean or not, sort your pocket change, and see where your coins have traveled from in the world!
Of course, if you don’t want to mess with those nasty, dirty, coins, just send them to me and I will “take care of them for you”.  Honest.
Thanks for reading my Blog! – Feel free to share!

Why do coins smell so bad?

By Alan Chenkin, Novice coin collector (numismatist) and hobbyist
The bane of any coin collector is the smell that can haunt some of your coins.  No one wants smelly coins, but there must be a way to manage it.  Not wanting to suggest you Fabreeze your coins (Don’t do it), I did some digging on the web:
Coins Don’t Smell, You Do – Live Science
There also may be a reaction between the coins and your hands that creates an odor, related to the conductivity of the coins and their PH[1] .
Best suggestions here are to wear gloves, keep the room well ventilated, and wash your hands before and after. In the “Old days” of coin operated slot machines, your hands would be black from the dirt on the coins, and every casino would have a cup of moist hand towelettes for cleaning it off your hands.
Don’t use this with rare of collectible coins! –  EZEST Coin Cleaner Although it is ok to clean dirty pocket change or novelty (not highly collectible) coins.  Cleaning collectible or rare coins will actually diminish their value.  If you want to clean coins without harsh chemicals, consider an ultrasonic coin cleaning kit, under $75 at Amazon, Or from eBay.
I use these when handling coins in my collection:
If you can’t wait for the gloves to arrive, use a special coin cleaning tool, like this:
old sock for coin cleaning
Also known as an old sweatsock.  usually there are a few near the dryer, that you can recommission as coin wipers.
And if the smell is persistent, try a little aromatic spray:
The old method of using a clothespin on your nose may work for you too….
Thanks for reading my blog! – Feel free to share!
Footnotes

Where are some places to buy coins for collecting?

by Alan Chenkin, Novice coin collector and hobbyist
Coin dealers, EBay, Craigslist, and from friends and acquaintances are great sources. Let people know you are looking for coins, and you may be surprised.
If it sounds to good to be true, it usually is. consider buying a test kit if you are buying gold and silver; GOLD TEST KIT
When you acquire and store collectible coins, just wipe any dirt off them with  special coin cleaning cloth (an old sock), and put them in a “flip”, coin book or folder.  If you want to get a child or teenager into collecting, you can get them a whole kit from Amazon or eBay.
Coin collections start to grow quickly, so you need to keep them in an orderly fashion.
Best of luck!
Oh, and you might need one of these:
Keep in mind that coins can get heavy, make sure the safe is on a floor that can support the weight !
Thanks for reading my blog, and feel free to share!