Been Collecting Coins Since Childhood? What To Do With Your Collection
If you have been collecting coins since you were a child, there may come a time as an adult when you begin to look back at all of your coins and wonder what you should do with the collection going forward. Whether you are still collecting your coins or if you stopped collecting a long time ago and just came across your collection again recently, there are certain steps that you can and should take to properly deal with your childhood coin collection that will help you determine the value of your coins and how you may wish to proceed with it.
Make a Categorical List or Database of Your Coins
When you were a child, you likely were not concerned with keeping records of your coin collection but were instead wrapped up with finding coins that look interesting to build up your collection. As such, one of the first steps that you will want to take with your long-term coin collection is to create a set of categorical lists or a database of all of the coins in your collection.
Categorical lists mean that you will divide your coins into various categories before you begin making a full list of your collection. If your collection is international, for example, start by first dividing your coins by country. Once you do that, continue to separate them by type of coin. For example, in the United States, pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters are the four main types of coins in circulation.
After your categories are set, the next step is to make your lists. In your list, include the country, coin type, mint date, and any distinguishing features like the wheat design on early pennies or the union shields on mid-century ones. This categorization and listing will help you to keep your collection as organized as possible.
Consider Seeking Out Coin Grading Services For Potentially Valuable Coins
Once you have a full list of all of your coins, the next step is to determine if any of those coins are particularly valuable. Generally speaking, newer coins (ones minted within the last 20 to 30 years) are not as valuable as those that are quite old. If you have any coins that were minted in the early to mid 1900s or even before that time period, you should contact a coin grading service to help you determine the condition of those coins.
Coin grading is the process of determine what shape your coin is in based on the wear and tear that your coin has endured. Coins that were taken out of circulation immediately after minting are in the best condition (extremely fine) and the coins that are almost completely worn down are graded as poor. Most coins fall in between these categories in the fine or good range.
After your collection is graded, you can then determine the value of each individual coin based on the coin grading and the year it was minted. If your coin collection happens to have any coins of significant value, you will want to take steps to protect those coins including placing them in a safe or safety deposit box in a banking institution. It will also be important to insure those coins as you would art or high-quality jewelry.
With this information in mind, you can be sure that you know what you can and should do with your childhood coin collection going forward.