How to Collect Coins / Numismatics for Beginners

Before drawing a thin line and explaining basic advises for beginners, first of all it is worth emphasizing that numismatics, despite the general thought of collecting coins, is the discipline of study and collection of all kinds of money and payment tools. I.e coins, paper money, tokens and etc. Nevertheless, most people around the world prefer to collect coins rather than other payment and trade tools and thus find it OK to call themselves numismatists. There are several reasons to the popularity of coins against paper money and some of them are:

a) most people start collecting money since childhood and at this particular age collecting coins is more affordable and funnier rather than paper money;
b) paper money tends to worn out, get old and spoil very fast, where coins can survive centuries;
c) most of numismatists do understand that paper money is just a "paper" which has no material value except its face value, where coins are at least made of metals like aluminum, copper, nickel, bronze and even precious metals like silver and gold (this fact alone plays a huge role in the final decision of a numismatist);

So, what are the basic tips for beginners? Here they are:

1) Collect coins rather than paper money due to reasons stated above (a, b and c);

2) Collect coins in one of these four directions:

a) of a certain geographic area, i.e coins of a country or a region because no matter how much efforts and money you spend, it will be almost impossible to collect coins of all countries. First of all because there are too many countries to collect and secondly, because each country may have dozens of different coin issues in different ages. So do choose a certain country (example: England) or a region (example: Central and North America, or Scandinavian and Baltic States) and start collecting all issues of its coins from dark ages up to now. This way you will have chances to build a full collection and it will indeed have a certain value.

b) of a certain subject. Examples are: coins which have illustrations of ships and vessels, coins which have illustrations of wild animals and nature, coins which have illustrations of railroads and railway transportation, coins of WWI or WWII period and etc, just find your subject of interest and go for it.

c) rare collectibles which include issues of small amount, issues with damage, issues to commemorate a certain event and etc.

d) coins made of precious metals. This niche is basically not for everybody simply because not everyone can afford collecting coins made of gold, silver or palladium. There's always lack of money for purchase and a constant fear of somebody stealing your collection. Nevertheless, it is probably better to collect coins made of precious metals (at least silver) rather than paying for aluminum and copper-nickel junk. First and foremost, coins made of precious metals can always buy you food, clothes, fuel and other important life-supporting tools in times of famine, inflation, financial collapse and so on. Even when it is not a legal tender, it may still be a tool for trading. So it is indeed one of the best ways of keeping your investments. Paper money always has a risk of becoming a roll of toilet paper one day. Remember that metals as gold and silver are constantly used in electronics, medicine, weapon industry and so on. This fact alone makes them a good investment. However, I won't recommend to overpay for old collectibles because these particular gold and silver coins are usually overpriced. The best purchase is buying silver and gold bullion coins depending on your budget. Bullion coins are usually slightly close in price to the metal's market price. You never pay a double price, usually it is about 15-25% on it. Bullion coins are usually issued in weights of 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10 and 1/20 troy ounce. 1 troy ounce equals 31.1 grams. Bullion coins are usually made of fine piece, i.e 999.9 for Gold and Silver. Coins made of Palladium and Platinum are less popular. The most popular Gold and Silver bullion coins are these:

American Eagle
Canadian Maple Leaf
North African Krugerrand
Australian Nugget
Austrian Philharmonic
Chinese Panda

Silver coins can also be found in your pocket. Some counties (example: US dimes and quarters, Swiss Francs and etc) used to issue coins which were made of 90% silver. This, for most of them was before 1960's. If you still haven't realized its value, imagine this: in more 40 years after cancellation of silver standard in coins, silver price grew more than 10 times and the silver US quarter for example, when valued as a precious metal can cost 5-6 times more than its face value. So, do your homework research on it and hopefully you'll find some precious stuff in your pocket, which was just a change from a local grocery store.

That's all of the basic info a beginner numismatist may need. Please do plan everything beforehand so that you won't pay for junk. And the most important part is to stay calm and not to collect as a maniac. Some numismatists spend thousands of dollars to fill their collections and can't sleep at nights when their collection is missing one last chain. This just a hobby, keep cool about it.

Good luck!