How to start a coin or banknote collection

You may think that making a numismatic collection is as simple as putting together coins and banknotes. However, the variety of possibilities is so huge that feeling lost and giving up in no time is quite common. Here you have some tips to enjoy your collection in the long term

Would you keep one (or many) coins of every country you’ve travelled to? Would you ask your traveller friends for a currency sample? Would you kill time analyzing the designs of the coins you have in your pocket? Would you spend way too much time in the numismatic sections of any historical museums you go to? 

If you answer yes to one or many of those questions we are pretty sure you would love to initiate yourself in the beautiful hobby of collecting coins or/and banknotes.

First of all, and before we start investing money on it, it is important to give a though to why and what we want to collect in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the endless options we have ahead.

Basic points
Let’s see some questions you need to ask yourself to have a successful start in this hobby: 

How much money I want to invest? There is no need to spend a lot of money to make your own collection. You can find affordable pieces on the Internet or flea markets. To keep in mind:  if you buy cheap don’t expect exclusivity or good conservation.

What do I want the collection for? Generally speaking there are two big groups of collectors (with many subgroups in between): a first one that consider it a hobby to spend  a good time with, and a second one that sees it like an investment  with the objective of acquire exceptional pieces in order to resell them in the future and obtain benefits .
For the first group, the quantity is more important that quality. The more coins or banknotes the better, more fun! The collectors in this group don’t plan to spend big amounts of money. But in the second group, the investors, usually are people with certain economical level (and usually a good knowledge of the numismatic world) that are after real gems. 

Where will I keep my collection? Keep valuable coins and notes in a drawer or a bag is definitely not a good idea. They may be damaged losing its value, especially if we talk about really old coins as the components may disappear, get rusty…. and same with banknotes. It is worth to trust a professional to encapsulate them so you can manipulate and show them as many time as you want without any risk or unexpected accident. If your collection has a certain value you should keep it in a safe place as well. 

What motivates me? It is a hobby so what really matters here is that we enjoy spending time in our collection. Starting with a theme that moves you is fundamental. Every new piece you acquire will bring you the joy you need to get to the next one. 


Collection types
Numismatics tells as much about the past times as any history book. Not in vain many collectors and are in between collecting and investigation and the bigger their achievements are, the difficult their goals become. 

Let’s see a small guide to decide what kind of collection is our perfect match. This is only an orientation and you can define your own criteria, of course. As we mentioned before, there are as many collections as collectors willing to make them:

  • By age: pick a history time you feel attracted by and find pieces minted then. It can be remote era or not. In fact, the closest to the present time, the easier will be to find them. 
  • By geography:  Spanish, American, Lathin, European… A bit of previous research will help you to see the quantity of money minted in the region you choose. Once again, the bigger the easiest. 
  • Special editions: not minted as regular money but only to be collected
  • By metal: there are quite a few metals in numismatics. Gold and silver coins can be very expensive and shortage years a real headache.
  • By series or mint year
  • Rarities

To keep in mind
It is not the same the numismatic value than the coin value itself. For example, a copper coin can have much more value than a golden one. There are many factors to consider such antiquity, rarity, singularity, conservation… And the same with banknotes.  A poorly conservated banknote is devaluated even when is a gem. 

If you are new in this world, our advice is to set yourself an easy goal to start with. It’s important you spend some time reading and get informed before buying a piece (especially if it’s a expensive one) to avoid fraud and unpleasant surprises.  And, if you are not sure about anything, asking a professional is always a good idea.

Would you like to share with us what collection are you making?