Getting Started in Coin Collecting

Getting started in coin collecting is actually very easy.  For example, upon the introduction of the 50 State Quarter program in 1999, millions of people succumbed to the irresistible urge to search through pocket change, hoping to find the newest state quarter release.

Most never moved beyond the status of casual collector, but for some, the State Quarter program served as the launching pad for a fulfilling numismatic vocation.

The 50 State Quarter Program attracted  millions of new collectors into the hobby.
The 50 State Quarter Program of 1999-2008 was a resounding success. The Mint estimated 130 million collectors(1) were pulling state quarters out of circulation, creating demand for millions of extra quarters. This generated $3 billion(2) in seigniorage profits. [Seigniorage is the Treasury profit from minting of coins, i.e., the difference between the cost of coin production (metal, labor, etc.) and the face value of the coin]. On Jan 4, 1999, the program launched with the release of the Delaware quarter, honoring the first state. Images by U.S. Mint.

It doesn’t take much effort to set aside a few coins, but what ingredients are necessary to advance from a fledgling to accomplished coin scholar?

This section of Rare Coins 101 is a roadmap for those wanting to become a coin collector but aren't quite sure how to move forward after they get started.

Turns out, there is quite a bit of training involved...

The collector “training regimen” is multifaceted, consisting of non-stop education, goal setting, relationship building, patience, passion, persistence, perceptiveness, and commitment of time.

This leads us to this not-so-surprising Rare Coins 101 Axiom:

The eventual rewards reaped from coin collecting are commensurate with the effort expended by the aspiring collector.

IOW, you get out of it what you put into it.  That's important to remember as you are getting started in coin collecting.

We've made it sound as if you're about to embark on a painful ordeal.  Thankfully, no, you are not about to enter Boot Camp!  Trust me, this is fun and fruitful.  Let’s start our training…

All the chapters referenced above are accessible from any other chapter in this section.  Thus, no need to return to this Introductory page to link to other chapters.

Becoming an adept coin collector requires a lot of effort, but the training regiment is not on par with a Boot Camp discipline.
A true coin collector does much more than simply set aside a few coins. Earning the title of “coin collector” requires you to master, among many things, the basics of the hobby, while setting goals and investing yourself emotionally. A never-ending desire to learn more and encourage others are positive attributes as well. How much you get out of it is commensurate with how much you put into it. The good news is you can proceed at your own pace. This isn’t like Boot Camp, where a tough drill sergeant is breathing down your neck! No one is going to shout "Drop and give me 30!" if you mistake the term "mintmark" for a type of candy. Image by Shutterstock.