Tools of the Trade: Coin Collector’s Toolbox
As far as hobbies go, coin collecting is fairly simple when it comes to the tools you need to succeed. However, there are a few certain items that can take your coin collecting to a higher level.
A Magnifying Tool
Possibly the most important tool in the coin collector’s arsenal is a magnifier. The naked eye will not tell you much about that coin you are considering, so experts advise all coin collectors to invest in some sort of magnifying tool to help with inspecting coins. Magnifiers will help you identify a coin’s features and condition, which can help you determine value and whether or not you would like to invest.
It is important to make sure your magnifier has a higher quality lens that does not have too much or too little magnification. The ideal size for the average collector should range between 5x and 10x magnification; many consider 7x to be ideal. However, for more detailed inspection, many collectors also have a magnifier between 10x and 20x on hand.
There are a few types of magnifiers that coin collectors choose to use: magnifying glasses, loupes, small microscopes, and the list goes on and on. Choosing the right one for you greatly depends on the coins you plan to collect and what you plan to do with them.
Take a look at our professional grade magnifiers and loupes.
Just as important as a magnifier, a coin collector should get their hands on a great coin reference book. Luckily, there are numerous options to get you started – notably The Official Red Book of United States coins which comes out with a new, updated volume every year.
If you decide to collect a specific series or focus on coins from another country, there is likely a reference book out there that can give you the details for which you are looking. If you can not find what you are looking for in reference books, the majority of information you may need for your collecting can likely be found online.
Tools for Proper Handling
It is also important to take care when inspecting or generally handling your coins. The oil and dirt from your skin can affect a coin’s surface quality, damage the coin, and reduce its overall value. There are numerous products designed to help with this at all stages of collection and examination.
For handling your coins, a pair of cotton gloves is a great purchase to help you handle your coins with care. Remember to always hold your coin by the sides rather than the face even when wearing gloves. Coin tongs are another great option for handling coins if you wish to avoid touching the coin at all. If you do not have gloves or coin tongs on hand, a soft towel will also do the trick.
For examination purposes, a padded tray is a great way to make sure that your coins stay where you place them. These trays can be used to sort or display coins safely.
A Coin Holder or Case
For displaying your coins, there are numerous coin cases and holders you can purchase. They include:
These displays also come in a variety of price ranges for both the expert and casual coin collector. Either way, protecting your coins while on display is important for retaining their quality.
A Bright Workspace
Having a clean, bright workspace is important for proper examination of your coins. It is typically recommended that you use an incandescent bulb with around 75 watts. This number can be higher if you have other lights on in your area. Other bulbs can also be used, but florescent lights should be avoided if possible.
Cleaning your coins is a must, especially if you have decided you would like to collect older or circulated coins, but it must be done carefully so as not to compromise the coins’ value. That means avoiding tap water and harsh soaps or acetone.
Using a weak soap combined with distilled water should remove any dirt and grime from the coin without damaging the coin itself. If you have a severely grimy coin, soaking in olive oil may also be an option.
If you would like to learn more about collecting coins or look for your next collector’s piece, Provident Metals is here to help. We offer all the tools and supplies you need to get started as well as an expansive collection of collectable coins. We’re also available for contact to answer any questions you may have.