Coin Collecting FAQ

Written by Chuck D'Ambra, Mike Locke, Michael Caver, Andrew Andison, Mike Marotta, Andrew Tumber, John Muchow, Tony Clayton, Clint Cummins, Lou Coles, Mike Dworetsky, Rita Laws and Nosmo King.  Last updated 13 August 2014.  Copyright Notice

This page answers frequently asked questions about coin collecting.  While some of the material is applicable to other numismatic collectibles, the emphasis here is on coins.  In some cases, more complete information is provided for U.S. coins.  This FAQ and Glossary were originally written by Chuck D'Ambra in 1995 and periodically updated until 2010.  Other contributors are credited above.  Inclusion of a product, dealer or company in this FAQ does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation.

Table of Contents

What's It Worth?

1. What are my coins worth?


2. What is numismatics?
3. What coins do people collect?
4. What's the best way to get started?
5. Where to find collectable coins
6. How to handle coins
7. Grading
8. Pricing
9. What's the best way to clean my coins?
10. How can one tell when a coin has been cleaned, especially if it was cleaned long ago?
11. How should I store my coins?
12. Tools of the trade
13. How can I protect my collection from loss by fire or theft?

Internet Resources

14. Numismatic Web sites
15. Are lists of coin values available online?

Coins as Investments

16. Risks of investing in coins
17. Bullion coins
18. Rare coins

Miscellaneous Topics

19. Numismatic Publications
20. What are proof coins? What's the difference between the various proof sets offered in recent years by the U.S. mint?
21. What are slabs?
22. How can coins be removed from slabs?
23. What materials have been used to make coins? Written and hosted by Tony Clayton
24. What's the best way to send coins to someone?
25. Clubs and other collector organizations