The Gold and Silver Mine
A weekly column dedicated to “digging out” current information about precious metals, coins and other numismatics.
With the holiday gift giving season upon us, this is the perfect opportunity to start someone down the path of coin collecting, or to help along someone who has been involved in the hobby already.
When choosing a gift for the beginner, start simple so that they don’t become overwhelmed. This can involve giving them something as easy as a state quarter map like folder so that they can look for the various state quarters in change and place them in their respective places on the map. This also has the subtle benefit of teaching the location of the various states and, from the image on the respective quarters, teaches something about the state. For example, the New Jersey state quarter depicts George Washington crossing the Delaware river, a scene re-enacted every Christmas day.
Another choice, and one I stared with myself is the perennial favorite, the Lincoln cent album. I recommend the albumss starting with the date 1959 which have holes to insert one each of every date and mint for every cent minted since 1959. Both the cents and the quarters, with perseverance can be found in everyday pocket change, which keeps the cost down while providing “the thrill of the hunt”.
In order to learn about coins, it is advisable to read as much as possible and a great start is with “The Guide Book of United States Coins” also known as “The Red Book” because the cover is (what else) red. This book contains a wealth of information and should be the first book purchased for a beginning collector. It also is beneficial for an established collector, as new information is added every year. Additionally the book lists prices for every United States coins in their various grades of wear, but to me this is secondary to the knowledge to be gained form reading the book.
Buying coins for a collector can be a little trickier as knowing what the collector has or needs may not be evident. With a beginner, they have nothing, so a good start may be a set or coin of the current year, such as a proof set, or a silver or gold eagle. Proof sets also make good birthday gifts for beginners by giving one that is the date of the birth of the collector. For the more mature collector, choosing a gift becomes difficult without knowing their wants or needs and may require a little subtle probing.
Accessories also make great gifts, and one of the first to consider is a magnifying glass so that the collector can study the coins more closely. And don’t overlook other books. They run the gamut from generalized topics to specific research works on single style coin. My own library consists of over 50 books about coins, currency, medals and tokens, and I’m still looking for others.
Starting someone in the hobby of numismatics (that’s what they call coin collecting) can be the beginning of a rich and rewarding journey. And a thoughtful gift at this time of year can start that journey,
Douglas Keefe is the president of Beachcomber Coins, Inc. He and his wife Linda operate Beachcomber Coins and Collectibles formerly in the Shore Mall, now located at 6692 Black Horse Pike in the old WaWa building just past the former Cardiff Circle. The also have satellite offices in both Brigantine and Absecon. Between them they have over 70 years experience in the coin and precious metals business. They are members of The American Numismatic Association, The Industry Council of Tangible Assets, The Numismatic Guarantee Corporation, The Certified Coin Exchange and the Professional Coin Grading Service.