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Numismatics 101

If you're new to coin collecting, take a few minutes to learn about numismatics and how to get started. You'll find additional information pertaining to numismatics within the Education Center menu on your right.

What is Numismatics?
As complicated as the word looks, its meaning is quite simple. Numismatics (new/miz/mat/ticks) is the study of coins, tokens, currency, and other similar objects (such as medals). Anyone who studies, or collects, any of these items is known as a numismatist (new/miz/muh/tist). It might surprise you to learn that numismatics, or coin collecting, has been around for centuries--as early as 25 B.C. In ancient times, numismatics was known as the "hobby of kings." Today, anyone can be a numismatist. In fact, coin collecting is the second-most popular hobby in the United States behind gardening. It is estimated that more than 150 million people collect the new state and national parks quarters, drawing increasingly more interest to the hobby each year.

Getting Started
Starting your own collection is easier than you might think. Chances are you already have a collection started. You might be saving a few of those state quarters or maybe you have a few foreign coins from international vacations. One of the questions often asked by new collectors is, "What should I collect first?" Ultimately, what you collect is up to you. There are three factors to consider when determining what to collect: (a) financial limitations; (b) time commitment; and, most importantly, (c) personal interests.

There are many different approaches you can take when beginning your collection. For example, if you enjoy world history, you might enjoy collecting ancient or foreign coins. If you are considering coins as an investment, then you might prefer the wide variety of gold, silver and platinum coins available. The possibilities are virtually endless. Consider browsing our wide selection of coins to help you decide how to begin your journey.

A common misconception about numismatics is that you have to be rich to collect. In fact, there are a number of sets that can be put together rather inexpensively. Lincoln Cents and Roosevelt Dimes are among the most popular and easiest collections to begin with. Their long production history and large mintages make them easy and relatively inexpensive to obtain, even in higher grades. They can provide you with a good foundation for future collections and are beneficial to your education and experience with coins and grading.

What Next?
Once you feel you are ready to start collecting, go for it! As a new collector, take it slow as you get started, but most importantly, have fun!

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