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New to Coin Collecting

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Hello, I am new to the coin collecting world and I have a couple of questions I hope someone can help me with. 1st, are there any good books for beginners on coin collecting to read and also, I do have a couple old us coins and I would like to get them graded. Should I clean them before sending them to get graded or just leave them as is? Thank you! Joe

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Welcome, Joe.


Don't clean your coins.


If you can post images here, we might be able to tell you whether they merit submission to a grading company.


Regarding book recommendations - do you have any particular areas of interest?

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Welcome to the board.


I suggest buying books specific to the coins you are looking to collect for as much information related to that type as possible.


Ironically cleaning a coin significantly decreases the value. You never want to clean coins and in fact you should hold them on the sides only as oils and such on your skin can affect them with time.


Graded coins are worth more as they provide a measure of "insurance" to the owner/potential buyer about authenticity and condition. If you search on Ebay for example you will come across graded coins that include the words "Details, Improperly Cleaned". It only makes sense to have coins graded if they are worth (or likely worth) more than the costs to get them graded.


Good luck with your research and new hobby.

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Welcome to the neighborhood, Joe!


Since you're a beginner, there are two books I think you should buy:


Guide Book of United States Coins commonly called the Red Book, and


The Official ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins.


The Red Book can tell you about every series of coins used or produced in the US since colonial days. This would be a good place to start if you haven't decided on what specific types of coins you'd like to collect. The only caution I should offer is not to rely on the price guides as they may be a bit optimistic.


The ANA Grading Standards can help you learn how to grade coins to determine (as in your case) whether they would be worth submitting for authentication.


Both of these books are available on the Whitman Books website.



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If you're thinking of being more than a "casual" coin collector, then I'd highly recommend you read "The Coin Collector's Survival Manual" by Scott Travers.


It tells you how to go about being a coin collector, what common traps to avoid, how to become a more educated coin collector, what the grading services are, etc.


It's the book I wish I had read first back when I was a new collector.


The book is available in several editions, I'd recommend getting a recent one inexpensively from one of the used book websites unless you particularly want the newest edition.


I'd also recommend "A Guide Book of United States Coins" (the Red Book) - it will tell you about every US coin and many colonial coins. The book is essentially a retail price guide, but I wouldn't rely on the prices too much. The Red Book is published annually, again, I'd recommend getting one a few years old at a discounted price.


edited to add: DON'T clean your coins!

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On a Morgan Dollar, the mintmark is on the reverse, above and between the D and O of DOLLAR.


I don't see a mintmark on your coin, which means it was minted at the Philadelphia Mint.


The 1882 Morgan Dollar is a relatively "common" coin and, in circulated condition (as yours is), it isn't really worth spending the extra money to have a grading service grade and encapsulate it.

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Thanks for the advice on not cleaning the coins...

Here is one of the coins that I was thinking of grading. It's an 1882 Morgan. I could not find the mint mark anywhere on the coin. Here is a link to the pictures of the coin.






That 1882 Morgan Dollar is common, heavily circulated and worth about $25. It would be a waste of money to have it graded.


The fact that you were even thinking about it tells me you should save your money and do lots of reading and learning before you spend it.

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If you are going to collect coins decide what coins you are going to focus on and read all you can about learning to grade them. I would also buy a common MS 63 of the type just so you can look at it and see what the coins looked like right out of the mint. David Bowers is a great source of information and tells you how to go about procuring your coins. A focus on what you want to collect is a must. NEVER clean a coin. You can get all of them you want if they are not slabbed off EBAY. Once you determine what your focus is post your choice and let the guys that collect the same material help you via posting on this site.

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