There is more to coin collecting than just keeping coins. There is something at stake for those who make an effort to know what they are collecting: the Coin Collector’s Merit Badge.
A person who wants to acquire a merit badge must prove himself to be someone who knows a lot about coins.
Here are some of the things that a coin collector must know in order to earn the Merit Badge.
1. The Grading Scale
Merit badge aspirers must be very knowledgeable about the different grades of coins. They must master how to assess coins and categorize each coin as:
– Very good
– Very fine
– Extremely fine
They must also present five examples for each of the categories given above.
2. Coin Terminologies
Coin collectors must familiarize themselves to coin terms such as “encapsulated” coins, “proof” coins or legal tender to get the merit badge. They must be able to determine if coins are “buzzed” or “whizzed”.
They must also show competency in explaining the following:
– Date set
– Type set
3. Coin Storage
For a coin collector to achieve a merit badge, it is important that he knows how to take care, store and preserve coins.
Coin collectors must be able to demonstrate thorough knowledge in coin collecting by showing the councilors different methods of coin storage. It is expected that the advantages and disadvantages of the methods will be provided as well.
4. Coin Anatomy
Knowledge of the parts of the coins will give important information. That is why coin collectors who want a merit badge must know where the mint marks are located in various coins and they must also know where to look for the initials of the coin designer.
5. Miscellaneous things about coins
The councilors will be very pleased to hear stories about what you have learned about coins. These recollections may come from reading coin journals, attending workshops or seminars, joining a coin collectors’ club, or visiting mint facilities.
It is also expected that coin collectors know a lot about coins from other countries as well.
6. Counterfeit coins
A coin collector must have a perception of whether a coin is authentic or counterfeit.
Reading coin guides or interviewing personnel from mint facilities will be a help in this situation.
After knowing these things, you are now equipped with the knowledge needed to be worthy of the coin collectors’ merit badge.
There are many resources that can help coin collectors, old or new, in determining the value and worth of the coins they have.
There are books out, “The Red Book” (A Guide Book of US Coins), “The Blue Book” (A Handbook of US Coins), as well as coin newsletters and catalogues available at any public or private library, coin dealers/shops anywhere in the US. There are also online guides for the prices of US coins available on the web, specifically the NumisMedia site.
For a synopsis of the price of each coin, the following are the basic values of each cent, penny, or dime in the market.
The United States wheat-cent, the circulated ones
The price of these coins made prior to 1958, or those that are dated 1940, are currently being purchased by coin dealers for two cents each, or less. Those made before 1940 command a much higher price – from a few more cents to a few dollars.
Silver-dollars from the US, especially those made before 1935, have almost an ounce of silver in them. These coins are the favorites of coin collectors and could be sold for more than their actual value in silver if they are undamaged or not worn severely.
The dollars of Susan B. Anthony
If by luck you happen to get one of these as a change, the value is more than a dollar and proof Susan B. Anthony dollars command even more. They are not easy to fine as they are not usually being circulated.
Quarters, dollars and halves – the bicentennial kind
There were billions of these coins made out, and because there are so many of them, their worth is usually just face value. There are coin dealers however who pay ten percent of the face value as premium for circulated bicentennial coins, and a few dollars more for those that are uncirculated.
A freak coin
Believe it or not, there are two-headed coins out there. Basically, these are coins with two different designs on each face. These coins were made in error and mistake was not discoverer until the year 2000. This type of coins is usually called “mules”. In 1999, it was found that a cent with Lincoln’s face on one side and Roosevelt’s dime image on the other existed.
It you find a coin of this it must be taken to a legitimate coin dealer and assessed to determine if is genuine. If so, this coin could be put up for auction and command a few dollars more.
It is therefore true that a coin is basically worth more than meets the eye.
Collecting coins is a hobby that anyone and everyone could do. But collecting quarters is a hobby that – currently – it is estimated that one hundred six million Americans do. Men, women, and children of all ages are involved in collecting quarters.
What is it with these quarters that millions of people seem to go “gaga” about? Primarily, doing it is easy as quarters can be found almost anywhere and the collectible coins do not cost much more than face value.
So how should one collect (or start collecting) start collecting the very much in-demand quarters?
For the budget-conscious coin collector
If the collector is concerned with his or her budget, many quarters may be obtained as change from purchases. This is a very convenient and less lifestyle-invasive method of procuring quarters. If the collector is serious, bags of these coins can be purchased from coin dealers. Do not forget to choose those quarters that were not circulated!
How to store those quarters
For those just starting a coin collecting hobby, coins they collect are usually placed inside a large glass jar or bowl. This is perfectly fine. Serious collectors prefer coin storage devices especially made for coins that are available in coin shops and from coin dealers.
How to make quarter-collecting fun and interesting
Children are the perfect people to start a hobby such as coin collecting, quarters most specifically. Nothing beats the excitement of a new quarter in one’s pocket. Quarters are a unique, as well as a very inexpensive, way to get children interested in history. When they find a new coin, they can research it to find out the details of the state from which the coin came, etc. It is an effective way to have fun while learning.
The sequence of how the coins are minted, believe it or not, is based on the order of the states. Basic US history tells us that Delaware was the first state; therefore, this was the first quarter minted. For the sequence of the other states, check the schedule from 1999 to the 2008 of the US Mint.
Collecting quarters is a valuable hobby that has many benefits. It trains one to be patient, resourceful and appreciative of history and the value of the big and little things in life.
Old coins that is. Try looking under that old dresser, or up the attic where grandma or grandpa’s things may be stashed away patiently waiting for you to discover them. Who knows, you might find a coin there, an old coin that – at today’s rate – may be worth a few dollars; probably three or four or five, even ten times what the coin was worth back then.
A penny a day, is worth okay
Fortunately or unfortunately, there was a shortage of copper during the year 1943 and all pennies made at that time were minted using steel. There were however, some Lincoln pennies that were incorrectly minted on bronze that turned out to be blanks. A few years – or decades later -these bronze pennies became a rarity and are valuable. The steel ones though, because of their commonality, are worth only between one to three dollars each.
Be aware and be wary as there are schemes where gullible coin collectors are sold coins that are copper plated in an attempt to make these pennies appear to be bronze. Also, keep your guard up anytime someone offers you a circa 1943 penny made out of a metallic white alloy.
Old coins are good coins
Coins, specifically the silver dollars made and circulated between the years 1878 and 1935, are worth between twelve dollars and twenty five dollars for the circulated coins. The coins that were not in circulation are worth considerably more.
Meantime, those quarters, dimes, or half dollar coins made and circulated prior to 1965, are usually made out of ninety percent silver and therefore worth as much as today’s silver (with an additional premium, albeit small, put on the coin’s face value).
Wrong pennies are right
There is a Lincoln penny issued in 1972 on which the date and the letters on it appear to have been doubled. This rare coin is currently worth about sixty dollars, assuming the pennies are in standard condition. The Philadelphia Mint during that time period accidentally misaligned the die used in minting the coins causing the portrait of Lincoln to look like it was doubled. Fortunately or unfortunately, eighty thousand of these were circulated before the error was discovered.
In summary, coin collecting is similar to collecting bits of history and trivia from the past. In addition to the face value its worth as a treasure – pennies, dimes and coins – often are worth more in the long run.