"Serving the Collector Since 1972"

Tools of a Numismatist

At a minimum, collectors should have a magnifier and an applicable reference book, though someone collecting only coins from circulation may be able to get by without them. A comfortable location with a suitable light source for examining coins is also advisable.

All sorts of magnifiers are available. For grading, 4X-10X magnification is sufficient, with 7X magnification considered by many to be ideal. Collectors of die varieties need 10X magnification or more.

Anyone purchasing coins should own at least one general reference book with information on dates and mintmarks, major varieties, grading guidelines and prices. Additional references examining topics in more detail (e.g. grading, counterfeit detection or die varieties) are often useful. Periodicals will have more recent pricing information and news. Good reference material can pay for themselves several times over by helping you avoid bad decisions.

Recommended lighting for examining coins is an incandescent source of about 75 watts (higher if other light sources are in the room) located within half a meter of where you'll hold the coins. Some people prefer halogen lamps, while fluorescent lights should be avoided. Find a comfortable location in your home where you won't be frequently distracted.

Depending on the collector's interests and value of the collectibles, other useful tools sometimes include a microscope, gloves, mask, velvet pad, additional references, metal detector, scale and/or photographic equipment.

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