Mail Bag – Which Coins Should I Collect?

Today’s Mail Bag question comes in from Adam who asks what coins they should collect as they start out their collection. It is an important one and a question that inevitably every collector has asked themselves at some point. The answer, however, is a bit more complicated.


I am just starting my collection and I have a few pennies, nickels and quarters. What should I start with first? What should I collect overall?



Let me address your second question first because that one is the most straightforward. You should collect what you want to collect. Collect what makes you happy and brings you enjoyment in the hobby. Simply put, there is no wrong answer to this question. Everyone who collects has a favorite type or denomination they like to own but that may not be what you like.

I’ll refer you back to a previous Mail Bag article on collecting commemorative coins. In that article, I used an example that is applicable to you to Adam.

Let me give you a real world example. If you don’t follow Coins for Amateurs on Twitter, you should. He and his wife, MrsCFA, have some great insights on collecting in general and a great YouTube channel to follow as well. He covers a lot of topics but if I had to suggest two of his specialities (along with his entire family) is metal detecting and error coins. If you look through his Twitter account and on YouTube, you will see dozens of examples of what I’m talking about. For him, and his family, these things are a part of the fun and enthusiasm they have for coin collecting. 

For me, those two things have nearly no interest at all! It’s not that I don’t care about the its just that…. I have other things that bring me joy and enthusiasm. Like Jefferson Nickels for example. Most people completely bypass this staple of our coinage and I love them. Yeah they are boring and yeah they wear easy but I like them a lot. Others, maybe even you Raul, would look at that and say “no way I’m collecting Nickels!” And that my friend is totally cool with me.

Mail Bag from July 8, 2019

So Adam, the sum of it is, you should collect what makes you happy.

As to your first question, what you should start with first, that too is personal. When I first started collecting, I started with Cents because they were readily available, were cheaper to purchase, and there are hundreds of coins to collect when you consider years and mint marks. So what you should start with is likely going to depend on both what interests you more (Cents, Nickels, or Quarters in your case) and what your budget will allow for you to pick up. Don’t forget that when it comes to all three of these denominations, there is a lot of fun in getting rolls from your local bank and searching them for coins to add to your collection.

For those who have a question for the Mail Bag, please use the contact form on the About page to send it in.

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