Coin collecting is a great way for kids to start learning about investing and pick up a fun hobby at the same time! Many different coins can be collected worldwide, some with fun designs, and others have great stories attached to them.
Starting a coin collection can be as simple as asking parents or friends for change from shopping trips or finding coins between the couch cushions. Serious collectors began collecting as a child and learned about currency (money) from all over the world, then added those to their collections!
Coins are great presents for holidays or birthdays, and coin collecting can quickly become a hobby that the whole family can enjoy together!
How to Get Started With Coin Collecting
In my family, every time a child is born, we give the family a glass mason jar with a hole in the top to put change in from cash purchases. Once the jar is full, a savings account is opened for the child using the change.
My niece is 4 years old and learning how to count, so we have given her control of the jar and are teaching her about pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and some dollar coins. She has a little coin purse that she carries around with her to spend some of her coins on little toys at the store.
We have shown her what’s in her savings account and explained how those coins work and what they are used for. She is learning the value of each coin and how to budget her coins and interact with cashiers at the store when she pays for her own toys!
What is Coin Collecting?
Many collectors start collecting as a hobby because an adult in their lives showed them the ins and outs when they were younger or passed on a coin collection to them that they had collected. Some collect because they like the history behind it and others collect because the coins go up in value over time, and it’s a good investment.
Collecting coins (also known as numismatics) is the practice of studying and collecting legal tender (currency). Numismatics is collecting coins, tokens, medals, and paper money.
Recently, we took my niece to a local coin store, and she excitedly showed the store owner her coins. He explained to her in the best way possible that some coins are worth more because:
- They are older and are harder to find now
- Are made out of better (higher quality) materials than modern coins are
- Come from other countries
- Only so many of that type of coin were made (minted)
- Heavier than other coins
The experience at the coin store taught all of us about coins, mints, and encouraged conversations about money management at the dinner table as a family later that night. The store owner took coins out of the case and explained why each was valuable and what could increase the value over time.
My niece now has a list of coins that she is saving up for to start her collection and wants to go back to the store soon to learn more. We have researched coin shows that she wants to attend when they are held in our local area and found that there are coin collecting clubs for kids that she can join!
What You’ll Learn From Coin Collecting
7 skills kids can learn from coin collecting include:
- Financial Literacy
- Organizational Skills
- Goal Setting
Kids learn the value of each coin and how to manage money by learning through repetition. Each coin counted and added to the collection can be logged and tracked using the:
- Coin type
- Year minted
- Country of origin
- Value updates
- Date coin was purchased or sold
- Amount coin was purchased or sold for
- How many of that coin were purchased at the same time (if buying more than one)
Logging coins allows kids to see what coins they have and figure out what coins they want to add to their collection later, especially when collecting sets of coins worth more if you own the entire set. Learning to log teaches research, goal setting, and organizational skills.
Many collectors love the history and culture behind why coins were minted, when, where, and then learning about the coin’s region. Kids love learning about the states where quarters come from and why the picture on each coin was chosen to represent that state.
Skills used as a kid when starting a coin collection can be used in other areas of life and for the rest of their lives. Attention to detail and care given when handling coins to maintain the condition of the coin are skills that can be used as an adult when running a business or working a job.
How to Ask Your Parents to Encourage Your Coin Collecting Hobby
Parents can help us learn how to properly care for coins to maintain their value and help us choose the best coins for our long-term goals. Ask your parents to learn with you and share stories from their own lives about collecting coins. This can be a great bonding experience!
How do we care for coins? Materials needed include:
- Soft cotton gloves for handling coins
- Soft pad or towel to put on surface when viewing coins
- Individual coin holders or albums for storage
- Magnifying glass for looking at coins
Parents and adults can help us store coins properly in cool, dark places with the documentation that came with the coin. Ask if they know of coin shops to visit for further education or to pick out some new coins for your collection!
Make sure coins are stored in a safe place and don’t use plastic liners that have polyvinyl chloride (PVC) because this can cause a green slime coating to form on the coin which decreases the value.
When handling coins, wear your soft cotton gloves and only hold the coin around the edges to prevent getting smudges on the face or rear of the coin. Fingerprints and the oils from our skin can damage coins over time and decrease their value.
Use the soft pad or towel under the coins when handling them if a coin gets dropped. This method prevents damage.
Remember to never brush or clean a coin because this can scratch the surface or damage the coin. Keep coins dry and never use solvents to clean dirty coins. Leave the coin in the state you found it, or seek professional advice on coin maintenance.
Coin Collecting Definitions
- Investing: This is the practice of spending time and money towards an activity that is meant to bring in profits or increase in value over time.
- Currency: The system of legal money that is used by a country or region and backed by the local government.
- Numismatics: Study and collection of currency (coins, paper money, tokens, and medals).
- Legal Tender: A form of money that governments support as a way to pay off monetary debt and is required by law for lenders (banks) to accept as payment.
- Mint: A mint is a location designated by a government to be a primary producer of that country’s currency and has the government’s permission to produce legal tender.
Books to Learn About Coin Collecting
Here are some of our favorites; check out our list of the best books on coin collecting for more recommendations!
- Coin Collecting for Kids by Steve Otfinoski. Take a tour of a United State Mint and learn about the history of money in this country. This book comes with coin slots to hold the entire $1 Presidential collection, all 50 state quarters, and the Westward Journey nickel series to get kids started with coin collecting! Target age group is 5-10 years old.
- A Kid’s Guide to Collecting Coins by Arlyn G. Sieber. An experienced, trained professional numismatist with 25 years experience shares fun ways to get started with coin collecting using very little money, cool tips about coins, and fun games to find coins to add to your collection. This book is aimed at getting kids involved in the “hobby of kings”, coin collecting!
- Coin Collecting for the Next Generation by Kevin Flynn. This book helps parents get kids interested in learning about the world of coin collecting using ideas developed by creative minds in the coin collecting field by focusing on teaching basic life skills like organization, responsibility, goal setting, attention to detail, and socialization.
- National Geographic Kids Everything Money: A wealth of facts, photos, and fun! by Kathy Furgang. Aimed at kids 8-12 and provides an in-depth view of money from all over the world using fun pictures, engaging stories, and stunning visuals that keep kids engaged.
- Coin Starter Kit & Activity Book for Kids – Explore & Discover Set by the U.S. Mint. Interactive activity booked meant to bring parents and kids together to learn about coins, how they are produced, and what makes certain coins more valuable than others. Six coins and magnifying glass included!