Collecting coins is a hugely popular hobby, and can be both immensely rewarding and relatively profitable. There is no limit to the joy that can be derived from a collection of coins from around the world, whether it comes from the aesthetic and artistic value, the appreciation of diverse culture and history, or merely the satisfaction inherent in the act of collection itself.
As a global online marketplace, eBay is an absolutely essential companion for anyone looking to begin their collection, providing access to an enormous selection of sellers and collectables.
However, to someone new to coin collection, the sheer number of coins of all different types available may be a little overwhelming. It is the intention of this guide to assist anyone looking to begin their journey as a coin collector.
A Guide to World Coins
The following is a guide to some of the more popular collector’s coins from around the world, split into category by area of origin. Provided is the Country or region of the coin, the value and name of the coin, and the year it was released.
There are countless coins of value to a collector, and the coins listed here are obviously just a tiny portion of the more prestigious world coins, which vary wildly in price. Extensive research is an important part of the collecting process, and is essential to finding an interesting coin within a feasible price range.
- Chinese 3 Yuan, 1992
- Hong Kong 1 Dollar, 1980
- Indian 1 Rupee, 2002
- Japanese 1 Yen, 5 Yen and 10 Yen, 2004
- Pakistani 5 Rupees, 2002
- Thai 1 Baht, 1999
- Korean 5000 Won 1988
- Malawi 10 Kwacha, 2012
- Equatorial Guinea 1 Peseta, 1969
- Mali 5 Francs, 1961
- Kenya 20 Shillings, 2005
- Cape Verde 100 Escudos, 1994
- 5 cent, 1958
- 5 cent, 1972
- 20 cent, 1968
- 50 cent, 1997
- Coat of Arms 50 cent, 1992
- Victoria Cross Dollar, 2000
- Austrian 500 Schilling, 1995, 1000 Schilling, 1994
- Belgian 50 Francs, 1958
- German 20 Mark, 1972, 20 Mark, 1990
- Spanish 2 Pesetas, 1983
- French 10 Francs, 1998
- British 1 Pound, 1993
- Irish 10 Euro, 2004
- Italian 500 Lire, 1984
- 50 cent 1974
- 1 Dollar 1979
- 50 cent 1994
Starting a Coin Collection
Knowing where to begin can at first seem like one of the most difficult things about coin collecting. Some collectors may know exactly what they are looking for in their collection, in which case this is simply a matter of searching. The eBay search bar is located at the top of any given eBay page, and is designed to be straightforward and intuitive (though there is a Search Tips page designed to help with any difficulties encountered). However, most beginners will not have a clear idea of where to start. Following are a few suggestions:
- It can be helpful to think about when and where the coins come from. Some collectors will be consciously interested in coins from a specific locale or time period, such as currency from 18th Century India, or 30s Britain. A particular interest in a culture or historical period can help determine where a collection begins.
- Alternatively, an aspiring collector might be interested in the process and rewards of collecting itself, without having a specific location or era in mind. In this case, browsing can be very helpful. This is another area where eBay proves useful; there are many pre-existing collections available. These can be extremely convenient, giving a new collector a base to operate from, and establishing a theme for the collection.
- All coins, even ones currently in circulation, can have a fascinating historical aura, and using pocket change has the added benefits of being free and requiring little time to organise. However, before long, most collectors will yearn for more exotic fare, and in that case eBay is the perfect place to turn.
It is the nature of collections that once started, they must be expanded. To this end, eBay is an exceptionally useful and arguably indispensable aid.
How to Shop for Coins on eBay
There is a huge selection of collectable coins available on eBay, from all around the world. The listings can be found in their entirety in the Collectables section under the Coins heading, and then in the World Coins sub-category.
There are numerous methods of categorising the coins to assist with ease of browsing. The coins can be categorised by region of origin (i.e. Asia or Africa), country, condition, price and seller. There is also a category for entire collections. Items can also be sorted between the “Auction” and “Buy it Now” options, which gives a little extra control over the purchasing process.
Important information about the nature of the product is often displayed clearly in the listings, allowing the buyer to quickly and easily identify whether or not the listed item meets any specific requirements they may have.
More detailed information is usually supplied on the actual item page, which helps buyers make a more informed choice, along with information about the seller, reviews and feedback ratings, which are all intended to help the buyer shop with confidence and awareness. If there is any important information not displayed, there is also the Ask the Seller option, which allows the buyer to contact the seller directly and seek that information. These features combine to make eBay the quintessential place to look for new additions to a world coin collection.
As mentioned above, when searching for a specific item, it is a good idea to use the search function, which can be found near the top of the page. If this proves unresponsive, the Search Tips page offers helpful hints and advice.
What to Look for in a Coin
There are a number of features of any given coin that determine its value on the collector’s market, which are in the vast majority of cases unconnected to its actual market value. The more experience a collector acquires, the easier it will become for them to identify these features, but a beginner may not know what to look for. The following is a brief guide to the basic principles which can affect collectable coin value.
All coins will have a date mark. Without a date mark, it is very difficult to determine a coin’s age and, often, value. Whilst there is no fixed correlation between the age of a coin and the value, there is a trend that suggests a relationship between how old a coin is and how much it is worth.
As with most collector’s items, the rarity of a unit is one of the factors that determine its value. The relationship mentioned above between age and value is the result of a more tangible correlation between age and rarity. The longer a line of coins exists, the fewer of those coins exist, and thus the more valuable they are.
Another important factor is how well the coin was originally struck; In other words, how well the coin was made. This is very difficult to determine, however, as it requires a high level of expertise in the field of coin-making. As such, a novice coin collector will normally be concerned with more easily distinguished factors.
Wear is probably the most useful aspect of the coin for a novice collector to focus on. It is one of the fundamental rules of collecting that damage reduces worth, since damage so visibly spoils the look of the coin. So, not only does it have a very direct and proportional effect on the value, it is also the most easily noticeable determining factor. Things to look out for include:
- Scratches and dents
- Smoothing/rounding down of raised detail
- How clearly identifiable the markings are
- How reflective or shiny the metal is
Storage of the Coin
Once a collection has been started, one of the things to think about is where to keep the coins. There are all manner of padded coin cases available on eBay. Some will be included in purchases of large groups or pre-existing collections of coins, whilst others are sold separately.
Choosing a display case is often as crucial to the appearance of the collection as the coins themselves, but whilst there is a diverse selection, it is sometimes an unaffordable luxury, in which case there are numerous less extravagant, more practical options. The following is a brief guide to the different kinds available:
- 2x2s – Cardboard holders which hold one or more coins. They measure two inches by two inches, though smaller or larger versions are available. They are cheap and practical, though provide less protection than most other kinds of container. 2x2s are usually kept in 2x2 pages, which are pages of plastic sockets designed to keep 2x2s in, providing more protection and allowing the collection to be viewed easily.
- Hard Plastic Coin Containers – These are a highly effective form of coin protection. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours, allow the coin to be viewed from both sides, and will keep the coin safe. They are, however, expensive and bulky to store.Coin Tubes – These allow you to store rolls of coins together, providing a premium of space. However, they provide the least protection, as coins may become damaged from contact with each other and with the plastic.Encapsulated Coins–The coin is sealed permanently inside a rigid, airtight plastic container. This provides the optimum protection; it is very difficult to even damage an encapsulated coin. Further, when a coin is encapsulated it is examined for authenticity by an expert, so the coin is guaranteed to be genuine. This method of storage is expensive, and has the added disadvantage that the collector cannot remove the coin.
The world of coin collecting is a vast and exciting one. The history and culture imbued in each coin gives it a value far beyond its retail price, and the rewards of an expanding collection are profound. eBay is the perfect place to shop for coins, with its huge selection, and its versatile and customisable interface. They key points to remember are:
With these in mind, anyone interested in either beginning a collection or expanding an existing collection should be able to use eBay effectively and easily to achieve their aims.