Beyond the Size

The Thrill of Coin Collecting: Tips and Tools for Beginners

Coin collecting is a fun and rewarding hobby that provides collectors with an opportunity to examine coins from different eras, countries, and designs. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of coin collecting, including how to measure the thickness of coins, the composition of U.S. coins, cleaning and storing coins, and collecting international coins.

By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of coin collecting and be equipped with tools and knowledge necessary to start your own collection.

Measuring the Thickness of Coins

One of the essential aspects of coin collecting is measuring the thickness of coins. The thickness of a coin is an important factor in determining its value and authenticity.

An easy way to measure the thickness of coins is by stacking them. Coins that are functionally flat and have a consistent thickness will stack neatly.

However, coins that are thicker or thinner than others may not fit together correctly and indicate a problem. Using a caliper is another tool used to measure the thickness of coins accurately.

Composition and Standard Thickness of U.S. Coins

Understanding the composition and standard thickness of United States coins is an essential part of coin collecting. U.S. coins are made up of copper, nickel, zinc, and other materials.

Quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies all have different compositions. Additionally, each coin has a standard thickness that is set by the U.S. mint.

Knowing the composition and thickness of U.S. coins can help collectors determine the authenticity of the coins.

Wear and Damage to Coins

Coins can experience wear and damage over time, which can affect their value. Physical damage, such as dents, scratches, and gouges, can reduce the value of the coin.

Corrosion and bubbles can also form on coins over time, which may require professional cleaning. Learning how to identify wear and damage to coins is an essential skill for collectors.

Tools for Collectors

Collectors need specific tools to clean, measure, and store their coins properly. A caliper is an essential tool for measuring the thickness of a coin accurately.

Another important tool is a cleaning solution that is designed to clean coins without damaging them. You can purchase specialized coin storage boxes and albums to ensure that your coins are protected from damage.

Keeping your coins in a dust-free environment is also crucial.

Cleaning Gunky Coins

Gunky coins are coins that have lost their shine and have become discolored or sticky. There are several reasons why coins may become gunky, such as variation in materials or exposure to the environment.

Cleaning gunky coins requires some care as using the wrong cleaning solution can strip essential coatings and damage the coin. A safe cleaning method is to use distilled water, dish soap, and a soft brush.

After cleaning, it is essential to dry the coins thoroughly.

Never Activities for Collectors

Some activities should be avoided by collectors. Using acid cleaning or bleach is too harsh and can damage the coin’s surface.

Never store coins in airtight containers, as the container may trap moisture inside, which can cause the coin to corrode. Avoid storing coins in direct sunlight or near paper as sulfur in the paper can react with the coin and cause damage.

When to Hire a Professional

Serious collectors may have coins that require professional cleaning or evaluation. Hiring a professional is essential for collectors who have rare coins with significant historical or cultural value.

Professionals have connections with other collectors and dealers and may be able to help collectors find a buyer or expand their collection.

Collecting Coins from Around the World

Collecting international coins is an exciting aspect of coin collecting. International coins come in different shapes, sizes, and designs.

They can be obtained from antique shops, coin dealers, online merchants, and even during travels abroad. Collectors can display their international coins in a collection box or album.

Some examples of popular international coins are the Euro, the Canadian Loonie, and the Mexican peso.


Coin collecting is a fascinating hobby that offers collectors an opportunity to learn about different currencies and their histories. Measuring the thickness of coins, knowing the composition and standard thickness of United States coins, and understanding how to clean and store coins are all important elements in the world of coin collecting.

Collecting international coins is a great way to expand your collection and learn about different cultures. With the knowledge gained from this article, you can start your own collection and enjoy this fun and rewarding hobby.

In conclusion, coin collecting is a rewarding hobby that allows collectors to explore the world’s currencies and their rich histories. It requires patience, attention to detail, and a willingness to learn.

In this article, we have covered the basics of measuring the thickness of coins, understanding the composition and standard thickness of U.S. coins, the importance of cleaning and storing coins properly, and collecting international coins. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned collector, it is never too late to start your collection and enjoy the beauty and excitement of coin collecting.


1. What is the composition of U.S. coins?

U.S. coins are made up of copper, nickel, zinc, and other materials, depending on the denomination. 2.

What is the importance of cleaning and storing coins properly? Proper cleaning and storing of coins can help prevent damage, maintain their value, and preserve their historical significance.

3. How do I measure the thickness of a coin accurately?

A caliper is an essential tool for measuring the thickness of a coin accurately. 4.

Can I clean coins with acid or bleach? No, using acid or bleach is too harsh and can damage the coin’s surface.

5. Why should I collect international coins?

Collecting international coins is an exciting way to learn about different cultures and currencies and expand your collection.

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