I started collecting coins when I was ten years old. I believe I was more of a "coin accumulator" then a coin collector. My Dad and I would go to coin shows and coin shops and buy whatever tickled-my-fancy and I had enough money to buy. Additionally, I would buy rolls of pennies and nickels from our local bank in order to fill my blue Whitman coin folders with Lincoln cents and Jefferson nickels. The rest of my collection resided inside of a cigar box that I would occasionally dig through and look at.
Now, some 40 years later, I am a true coin collector. The overlying characteristic that differentiates coin accumulators from coin collectors is organization. True coin collectors organize their coins in folders, albums and holders in order to protect their metallic treasures and enjoy their beauty without damaging the coins. The other organizational characteristic that a true coin collector has is a catalog of the coins in their collection. The earlier you start cataloging your coin collection the easier it will be. Not only will your heirs appreciate your efforts when it comes time to liquidate your collection, but the IRS also has rules that will be easy to follow with a well cataloged coin collection. If you haven't started cataloging your collection yet, I have written an article that will get you started.