1. Home

Intermediate and Advanced Coin Collecting Supplies

Precision Coin Supplies for More Advanced Collectors


More advanced coin collectors need advanced coin collecting supplies. As you continue your journey into coin collecting, you will discover that there are more options than just date and mint mark and type collections. The field of die variety collecting is constantly expanding. As you begin to purchase more expensive coins you may want to authenticate and inspect them yourself. These advanced coin collecting supplies and tools will help you accomplish the goals of an advanced coin collector.

Digital Scale

A precision digital scale is a must for any intermediate or advanced coin collector. The scale is used to determine the exact weight of a coin. First and foremost, the weight of a coin is one of the determining factors in determining if a coin is authentic or counterfeit. Additionally, a precision digital scale can be used to determine if the coin is an error coin. For example, if a modern U.S. clad coin is struck on a silver blank or it is struck on a planchet from another denomination. Most digital scales allow you to select the unit of measure (grams, ounces, etc.). It is most important that the scale measures in grams and has accuracy to 0.01 grams.

Cost: $30 - $150

Digital Caliper

Digital Caliper
(c) James Bucki
Also known as sizing gauges, a digital caliper is used to precisely measure the diameter of a coin. The coin is carefully placed between the jaws of the caliper and the caliper is slowly closed until it makes contact on opposite sides of the coin. If a coin was struck out of collar, is a broad strike or possibly struck on an incorrect planchet, it will not have the proper diameter. The digital readout allows the user to select the unit of measure in inches or millimeters. The caliper must have an accuracy of at least 0.01 mm.

Cost: $20 - $60

Stereo Zoom Microscope

The stereo Zoom microscope allows coins to be inspected at a high level of magnification. It is important that your microscope has dual eyepieces and dual optics to provide the most accurate image of the coins surface. The unit should also include an internally mounted light on the neck of the microscope for properly illuminating your coin. A zoom range between 10X and 45X will provide you with the best field of view and magnification ranges. The stereo zoom microscope is used as a tool to authenticate coins and also determine die varieties. The least expensive microscopes will have poor quality optics and will provide a somewhat blurry image at best. It is best not to skimp on cost for this purchase.

Cost: $150 - $600

Natural Daylight Lamp

For precision coin grading a natural daylight lamp that provides the full spectrum of colors and natural white sunlight is a must. Most indoor lights tend to have lower spectrum colors such as red and will make uncirculated copper coins appear more red than they truly are. Conversely, fluorescent lights have more blue in them and will make silver coins appear brighter than they actually are. This will also aid you in determining if a coin is truly uncirculated or about uncirculated. The most popular lights used by professional numismatists are the brand names "Tensor Light" and "Ott Light".

Cost: $20 - $60

High-Quality Digital Camera

In order to document your coin collection you may want high-quality digital images of your coins. Be sure to buy a digital camera that has a macro setting usually indicated by a flower icon on the mode selection dial on the camera. The highest quality pictures are provided by digital SLR (single lens reflex) cameras. Your digital pictures can be used for insurance purposes in case a claim is ever necessary. An additional benefit of photographing your coin collection is that you can still enjoy your high-priced coins that are stored in your safe deposit box without actually having to travel to the bank.

Cost: $200 - $1,600

Coin Cataloging Software

Coin Cataloging Software Screen Shot
(c) James Bucki
Finally, it is most important to catalog your coin collection so that you know what coins you have and what coins you're looking for. This can also be used for insurance purposes and documenting your collection. Some of the most important features you should look for are: database of coin types, coin characteristics and updated coin prices and values. Additionally, this information will help your heirs make wise decisions when it comes time to liquidate your coin collection. Some of the more popular software packages are: Collector's Assistant by Carlisle Software Development, Exact Change by Wild Man Software, and Coin Elite by Trove Software.

Cost: $75 - $200
Read More on: How to Protect, Preserve and Store Your Coin Collection

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.