1. Get a coin catalog
Theory comes before practice, at least as concerns coin collecting. If you want to start collecting coins, get an up-to-date edition of a coin catalog (at least if newer coins interest you as well). The best known Australian coin catalogs are the Renniks and McDonalds catalogue.
2. Visit a coin shop
Chances are you have seen the Numismatics collection at Museum Victoria, but let’s just say they don’t allow you to really inspect the coins there. Coin shops, on the other hand, allow you to become familiar with the look and feel of the Royal Australian Mint (RAM) coins and how they’re packaged. If you’re thrilled about coins now, just wait until you enter the shop.
3. Never rush a purchase
Perhaps you’ve inherited your coins and want to expand a collection; perhaps you’re yet to purchase your first coin. Still, it’s a very good idea to do some research or even ask an independent specialist before committing to buy a coin. There have been cases where people pay $100 for a $3 coin that’s still available at the mint, so it’s quite natural to be careful.
4. Wait before buying current RAM issues
New RAM issues are typically sold on auction sites the year they have been issued for a price that can be much lower than the original. It’s probably because people invest in coins and then run into financial difficulties, but, in the end, you’re helping them and they’re helping you.
5. Don’t clean your coins
This is especially true if you plan to sell them later, but every newcomer should know that collectors value the original wear & tear as opposed to chemically cleaned coins. Here’s a small overview about what you need to know about cleaning coins.
6. Store your coins smartly
First of all, keep them away from children, thieves and other people. Store them in a safe place. Also, you should avoid storing solutions that have polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in them. You can either order storage solutions online or in a coin shop.
7. Find friends & communicate with other collectors
Visit numismatics forums, read and comment on blogs (perhaps leave a comment here?) to find friends. They will not only help you through your coin collection journey, but having friends also leaves that warm and fuzzy feeling that human interaction tends to bring.
8. Learn to grade
If you want to buy pre-decimal coins (coins prior to 1966), you should learn to grade your coins. Even if you’re lazy and can’t be bothered, not knowing how to grade coins just puts you at so much risk as you’d have to trust the seller on everything.
9. Don’t try to earn anything… just yet
When you’re just starting out, buying coins with profit in mind is something akin to madness, because others are just so much more knowledgeable than you. Even when you’re a respected & well-known coin collector, you can only so much as speculate whether the coin will bring profit, albeit you can speculate with a justification. Plus coins are beautiful, and you shouldn’t want to sell them unless you really need the money.
10. Have fun
You absolutely need to have fun if numismatics is your hobby. It’s just so illogical to do something in your spare time if it’s no fun. If you want only to earn something, well that’s fine but there are probably better options. If you don’t have the money to get coins yet, you can always read a book that has a lot of good info.