Coin Collecting 101 for Kids

If you’ve got a child interested in coin collecting, that’s great news! Having a collection of anything is a great way to learn. Not only is it educational, it’s a fun experience that you can share together. One of the best things you can do for your child is encourage them in the good things they are interested in. Take this opportunity with coin collecting to do just that.


How to Get Started

One of the first things your child should do is decide what type of coins they will collect. There are a lot of ways to gather them together in groups. They might include coins that are international, from the same mint, from the child’s birth year, from a time in history they find interesting or even a collection of a certain denomination (dimes, pennies, etc.). Choosing a group to start with doesn’t mean the child has to stop there. When their collection has taken off and they feel comfortable with the amount they have, they can start collecting some from another group.

Something else to consider in the beginning is buying something for your child to store their coins in. There are specific coin albums, envelopes and folders, as well as containers that fit certain denominations. If your child has a special container they would rather use, that would work just as well. Help them create a safe spot for the container, away from pets, younger siblings or anything that could destroy what they’ve gathered.


Understanding the Lingo

Your child might already understand some of the lingo associated with coin collecting, but it’s a good idea to have them do a little reading to really get the hang of what they’re doing. For example, do they know that an alloy is two or more metals mixed together? If they hear “business strike,” will they know the coin is intended for commercial, everyday use? A few other terms they might find helpful in the beginning are,


  • Circulated – This defines a coin that has been out in the world, used and worn.
  • Grade – This gives a description of how much wear a coin has.
  • Pedigree – This is a record kept, typically for rare coins, that shows who all previous owners were.
  • Token – A coin-like piece that isn’t officially issued by the government, but rather is privately-issued.
  • Year Set – A collection that contains each denomination in a particular year.


Of course, there are hundreds more to understand, so make an effort to get your child the reading materials they’ll need to really gain that knowledge. You could check out some history books from the library, subscribe to a coin magazine or even speak to someone at a hobby shop to learn more.


Finding What You’re Looking For

Your child doesn’t have to take a metal detector to the local park to start coin collecting, though it might be a fun activity. Let them look for spare change around the house to see if there are any coins that match up with the type they intend to collect. This won’t cost you much, and your child can learn a lot by starting with items they are already familiar with. If there are coins they can’t use, invite them to switch them out for others at the bank.

When your child has finished learning about the coins they have found around the house, they might be ready for something more. Coin shops, hobby stores, online auctions and coin shows are great resources for your child to find something they truly enjoy.


Taking Care of the Coins

It’s important for your child to take care of the items they have gathered. A few coin handling tips include:


  • Wash your hands before handling them.
  • Hold each coin by the edges, rather than touching the surface.
  • Have a clean, soft surface to lay the coins on.
  • Never drag, scoot or push the coins across any surface.


There are also some products your child might consider purchasing to really amplify the experience. Though the hands should still be washed, white cotton gloves can help to keep the coins protected while handling them. A magnifying glass will assist your child in getting a good look without touching the coins too excessively.


Having Fun

Coin collecting is a fun activity for the whole family. If your child is interested in it, take the initiative to help them get started by deciding exactly what to collect, obtaining a storage container, helping them understand the lingo and assisting them in collecting plenty of reading materials.