I don’t know why, but this will probably be my favorite post I write on this site. There’s something so voyeuristic about seeing where people hoard their things :) Especially their valuable things. And, just like money is so taboo to talk about in the open these days, I’d imagine sharing pictures of people’s coin collections are too.
While I won’t be sharing *everything* with y’all today, I will be giving you a glimpse into my 2-year collection so far, as well as how I store and track my coins too. It’s not as sexy as finding out about people’s finances, but fortunately for you I’ve got you covered on that front too: Check out my Net Worth Tracker over at RockstarFinance.com – another project of mine focused on money motivation :)
When you’re done drooling, come back and finish reading this…
The Two Parts to My Collection
I divide up my coin collection into two parts:
- Those I love and will probably keep for a very very long time (the “box”)
- Those I could care less about and used for a sell or trade (the “binder”)
Now collection #2 doesn’t mean they’re $hit coins or anything – some of them are actually quite decent – but they’re just those I don’t want to keep with my “special” ones for one reason or another. Say, because I already have one of them or it’s a type I’m not interested in collecting. This is even better than separating out the good ones vs the duds because it give you more trading/selling power! Which you can then use to add to your #1 collection :)
[Side note: I used to have everything in one spot, but mentally it drove me crazy. Every time I’d sit down to enjoy looking through my favorite collection, I’d see the others in there distracting me and taking away my focus. Which is fine and dandy if I wanted to strategize about offloading them, but that’s usually not the case when I whip out my special box.]
Before we get to these two parts of my collection, the *first* place any new coin I get goes is right to my desk below my computer monitor. As shown here:
This is so that I can appreciate them more and check ’em out before they get put into one of the two collections mentioned above. I typically keep these coins on my desk until I eventually get tired of looking at them, or newer, more exciting, ones come into my hands. They also serve as a nice break from my work days as I pick them up to admire every few hours :) (I work from home as a self-employed entrepreneur)
You can read more about this (and the coins pictured) here: How to appreciate your coins more
Now onto my collections…
Part I: My “Special” Collection
This is where all the magic is :) My favorite coins that I’ve either inherited, bought, or even better – traded for. This is the container, shown above, that I grab whenever I want to look over “my collection.” You’ll probably like this route if you’re a minimalist since everything is in one small place rather than scattered around. Which also makes it easy to store in a safe too, though unfortunately there’s nothing super valuable in mine as yet, haha…
It’s also important to note *how* I prefer my coins too. I.E. I like them “raw” and un-slabbed so I can hold and appreciate them better, as well as fit more into my box.
I’m not necessarily against “slabbed” and graded coins – if I had a really valuable one I’d probably go ahead and get it professionally graded – but I just prefer the less bulkier route. It feels more “real” and exciting to me, and I still very much keep them protected using direct “air-tites” – my favorite type of storage. They don’t fit all coins perfectly, but in those instances I just order 1 size larger and it works just as nicely. I use this size chart here, if it helps.
Also, a small (big?) part of me likes wondering if any of my coins are worth more than initially thought or traded for too :) And if they’re not professionally graded and looked at thoroughly, the chances technically exist for a small miracle to happen, haha… Though, yes, the opposite holds true too.
Here’s a sneak peek into this collection:
As you can see, I merely use an old cigar box I picked up years ago at a yard sale – it’s nothing fancy. You can do the same thing too, if you like. Or even a bigger/smaller one depending on your own collection. Though I should point out I’ve had some people tell me cigar boxes are bad for coins, and others that say it’s fine without the humidifying part – esp. if they’re in air-tites. So you may want to go another route if it concerns you. (Maybe someone reading this right now can shed more light on the topic? Are my coins going to turn worthless over time? ;))
That gives you a good idea of my special collection, anyways. Perhaps next time I’ll show you all of it if I’m feeling feisty ;) Gotta keep you hangin’ at least for now though to keep you coming back, right? Plus, as I mentioned earlier, there’s really nothing too secretive or valuable in there anyways. I’ve only been a collector going on 2 years now, and a pretty laid back one at that. I definitely don’t even have a budget in my finances for coins, though one day I’d like to!
Part II: My “Trading/Selling” Collection
This is the guy that sees the most action! All my coins or currency that are up for grabs, whether in trades or future sales. Anytime I get something that I don’t deem “worthy” of going into my special collection, it goes right into this nice compact binder.
Here’s a look at it here:
And here are a few pages of what’s in there, for all your voyeur eyes ;)
As you can see, it’s chalk full of all sorts of goodies. American coins, foreign coins, paper currency, tokens, and even a handful of old stock certificates. If it’s relating to numismatics or at least close, and I don’t want it long term, it’ll go here. And often times I’ll change my mind about something and swap it back and forth from the special collection too – it’s always changing.
How This Helps
Obviously this is just one way of doing things, and I’m sure it’ll tweak over time accordingly, but I thought I’d share this with y’all in case you’re looking for ideas. And for now it works like magic.
- I know where everything is!
- I know where everything *goes*
- I know what to grab for each occasion
- I’m not stressed out mentally (ie things are organized)
- Everything is easily trackable (more on that in a sec)
- And, finally, it helps keep me focused on the goal. Which is to add more to the “special” collection, and less to the “binder” one. And when those are your only main options, it helps prevent you from hoarding or picking up larger bulkier items as well. Something quite common among collectors in general ;)
Again though, this is just one way of doing things. I’d love to hear how YOU store and organize your collection too!
Do you organize your collection similarly? Or do you have a whole different system going on that works well for you?
Please do share if you have the time. I’m sure everyone reading would love to learn more!
Tracking The Collection
Before we wrap up, I just wanted to say something about the *tracking* part to all this as well. I’ll be sharing how I do it more in depth in a future post, as well as the spreadsheet template I use, but another nice thing about this organization method is that it makes it easy to stay on top of your collection too. When you know where everything is, it’s much easier to maintain an inventory! Which for me, looks like this:
- An excel spreadsheet on my computer
- A printed off spreadsheet in each of my collections (1 in the box, 1 in the binder)
Now updating it in a timely manner is another thing, haha, but I’ve found this system to work pretty well overall once you get started :) And it only requires a few keyboard punches and some computer paper too. Not to mention all that time and stress saved from having to re-look up things a dozen and 1/2 times! You only gotta refer back to one spot!
UPDATE: Part III – The “Foreign” Collection
Okay, so I TOTALLY forgot about this last box… My foreign coins/currency. (Why is the stuff always forgotten? :)) Outside of my favorites I’ve plucked and put into Collection #1, or looking to trade in Collection #2, I have this nice old box from my grandfather that houses all sorts of non-U.S. coins and paper money.
I used to have this scattered all over the place too, but now everything’s stored in one spot for easy access and to add to. It kinda goes against my more minimalism approach mentioned above, but I just can’t help myself. There’s something so alluring about these guys! So chances are this 3rd container will be sticking around for a while unless I start hawking them off one day… not too sure what I’m doing here yet. Just that I have a while until it’s filled to the brim :)
So there you have it! You now know the secrets to my collecting prowess :)
Use this knowledge wisely, my friends. It’s powerful stuff! And, please – share your own methods with us down below. I’d love to learn how to manage this stuff even better – I’m still a noob!
UPDATE: I finally uploaded the spreadsheet I use to track all my coins. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done :) And most importantly it gives me a solid look at everything I have and what they’re valued at (or at least my best guess at what they’re valued at). Here it is if you want to check out/use: Coin Collecting Spreadsheet
Some notes on it:
- The blank space up top is for you to name your collection like a pro ;)
- The 2nd tab to this spreadsheet is for any coins/currency you have separated out for trading/selling so you can also track
- Another idea for a column you can include here is for the “melt” value of silver and gold coins. I used to do it but it became too much of a hassle
- Lastly, I print off an updated copy of this spreadsheet every few months and include in my box of coins itself. That way there’s a physical record of it if ever needed.