Collecting numismatics ought not to be expensive, even though it obviously has never ending potential. There are so many many ways to collect coins that must be considered before diving into the deep end of the pool in numismatics. There is one thing that is always necessary, knowledge. Knowledge of what you are looking at and what your end goal is, understanding the market and how to correctly find pricing data, and being able to combine this information to create the best long term potential for your coin collection.
There is a vast amount of numismatic literature that unfortunately a majority of is not easily accessible online, so it is very important to pick up some printed literature pertaining to the types of collectibles you want. On-line communities and forums can be a very good place for help and guidance, but having the printed literature and knowing what is in it are both key. Finding and understanding the books and other written material that pertains to your areas of interest will help you to have a stronger knowledge grasp. Afterall, there is always more to learn.
Pricing is confusing because of the large amount of often conflicting information available. Just picking up a magazine, catalogue or browsing the internet, you may find dozens of various prices for a seemingly identical coin. What do we do with all seemingly conflicting numbers? To begin with, set this data aside and search through the archives of auction houses that sell rare coins and other related numismatic materials. Anyone can ask a price, however, that does not mean it is a correct market price. For this reason we look at sales records. Many times it will be more likely that an item in a public auction is sold for a current market price. Looking up multiple auction examples gives a much better idea of what you are willing to pay. With this knowledge, you can much more accurately gauge the current coins you have available to you..
Don’t permit a loss on a rare coin to discourage you from your goals. Over the course of years every coin dealer and rare coin collector out there has lost money on numbers of purchases. They would be lying to say otherwise, and I would recommend doing business elsewhere. Losing money is okay as long as you use it as a learning experience. The more knowledge you possess, the better understanding of the coin market,, the less likely you are to make a mistake. The best advice to be had from a losing purchase is to learn what happened and why it did not work out to your benefit. Then apply that knowledge to future purchases. Rare Coin collecting is for the long term. Do not be too quick to throw in the towel.
As you dig deeper into the field of numismatics, you will probably find yourself branching off in new directions, finding new interests and collecting a greater variety. While some would say it best to have a specific goal and finish one set at a time. Others will say that variety is the spice of life. There is no wrong answer on how to collect, but there can definitely be more profitable ways than others. The bottom line is do the research, buy some books, join a local coin club, or other numismatic organization, and ask questions. Buying the best coins for the right price and know that your hard earned money has been invested in those coins worth having. That is a great feeling.