#1 The Digital Scale
A precision-crafted digital scale is an absolute necessity for anyone planning to move into the intermediate or advanced category of coin collecting. This type of scale is utilized to precisely verify or establish the exact weight of a coin. This factor, above all else, is a key element in determining if a specimen is the genuine article or a counterfeit. Also, a precision digital scale is also helpful in determining if the coin in question may be an error coin. As an example, you would therefore know if a more modern U.S. clad coin happened to have been minted using a silver blank, or it was struck on a planchet from a different coin denomination entirely. You would also want a digital scale that would permit you to select the unit of measure you desire, such as grams or ounces, in addition to having the sensitivity to measure in levels of accuracy to 0.01 grams. These types of precision scales can run anywhere from $30 to $150.
#2 The Digital Caliper
This great and indispensible tool is also referred to as a sizing gauge, and it is used to accurately measure the diameter of any coin in your collection. It works by placing the coin between the pair of jaws of the caliper, and then those jaws are slowly closed until contact is made on opposing sides of the coin. If a coin happened to have been minted from a collar, or is perhaps a broad type of strike or conceivably minted from an improper planchet, it will not calibrate to the ‘true’ diameter it is supposed to have. The very handy digital display allows you to select the unit of measurement in either inches or millimeters, and the caliper must have an accuracy reading at a minimum setting of 0.01 mm. These digital calipers can range from $7 to $60.
#3 The Stereo Zoom Microscope
This must-have coin tool permits any of the coins in your collection to be inspected at a much high level of magnification than the human eye. It is not only practical but very important that your microscope is equipped with dual eyepieces along with dual optics to reproduce the most precise and accurate view of the coin’s surface. For the best type of viewing experience, the microscope ought to also have alight source mounted inside the neck of the unit for correctly illuminating the coin. The microscope should also have a zoom range between 10X and 45X, which should allow the greatest field of view within those magnification ranges. The stereo zoom microscope is a great mechanism to critically authenticate the coins in your collection and also verify different die varieties. Usually the less expensive varieties of microscopes have optics of rather inferior quality, which offer the viewer a frequently blurred image at best, so it is a good idea to pay for as high a quality microscope as possible. Good quality stereo zoom microscopes can cost anywhere from $150 to $600.
#4 The High-Quality Digital Camera
For superior documentation purposes, nothing beats a high-quality digital camera for creating perfect images of every coin in your collection. This is also a critical, must-have tool, especially when it comes documenting your collection for insurance purposes. It is also important to purchase a model that is equipped with a macro setting on the mode selection dial on the camera. If you want very high quality pictures, then you may want to investigate the digital SLR (single lens reflex) cameras. One additional advantage of photographing your coin collection, especially with a top-quality camera, is the ability to share, view, or otherwise appreciate some of your more valuable coins without having to remove them from the your safe deposit box at the bank. These digital cameras can start as low as $200, but can easily run to as much as $1,600 or more.
#5 The Coin Lamp
Good lighting is an enormously important element in getting the proper color of the coins in your collection. For precise coin grading purposes, a natural daylight lamp that delivers the full spectrum of colors and natural white sun-like light is an absolute must. Most indoor lights generally have low-spectrum colors and will cause uncirculated copper coins to appear redder than they actually are. On the other hand, fluorescent lights will cause silver coins to appear brighter than normal. A good, natural light source is much better for determining if a coin is genuinely circulatedoruncirculated. The most common lights used by expert numismatists are the ‘Tensor Light’ and the ‘Ott Light’.
The Tensor brand light gives full-spectrum lighting that simulates natural daylight and true-to-life color representation. The 13-watt models have an adjustable shade that automatically turns off the light whenclosed and runs on 110 electrical power. The OTT brand light is known for being the very best for coin photography. It is height-adjustable with ahinged top from 11″ to 19″, and uses an energy-saving TrueColor fluorescent tube with up to 10,000 hours of run-time. It boasts very accurate color matching andsharp contour definition. These lamps run in the range of about $25 to $60.
Every coin collector, whether you are a novice or expert, knows just how difficult it is to keep track of a growing inventory of coins, especially if they start to outpace your ability to keep track of them. There is a perfect solution for this daunting dilemma, called the Coin Collector’s Assistant, a high-quality software package published by the renowned Carlisle Development Corporation. This dynamic and feature-packed coin software is designed to assist and support any coin collector to fully track, inventory, value, and grade the entire scale of their collection. Not only will this great tool easily track exactly which coins and paper currency a collector currently has in their collection, but it will also keep records of which coins are needed to be added, as well as extras and duplicate coins. All coin and currency records can be conveniently and efficiently entered, modified, removed, or viewed, and without any technical skills required to operate the program.
It can also manage all purchases, sales, and profits, while featuring the most current coinage and currency images, information, and market values. It covers a complete U. S. coin database with referencing by date and mint mark of all coins produced by the U.S. Mint, and all U.S. circulating coins, pre-1954 and modern commemoratives, bullion coins, and Hawaiian and Colonial coins as well, including current coin values provided by Coin World, the foremost authority in numismatics. The Grading Assistant component is the interactive edition of the Official A.N.A. Grading Guide, the premier choice for coin collectors everywhere. This program includes over 1,000 superior illustrations of all coin types produced by the U.S. Mint since 1793. This software package can be acquired for about $140.
For quick and convenient viewingof coin details that the naked eye cannot discern, coin magnifiers or coin loupes are must-have tools when evaluating the quality of your coins or determining specific varieties. For grading coins, a good coin magnifier will allow you to inspect the finer details along with any imperfections on the coin’s surface. For coin gradingobjectives, the American Numismatic Association recommends a magnification in the range of 5X and 10X. There are handheld coin magnifiers as well as binocular head-band style magnifiers that allow for hands-free examination of your collection. There are selections that include bar or page magnifiers, or magnifiers with extra-zoom insets, lighted magnifiers, and pocket magnifiers, or styles that can be mounted to your glasses like visors, or loupes that can be flipped up and down when needed. These coin magnifying tools can run from $15 to $60.
Gloves are surely one of the most important, must-have tools in your coin collecting arsenal. As you know, the surface of your coins are exceptionally delicate, and the oils and acids from your hands can cause a significant amount of harm, and often irreparably so. This is even more critical when handling your uncirculated coins that must have perfect surfaces maintained. In order to keep contaminationfrom your coins, wearing gloves is absolutely essential for the maximum degree of coin protection. Gloves fabricated from a soft cotton material are best, and recommended by many expert numismatists and collectors. A good alternative to cotton gloves are the powder-free latex or nitrile gloves, along with finger cots, that can be found at any coin supply site. The gloves run around $2 a pair, and the latex finger cots are less than a penny apiece.
#9 Coin Tongs
Coin tongs are one of the best tools for handling coins around the rim, keeping hand contact away from the surfaces of your coins, especially for proof and mint set coins. Coin tongs are a smart choice for collectors when cleaning or dipping the coins into solvents or other liquids, and most are equipped with a plastic coating that protects the coin from damage while still gripping it securely. These can cost from $3 to $18.
Everyone knows just how frustrating the stapling process can be, especially when it comes to dealing with coin flips or cardboard 2x2s. If you want to eliminate this problem permanently, you need the fantastic Max brand Flat Clinch Staplers which leave the staples flat, and saves a good amount of space when storing your cardboard 2x2s and flips. There are no more bent or crushed staples with this great flat-clinch closing action design, along with reducing the risk of scratches on your coins, and the annoyance of having tore-clinch the staples with a pair of pliers. This handy must-have item goes for around $38.