So you’ve recently discovered the world of precious metals and/or coin collecting and you don’t know where to start? Take a look here for the basics to kinda help find which direction you might go. Many of us start either stacking or collecting but over time evolve or get bored of purchasing the same thing and expand our horizons. So the first thing to do is see what made you interested in the hobby to begin with. Did someone give you a bar? Did a parent give you a coin? Usually, the first thing given to us helps us get started.
The initial two camps you will find yourself in is: Stacker or Collector
The stacker is a weight based collector who doesn’t really care about the design, rarity, or anything special about the metal. The stacker typically just wants to stack as much metal as possible as cheap as possible. Typically, you will ONLY pay attention to the premium and spot price. Those two will guide your purchases. In the beginning, this is usually the best way to get started with a core stack.
The collector is a little more complicated and way more expensive. The collector focuses on rarity, demand, history, and other factors that make a particular coin exceptional. Collectors pay a higher premium over spot but typically collectors are rarely affected by spot. The intrinsic value of the metal is secondary to the collector value. The collector value is determined by demand and what people are willing to pay for a given coin or bar.
For example. Spot price is $20 for 1 oz. A 1880 S morgan dollar graded MS65 will cost $140+ while the instrinsic value or metal content alone is only worth $18. A morgan dollar is 90% silver. The history, condition, and availability contribute to the $122 price difference. We’ll get into what grading and the different grades mean in future articles. For now, we’ll say it is a very good condition coin from 1880.
As you can see, the collector is a bit more complicated than the stacker since there are more variables when it comes to the coin or collectible. For the beginner, usually I would just get started with stacking and to start 90% constitutional silver, which happens to be dimes, quarters, half dollars before 1964. It’s typically a good middle ground for the casual beginner because you will begin to see the historical significance at an introductory price. You will also get to experience different condition coins and build or stack up different denominations. Also, when you transition, you can keep your 90% as part of your stack or trade it out for 99.9%. Constitutional Silver is usually always in demand and you should have no problem buying or selling when the time comes.
Otherwise, start off by looking at different websites and Youtube videos to see what type of metal and design you are attracted to. There isn’t really a wrong or right way to get started. I’m pretty sure along the way, you will over pay for certain items. It’s okay, the important thing is that you learn about what you’re buying and understand how to value what you pay for. Over time, the stacker starts collecting and the collector starts stacking in one form or another. This type of hobby is one that spans years and money is better spent if you take your time. This is a marathon, not a sprint.