If you're new to coin collecting or just starting to get serious about purchasing rare and valuable coins, there's one very big mistake you must avoid. Deciding to "go it alone" is the very common big mistake that proves quite costly to novice collectors.
If you tend to be "independent" and prefer learning and doing things for yourself, consider setting aside your lone wolf style when it comes to collecting coins. It's fine to learn about coins and collecting by reading books and magazines or doing research on your own. Ultimately, however, you'll need the guidance, advice and expertise a seasoned, professional numismatist can offer.
If you're lucky, you may find a knowledgeable, experienced coin collecting "mentor" through a club or organization in your local area. Reputable, expert local coin dealers may be willing to provide you with the education and support you need as you learn about your new hobby. You may also find a professional coin dealer online who can serve as a valuable resource for information and advice.
A knowledgeable coin dealer or expert collector can help you avoid costly mistakes commonly made by newbies. An experienced collector may advise you to avoid purchasing low-end coins that appear to be for sale at big discounts, for instance.
Low-end coins offered at bargain prices are often very attractive to novice buyers who don't understand the intricacies involved in grading or the massive difference in value between low and high-end coins. A reputable dealer or other expert will be able to spot and explain why low-end coins are usually a poor investment.
It's next to impossible for someone new to coin collecting to fully understand the rarity level as well as the value of various coins. Coin dealers and individual sellers often use the word "rare" to make coins sound valuable. In the vast majority of cases, so-called rare coins are actually quite common!
The only way to know whether a coin is truly rare and potentially very valuable as such is to ask an expert. Experts judge rarity by attending coin auctions, studying various resources for information on coin availability and by keeping a close eye on the coin marketplace.
In most cases, there is simply no way for a novice to accurately assess how "rare" or commonplace a particular coin is. If you don't know how common a coin is, it's easy to overpay for what you believe is a "rare" coin. This is a second costly mistake you can avoid by relying on the recommendations of an expert.
A knowledgeable, trusted coin dealer or other expert can help you in virtually every aspect of the hobby. He or she can help you avoid overspending on coins, as well as assist you in spotting good coin deals. You can also get advice on what type of collection to start or avoid based on your collecting goals and budget.
When you build a good relationship with a reputable coin dealer, you also have a trusted expert looking out for quality coins you may wish to add to your collection. Not only will you avoid costly mistakes, you can confidently build a quality coin collection over time under the guidance of an experienced professional.