Author Topic: Tools of the Modern Numismatic Trade  (Read 4693 times)

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Offline Abhay

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Tools of the Modern Numismatic Trade
« on: May 19, 2012, 03:41:16 PM »
The most important tool for collecting coins is a magnifier lens: Every coin collector needs at least one magnifier.

A magnifier is rated by the increase in size of the image. A 1-power magnifier will show you a correctly sized image. A 10X magnifier will show the image 10 times larger than normal. “X” in this case means “times.”

You should never examine a coin just with the unaided eye, whether buying or selling. The mark of the experienced collector is the magnifier hanging from a lanyard around his neck. Magnifiers come with glass or plastic lenses. It’s quite worthwhile to spend the extra money on glass, as a good lens will last you a lifetime. I use a 14X lens that I bought in 1967 and there is not a scratch on the lens, despite a dozen trips to the floor.

As a collector, you need a low power lens for looking at multiple coins, plus a stronger lens to investigate something you spotted. A low power usually lets you see all of the coin, while a higher powered one may only show you something the size of the date.

Obviously, a lens allows you to see more. That extra viewing power comes in handy when you suspect a coin of being a counterfeit, or an altered or doctored coin. The more coins you look at – and really see – the easier it will be to spot the problem coins. Over the years I’ve seen hundreds of coins that appear bright and shiny to the unaided eye, but under magnification reveal that they have been buffed or polished or even sand blasted to create that bright finish.

I have done a lot of authentication work in the past and I was fortunate enough to have a stereomicroscope given to me. This turned out to be invaluable in my work and I took thousands of pictures through it. If you have access to a microscope, it becomes an indispensable tool for authentication or research work. If you have some cash available, a good stereomicroscope will cost a minimum of $300.

For coins you need a stereo model with a 20X to 40X range. Anything over that, such as the 1200X scopes commonly found in schools, is overkill and useless for coins. With 60X you can find something “wrong” with almost every coin.

When using a strong hand lens or a microscope, turn and tilt the coin to get the light from different angles. This will expose such common problems as light, or reflection doubling, caused by the light bouncing off a shiny coin. It will also help you catch defects, doctoring or maybe even some hub doubling, which in some instances can increase the value of a coin. A handy trick for your microscope is to invert a plastic cup with a fl at bottom and put the coin on that. It allows you to turn the coin without touching it, cutting the handling down to a minimum.

Another handy tool that will safely handle coins is a pair of plastic coin tongs. They are made with jaws that contact a minimum of the edge of the coin so they are quite safe to use.

A must for the serious collector is a scale. Weighing a coin will tell you far more than cutting or scratching it. I have two scales. One is a Redding gunpowder scale, which uses grains rather than ounces, from 500 down to 1/10th of a grain, which is plenty for coins. They are available from any dealer who has reloading equipment for sale. The other is an Ohaus balance scale that is even more accurate and has provisions for running specific gravity tests – another research tool.

Between the two scales I can solve many of the coin problems that come across my desk. There are also electronic scales that will fit in your shirt pocket, invaluable at a coin show.

You should make it a practice to weigh each coin before adding it to your collection. It will easily catch some of the more flagrant counterfeit coins. The odds are that you already have a computer so this would not be an added expense. There is very usable software available to catalog your collection and some even will connect to a pricing source. If you have a digital camera you can store copies of your coins.

If you prefer not to get software for these tasks, you can always use the word processor you already have, as that has search capabilities that make it easy to use. I have been using WordPerfect software for this purpose for nearly three decades.

A good heavy-duty stapler is a must. You will be doing a lot of stapling on cardboard 2x2 holders and it takes some force to drive the staple through two layers. I have one that came from a government surplus sale that has served faithfully for many years.

Keep staples as far away as possible from the coin.

You will also need a pair of needle nose pliers to flatten the legs of the staples, to avoid damage to other coins. Some dealers seem to make a game of seeing how close they can come to the coin with the staples, a dangerous game you don’t want to play. The staples are a threat and the overhang of the stapler may damage the coin.

An inexpensive protractor is useful, especially when you find a coin with the reverse rotated out of its normal position.

Don’t forget a good light. Highly recommended is one of the goose-neck or swing-arm lamps that clamp on the edge of a table or desk and that you see at every coin show. For nearly all work a 60-watt bulb will do the trick, but some may prefer a 100-watt, especially for photography.

There are also halogen lights that are useful. Some photographers prefer them, but the regular incandescent bulbs will do the job. One warning: avoid florescent lights, as they tend to distort what you see on the coin.

Metal detectors are often touted as a coin collecting tool, but the unfortunate fact is that nearly all the coins recovered with detectors are corroded to the point of being valueless to the collector. I can cite examples of collectible coins, but they are definitely a minority.


Source: Numismaster

Abhay
INVESTING IN YESTERDAY

Online Figleaf

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Re: Tools of the Modern Numismatic Trade
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2012, 07:17:51 PM »
Thanks, Abhay. A few remarks from my experience.

I would like to endorse the tip on holding the coin in different angles in the light, not just to spot problems, but also to see things almost worn off.

Missing in the list is a calliper. It will not only catch quite a few Chinese fakes, but, more important, it will allow you to give a diameter on the internet, where the diameter of the picture has no relation to the diameter of the coin.

Yes, good light is important. Nothing beats sunlight, but if that's not available, a 60W bulb (15W low-energy) is enough to light a whole room. I use a 7W (25W incandescent) bulb in a swing arm lamp. If your lamp is not ventilated on top, use an 18 or 20W halogen bulb instead. It doesn't generate heat. In general, using incandescent lamps is wasteful and expensive and so is using too much power on light.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Coinsforever

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Re: Tools of the Modern Numismatic Trade
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2012, 02:10:28 PM »
Scanner
Digital camera
Coins holders

 may be included to be a part of this tools list.


Thanks Abhay for refreshing everyone's memory .

Cheers ;D
Every experience, good or bad, is a priceless collector's item.



http://knowledge-numismatics.blogspot.in/

Offline repindia

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Re: Tools of the Modern Numismatic Trade
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2012, 08:34:14 PM »
I would also keep a magnet with me.

Offline Abhay

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Re: Tools of the Modern Numismatic Trade
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2012, 02:32:02 PM »
The most difficult of all the tools to find in India, was a Flat Clinch Stapler.
A flat clinch stapler is a special kind of stapler, which keeps the staples flat, unlike an ordinary stapler, where the staples are rounded.
I finally got one from Singapore. It has saved me a lot of trouble of using the nose pliers to flatten the staples.

Abhay
INVESTING IN YESTERDAY

Offline jaspersaini

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Re: Tools of the Modern Numismatic Trade
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2017, 08:04:34 AM »
I have my own collection of tools :

1. A Digital caliper
2. A digital weighing machine with 1,5 and 10 gm. precision weights
3. Staplers and a plier ( I am using Indian Kangaroo Brand staplers)
4. 2x2 Cardboard Holder -( I am always buying this: http://www.centurystamps.com/century/home?product_id=2131 ), 2x2 Album pages to slip into a coin album.
5. Labels - I am using MS-Office to make and print coin labels ( Check one of my coins), You can cut, customize it according to your tastes. Just don't forget to
    add the coin details, weight, dimensions etc.
6. Duct tape and scissors ( After stapling the coin holder, I am always pasting the label and putting the duct tape over the coin holder, which provides extra safety.

Toothpicks, powder toothpaste, aluminum foil, Baking soda are also essential to clean and preserve the coins.






Offline Abhay

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Re: Tools of the Modern Numismatic Trade
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2017, 10:29:09 AM »
I have my own collection of tools :

1. A Digital caliper
2. A digital weighing machine with 1,5 and 10 gm. precision weights
3. Staplers and a plier ( I am using Indian Kangaroo Brand staplers)
4. 2x2 Cardboard Holder -( I am always buying this: http://www.centurystamps.com/century/home?product_id=2131 ), 2x2 Album pages to slip into a coin album.
5. Labels - I am using MS-Office to make and print coin labels ( Check one of my coins), You can cut, customize it according to your tastes. Just don't forget to
    add the coin details, weight, dimensions etc.
6. Duct tape and scissors ( After stapling the coin holder, I am always pasting the label and putting the duct tape over the coin holder, which provides extra safety.

Toothpicks, powder toothpaste, aluminum foil, Baking soda are also essential to clean and preserve the coins.







I would strongly recommend using a Flat Clinch Stapler instead of using Ordinary stapler and plier. It will save you from a lot of trouble.

In India, you can get a Flat Clinch stapler for Rs. 599 from Amazon. Here is the link:

https://www.amazon.in/Kangaro-Stapler-Effort-Staples-nos-Stapler/dp/B0161B0ZD8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1510737943&sr=8-2&keywords=flat+clinch+stapler

Abhay
INVESTING IN YESTERDAY

Offline Globetrotter

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Re: Tools of the Modern Numismatic Trade
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2017, 02:37:43 PM »
Here are my tools

Ole
Ole

If you're interested in coin variants please find some English documentation here:
https://sites.google.com/site/coinvarietiescollection/home
and in French on Michel's site (the presentations are not the same):
http://monnaiesetvarietes.esy.es/