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If you want to begin a coin collection, but aren't quite sure how to start, the best tip is to get coins that are in good condition. The shinier and newer looking, the better. Some coins that are in particularly high demand right now are American coins from the period of 1793 to 1814. These coins are larger and thicker than most coins in circulation today, but expect to pay a pretty penny for these coins. Some of these older and valuable American coins cost hundreds and thousands of dollars. Of course, those prices are for coins in mint condition. For coins in lesser condition, you'll be able to pay lower prices. Your best bet when collecting is to get coins of lesser value but better condition. These are coins that have a better chance of appreciating in your favor.
Another type of coins you should look at collecting are ancient coins. These are coins you can buy for just a couple dollars at most coin shows and from coin dealers. You can get coins from the era of Jesus for as little as $20. The reason you can get these coins for such inexpensive prices is because coins are typically made of firm, strong metal products that last throughout time. They likely look the same today as they did 1,000 years ago.
Another option for you is to find foreign coins. If you choose to go this route, look for coins for the early parts of the 20th century–or even before then. Quality foreign coins can be bought for as little as $50, but if you want the best around, expect to pay thousands.
If you aren't sure whether an older coin–especially on from the ancient era–is real, ask to see any kind of paperwork or certificates of authenticity on the coin. A tip when shopping for ancient coins: these coins weren't manufactured in factories, they were made by hand. Old coins were hammered into shape and will not be perfectly round. In addition, they usually don't have complete pictures or dates on them.