Most coin collectors start out collecting coins from their home country. This is usually because they are familiar with the denominations of the coins that come from where they live. This is a good way to start out in your collecting adventure. Once you are familiar with these coins, you may decide to branch out and start collecting world coins.
If you buy custom challenge coins from the US mint, that’s the only form of payment they accept. I regularly buy directly from the US mint using a credit card, and probably pay a higher price because of it.
For those of you buying military challenge coins valued at less than $250, the costs of certification will probably outweigh the benefits. It is really important to examine many coins, and ask experts your questions concerning them. Learn about the rare American coins you’re interested in, and what they should look like. Consult books or the internet.
Don’t buy coins that are being heavily advertised. Sell those coins, if you have any. If you see ads for certain coins that dealers are buying, those are good ones to also buy, if they fit within your collection goals. Use your dealer relationship to buy the best coins at the most reasonable prices.
I suggest playing one coin at a time until you either exhaust your $100 bankroll or hit that 800-quarter ($200) jackpot. By playing single challenge coin maker and recycling all those small payouts, you make your money last as long as possible. The more spins, the more chances of lining up the jackpot combination.
How can the collector think more like an investor? Learn not to make buying decisions based entirely on emotions. The coin market like other markets has its tops and bottoms. Tops and bottoms are often difficult to tell in the coin market, unless you’ve been watching it for several years. I think now is a good time to be buying though.
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Collecting coins is a widespread hobby, and hundreds of books have been written about it. Browse your local bookstore and see which books catch your eye. The U.S. Coins Red Book is an excellent resource for collectors. The American Numismatic Association Grading Guide is the go-to book for coin grading and is an invaluable resource. You can also browse other books and collecting magazines to your satisfaction.