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How To Start Your Kids Collecting Jefferson Nickels for Under $10.00

I started coin collecting at a very young age and it has provided many hours of enjoyment.  Starting your child or grandchild in coin collecting can also lead them to a life-long enjoyable hobby.  Some coins sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and even millions of dollars.  But starting a child out on collecting Jefferson Nickels does not need to be expensive.   

You may be asking yourself, is coin collecting for kids? The answer is absolutely!  Coin collecting can teach value life skills such as research, organization and history.  And once a child begins to understand that some coins, even those found in circulation have a value beyond face value, they will want to learn more about them.

Starting a young child out is more than just pointing them in the right direction.  If you want this to be successful, you as the adult will have to show them the enthusiasm that one can get from collecting coins.  And if you are not already a collector, you just may learn something in the process and become hooked yourself.  Doing this with your child requires no special skills other than patience.

Many people think that coin collecting is a nerdy hobby.  They could not be more wrong.  Coin collecting is a huge industry.  Coin collectors are all over.  Perhaps your parents and/or grandparents collected coins.  Coin Collecting is a huge industry.  Millions of people collect coins.  You do not often hear about it for good reason though.  The last thing you want to do is let the world know you collect coins as that can attract the criminal element.   For this article, we are focusing on the enjoyment part of collecting.  The ideas in this article will not make you rich.  And while the collection we will talk about in this article may not be worth a lot of money, it is best to practice good security measures right from the beginning.  Here are some good guidelines

  • Do not keep coins in plain sight. 
  • Keep in drawers or stored away when not in use.
  • Talk to your child about not talking about coin collecting at school If the child loses interest, put them in a safe deposit box in case the child regains interest

Coins are easy to steal and are usually one of the first things burglars will take if they see them.

So, how do you get started?  Since we are talking about young children, we do not want to spend a lot of money.  In one of my other articles, I focus on Lincoln Cent Collecting.  In this article we are going to concentrate on Jefferson Nickels.  Jefferson Nickels hold up well in circulation and it is not uncommon to find 60 year old coins still in circulation.  To get started, you will need to buy two simple Whitman Folders.  The first folder will be the folder with the dates 1968 through 1961.  The 2nd folder will be from 1962 thought 1995.  If you want, you can get folder #3 which is 1996 through present.  It will contain holes for the Westward Journey series and dates through 2009, depending on when the folder was manufactured.   The remaining holes will be blank.  With these two folders, your budding coin collector will be able to take almost any coin from circulation and fill hole.  You can find these at most Barnes and Noble , or any coin store.  If you live in a metro area, you likely have a coin store nearby; just consult your yellow pages. 

Now before getting starting, you will need to sit with your child and tell them you and the child are going to work together on a hobby.  The idea for the child is that you and the child are working together on a common goal.  Filling a coin folder is just like completing a puzzle.  You just have to find the right pieces.

Since we are concentrating on Jefferson Nickels, you will want to tell the beginning collector some history on the Jefferson Nickel.  For example, during 1942 through 1945, they were made with a silver composition, or that they are called nickels, because it is made out of a nickel alloy.  You will also need to explain about the three different mints used to produce cents and where the Mint mark is.    Be sure to talk about the history of Jefferson, etc.  You can easily tie history into Jefferson Nickel collecting.

Now that you have your folders, you know doubt have a few dozen nickels around the house, or maybe the child’s piggy bank.  Gather them up and see how many holes you can fill.  If you have more than one child, each child should have their own folders to see who can fill them up first.  You may have to help your child with putting in some of the coins.  Be sure to show them how to properly handle a coin.  While these are likely only worth face value, better to begin now. 

Once you have exhausted your home supply of nickels, you can take it a step further.  If you are really up for a challenge, go to the bank and get several rolls of pennies.  Sometimes retail stores like grocery stores will also sell you a few rolls.  But if you are up for a big challenge, go to the bank and buy a box of nickels for $100.00.  What a great family activity for a rainy or cold snowy day.  What does not go into the folders you can re-roll and spend at the vending machine at work.

One thing your coin collector(s) will notice is that they will see many dates and Mint Marks over and over.  You can explain that in any given year, the mintages of cents varied for a variety of reasons.  They will also come to realize that there are many dates that are not all that common.  The coin folder will likely have the total mintages for each coin and mint.  Certainly many of the Jefferson Nickels will not be found in circulation all that often, such as the Silver War Nickels, and many pre 1950 nickels (and the 1950-D).  But imagine the potential joy a child may have if they find a silver nickel.  Speaking from experience, if you buy a box of nickels, you will likely come across many coins from the 40’s and 50’s, and maybe even a war nickel.  They are still in circulation.  As your collector comes across repeated dates, you can talk to the beginning collector about the condition of the coins.  If you find a coin that is nicer than the one in the folder, you can replace it.

After several afternoons/evenings of filling holes in your folder, the child may become interested in the older nickels, or even Buffalo Nickels.  Since you will not likely find them in circulation, a trip to the coin store may be in order.  If you get to this point, you may very well have a coin collector in the making.

Keith Scott has been a collector for over 30 years. His website has US coins for sale. He also writes Coin Collecting Articles for fun. Visit his websites for a history of US coins, metal market updates and news about your favorite coins.

 Want to discuss the Jefferson Nickel?  Join the coin forum.

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