Coin collecting can be a fascinating pastime—in fact it’s one of the oldest hobbies in the world. It can also be lucrative if you know what to look for and find it at the right price. So how do you get started and what should you look for? A great place to start is with a few good books on coin collecting.

Knowledge is power, and nowhere is that truer than in coin collecting. There’s lots of information on the internet, but nothing beats a good book or two for a depth of understanding of the basic principles and pitfalls of collecting. In the hundreds of years coin collecting has been popular, thousands of books have been written on the subject. Some are better than others, and there are a few that no collector should be without. Here are some of our favorites. Support your local bookseller or follow the links to Amazon.

The Coin Collector's Survival Manual

This is a great book for both beginners and veteran collectors. The seventh edition includes legal and financial advice for buying and selling coins and the most secure way to detect coins that have been "doctored," a hazard that plagues newcomers and can even trip up experienced collectors. It tells how to avoid scams, shady deals and surreptitious schemes as well as offering valuable information about collecting in general, including the new coin grading system.

A Guide Book of United States Coins

This annually published guide is the Official Red Book of U.S. coins. In its 68th year of publications, it lists every issue, design, variety and major error of over 7,000 American coins from the colonial period to today. It has essays on grading and investing as well as auction records and real-world pricing. With over 23 million copies sold, it’s the bible of U.S. coin collecting.

The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins

The ANA is the authority for grading U.S. coins, and this this guide has full-color photographs and detailed condition descriptions for U.S. coins from 1793 to today in a range of grades. It’s official. It’s the standard. It belongs on your bookshelf.

The MacMillan Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatics

If you’re getting into the game, you need to know the lingo. This dictionary/encyclopedia lists numismatic terms in alphabetical order for quick reference with in-depth information on subjects of interest to collectors at all levels.

These four books are must haves for coin collectors of all levels. As you expand your horizons and expertise, there are plenty of other great books to guide you along. Here’s just a sample:

If your interests extend beyond the U.S., here are a couple of books to get you started:

The Great American Coin Company® offers a wide selection of collectible U.S. coins and paper currency as well as currency from around the world, and we keep adding unique collectibles as they become available, so be sure to visit us frequently.

Collecting coins. currency and artifacts can be a fascinating and rewarding hobby. Start by browsing our collections and you may just find yourself hooked.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on Google+.

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