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The Most Essential Tools Every Coin & Currency Collector Needs!

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

In this article I am going to share with you some of my most recommended supplies for coin collecting. Whether you are a new collector or a seasoned veteran these are essential items to have at every collector’s disposal.

Essential Books

Probably the most important starting point is The Official Red Book – A Guide Book of United States Coins. This book is essential for every collector and has tons of knowledge about every US Coin ever issued, including Commemoratives, Colonial Issues & More. While the price guide information is usually inaccurate to the real-world market, the information is invaluable.

Grab a copy of The Red Book Here:

Now if you’re interested in Paper Money, the absolute best book you can get is Paper Money of The United States, this book has high quality images and its authors catalog system (Fr.# or Friedburg Number) is used by everyone, including all major grading services to identify notes quickly and easily.

Paper Money of The United States:

Another, slightly more advanced, but extremely helpful and useful resource that is usually sitting somewhere near my desk is the PCGS Official Guide to Coin Grading & Counterfeit Detection. The title is pretty much self explanatory, this book is a detailed guide to counterfeit detection and grading, including pictures in both black & white and color.

PCGS Official Guide to Coin Grading & Counterfeit Detection:

Probably some of the most important equipment coin collectors use are the tools used to assist their vision when examining a coin. A good quality loupe, along with a good lamp with a quality bulb are essential tools to help see a coin accurately and identify potential problem coins, varieties and more.


For the Lamp I recommend a clamp on lamp with an articulating arm. It can be adjusted into any position to get the exact angle and distance of lighting you need.

I recommend this one:

A good quality bulb is also very important, more important than the lamp itself really. These Philips LED Bulbs are what I have used and what I was recommended when first starting by my mentor. They are bright and will show you a coin at its worst… Which is exactly what you want. You need to be able to see small imperfections such as light hairlines that can be completely hidden with most lighting. This is a grading light, not a glamour light, so it will not be the best option for photographing your coins.

Philips 650 Lumen 2700K LED Bulb:


For Loupes I, and most dealers almost exclusively use a 5X Loupe, however a 10X can sometimes be extremely useful for identifying small varieties, as well as for counterfeit detection on high end pieces.

The most popular 5X Loupe among dealers and the one I use and recommend is this Bausch & Lomb Aspheric:

For the 10X I have been very happy with the performance of the Bausch & Lomb as well, it is the main 10X Loupe I use:

Basic Counterfeit Detection Tools

There are many tools used by dealers to detect counterfeits, but for most applications a few inexpensive tools will get you very far.

Rare Earth Magnet:

Gold Testing Kit:

Digital Scale Accurate to 500/.01G:

Holders & Supplies

As far as other supplies, you will need some 2”X2” Cardboard Coin Holders to protect your raw coins, as well as a good stapler. I recommend this flat back stapler, it is incredibly high quality and satisfying to use, but in general having the flat back is important because it protects other 2X2s from being scratched open by regular staples that stick out. It also saves space in 2X2 boxes!

Flat Back Stapler:

Replacement Max No.11-1M Staples:

2X2 Coin Holders:

Hopefully this list helped you identify some missing essentials in your coin collecting arsenal. Leave a comment with any other important tools I left out!


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