Well, here you are! If you've studied all the lessons, then you've learned about why we collect coins and who started the hobby; what's on a coin and what it means; how to find, judge, and organize your coins; and how to examine, clean, show, and store your collection.
You've probably also learned that there's a lot left to learn! Numismatics can be a lifelong passion and a lifelong learning experience. But you've taken a first step!
The United States Mint H.I.P. Pocket Change site gives you lots of ways to learn about coins. Have you seen all the areas of the site? Do this site quest to solve a puzzle and explore the site at the same time!
If you have done all the other lessons, you're ready to get your diploma. If your computer is hooked up to a printer, you can print your diploma, fill in your name, and hang it proudly on your wall. Or you can move on to the last part of the course and get your diploma at the end.
You can find out more about collecting by calling or writing to numismatic groups like the American Numismatic Association (www.money.org, 800-367-9723) and the American Numismatic Society (http://numismatics.org, 212-571-4470).
You can also go to a coin club meeting or coin show. Your newspaper or library may list clubs and their meetings. There may even be one at your school—or you could ask your teacher to help you start one!
And don't forget to visit "10 Facts Every Coin Kid Should Know" here at Collector's Club to review and expand some major facets of collecting.
If you have email, you can have the United States Mint send you information about new coin products. Go to www.usmint.gov/email/?action=newsletters to subscribe to the product notification newsletter or the Coins Online newsletter.
For some fun ways to help your friends learn about coin collecting, check out the How to Share Your Hobby page. If you have a coin club leader, you can tell him or her about the Hosting a Coin Club section for club ideas.
Check out reference books at:
If you are interested in collecting and studying coins, notes, tokens, or medals, try joining a coin club. Local and national collecting groups will provide another dimension to your hobby. Lists of clubs are available online.
If you are a new collector of U.S. coins, a coin guide can be helpful. For example, A Guide Book of United States Coins by R.S. Yeoman is also known as the "red book." It is published every year and covers all official U.S. coins from colonial times to the present. You can find values of U.S. coins in The Handbook of United States Coins, commonly known as the "blue book."
Other books can help you learn how to grade coins. Examples are Official A.N.A Grading Standards for United States Coins and Coin Grading and Counterfeit Detection by PCGS.
You can also subscribe to periodicals like COINage, Coins, Coin World, First Strike, Numismatic News, and The Numismatist.
If a coin is green and slimy from PVC, don't try to clean it yourself. This is a serious problem that's best handled by a professional. For instance, you can contact the ANA Conservation Services or find a collector or dealer through the phone book under "Hobbies," "Coins," or "Coin Dealers."
You can exchange some mutilated coins by mailing them to the United States Mint at P.O. Box 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106. But if they are too badly damaged, they cannot be redeemed.
Foreign coins are always interesting, but they're not always rare and valuable. You can find ranges of values in books like Standard Catalog of World Coins and the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, or have a dealer evaluate them.
The same rules of numismatics govern ancient coins as well as modern ones. A coin's numismatic value is based on its rarity and condition and on market factors, not just age. There are many sources of info on ancient coins. Some can be found in public libraries.