Originally published in The Numismatist, October 2015
It is often said that beginning coin collectors should "buy the book before you buy the coin." There are many excellent reasons why new collectors are told this. It is often said that "knowledge is power." That is especially true in numismatics. And acquiring knowledge, especially for novice coin collectors, can help them make smart decisions. Those.
The best way to become a successful numismatist, as well as familiarize yourself with the culture surrounding the hobby, is to attend coin shows on a regular basis. This also is one of the best ways to purchase coins, tokens, medals and paper money. Some people prefer the anonymity of the Internet, but the prices can be higher there. Overall, you can’t.