COIN COLLECTORS
HELP TO PRESERVE HISTORY!

First and foremost, coins are used as means of payment of course,
but the materials in them, their denominations and designs, and the images they display all bear information about the day and age when they were used: they are mementos of everyday life and snapshots of the cultural, artistic, economic and social conditions of a particular era.
Looking at the portraits of the rulers shown on the coins they issued, and the names and emblems of the issuing authorities, we can get a good overview of historical developments and changes.

The history of minting coins reaches back to the 7th century BCE and ever since then money has been continually developing and changing. Come along for a trip through time to look back at the development of coins over the centuries!

Coins have been a collector’s item for centuries, thanks to their value, their timeless beauty
and their historical significance.

TIPS FOR BEGINNING COLLECTORS:
EVERY COLLECTION IS A GOOD COLLECTION!

Enthusiasm

The first medal or coin that you get as a gift or buy on your own can generate unparalleled enthusiasm. At that moment, you become a collector. As an idea for beginner collectors, we recommend building your collection around a simple theme or even one of your own ideas.

Ideas

Take a good idea and build on it! It could be anything. Coins with a unique shape, or coins with special motifs, for example. Every collection is a good collection. As you build your collection, it’s good to start specialising later on, or even to expand the underlying idea. For instance, you can focus on certain country or issues from a specific part of the world. You can also chose universal collecting themes, such as coins related to sports or endangered animals, or modern coins or any other such concept.

Passion

Passion for collecting grows with every new coin and every new purchase. This is a passion that can last a lifetime. Collectors passionately search, research, trade, buy and focus on more and more different areas to expand their collection.

Building value

The first value that is generated by coins and studying coins and researching themes is the collector’s knowledge. However, over time in addition to learning about and preserving artistic and historical values, a collector’s passion can also lead to a collection that has significant material value as well.

Tip

The easiest and cheapest way to start a collection can be to focus on domestic circulation coins, for example by year, type or series. This can later be expanded to include foreign coins, or even commemorative coins.
Commemorative coins are generally worth more than their circulation value, and issuers from almost every country in the world offer a myriad of different collecting themes.

Looking for an older coin from the past millennium?

Interested in products made of gold?

Interested in silver coins or medals?

Looking for alloy coins or medals?

Want to buy circulation series?

For collectors of the series “The World’s Smallest Gold Coins”

To share experience in collecting, it’s a good idea to look up professional collecting associations, which can also be a good source for expanding your collection. Hungarian Coin Collectors’ Association http://www.eremgyujtok.hu/
Hungarian Numismatic Society http://cms.numizmatika.org/index.php/hu/

DID YOU KNOW?

We have compiled some of the concepts that every collector and future collector should be familiar with.

Coin quality – A brief discussion of coin condition and quality categories

The condition of a coin is expressed using a grading scale, which helps to determine the numismatic value of all old and new coins and commemorative coins. A coin’s condition – and thus its commercial value – depends to a great degree on how much it has been used, its appearance and its production quality. While the condition of a coin designates its condition at a given point in time, the quality category differentiates between coins on the basis of the production technology employed.

Based on condition and/or quality, coins are classified as follows:

Fine: a coin that has been in circulation for a longer period of time and is well worn, but still has recognisable detail. This is the lowest category used for coins which are suitable for collecting.
Very fine: used or old coins which have been in circulation and show signs of wear; the highest relief points and legends show moderate wear.

Extremely fine: the signs of wear on the coin’s surface are insignificant and are only visible on the highest relief points. All details on the coin can be clearly seen.

UNC, uncirculated: coins which were not used in circulation.
From the perspective of production, this refers to the quality of circulation coins: coins produced by auto-fed minting equipment which have not yet been in circulation and may bear insignificant scratches, wear or other dents stemming from automatic handling and packaging operations, which do not affect their suitability for circulation. Our first-day mint commemorative versions of circulation coins are packaged with this quality.

SU, select uncirculated: circulation coins produced with special care, minted at lower production speed than normal and carefully handled to avoid surface damage. (At the Hungarian Mint, the circulation series marked BU in special packaging correspond to this grade.)

BU, brilliant uncirculated: coins of outstanding quality which have never been in circulation, collector quality. The relief and fields (background of the coin) have an even luster. The quality category BU for commemorative coins denotes a brilliant finish: the fields and design have a uniform, moderately shiny surface. The fields do not have a mirror finish. BU quality coins are manually fed and handled with tweezers or gloves, with individual quality control. This is a higher quality category than uncirculated.

PL, proof-like: the fields are brilliant and the design only has a slightly matte finish, the overall impression of the surface appears to have a bright uniform luster; compared to proof quality coins, there is less contrast between the fields and the relief. These coins are manually fed in production, with individual quality control; typical quality for collector coins and commemorative coins.

PP, proof: mirror finish, perfect condition, free of scratches and marks. This category is used for the highest level production quality. The fields of a proof quality coin are mirrored (the surfaces of working dies are finely polished), while the positive relief design is sharp, well defined and matte. With so-called reverse proof coins, the field is matte and the relief is mirrored. Production is carried out with great care, with hand feeding and individual strikes; the dies and struck coins are handled with tweezers/gloves. Each individual coin is subject to full quality control. This is the quality grade for the circulation coins sold in specially packaged, proof quality circulation series, for proof commemorative coins meeting the highest collecting standards and for collector coins.

Proof coins must be handled with great care as they are very sensitive to environmental conditions; they should be stored in plastic capsules and the surfaces should not be touched!
This technology is used to produce coins and commemorative coins intended for collection and represents the highest quality grade of modern coins.

How many grams are there in an ounce?

The unit “troy ounce” which is used for precious metals is not identical to the “ounce” unit used for other materials, which is still commonly used in the UK in particular (a troy ounce is heavier). The term has Roman roots and is used exclusively as a unit of mass for the exchange trading of precious metals.
One troy ounce (abbreviated as “oz t” or “t oz”) is equivalent to 31.1034768 grams.

What is the obverse / front of a coin?

The obverse of a coin generally features the image of the issuing sovereign or the name of the issuer. The front of a coin is referred to using terms based on the Latin word “adversus” (opposite, vis-à-vis), such as Avers (abbreviated Av.) in German and obverse in English.

What is the reverse / back of a coin?

The reverse of the coin bears the arms of the issuing sovereign or authority. Based on the Latin word “reversus”, the back of a coin is referred to in German as Revers (abbreviated Rev.) and reverse in English.
In modern practice and in the case of Hungarian forint circulation coins, the side of the coin bearing the name of the issuing country is the obverse (along with the date), while the side with the denomination (number and FORINT legend) is the reverse, along with the mint mark BP.
In the case of commemorative coins which are considered legal tender and have the four mandatory elements of monetary coins 1) name of issuing country, 2) denomination, 3) date, and 4) the mint mark BP.), the mandatory elements are generally found on the obverse, while the reverse is the side presenting the theme or subject of commemoration, and also bears the designer’s mark. Nowadays, this traditional organisation is disappearing, as commemorative coins are not produced for use in payments as legal tender, but serve rather as a vehicle for preserving values, commemorating and raising awareness. Thus, the theme can appear on both sides of commemorative coins, and so we consider the obverse of the coin to be the side which bears the issuing country, in our case “HUNGARY”. The other mandatory elements such as the designer’s mark can be on either side of the coin.

What is the edge of a coin?

The edge of a coin, its “third side”, can be smooth, but often has some form of embellishment (reeding, legend, image).

What is the mint mark for?

The mint mark on a coin’s surface consists of a letter or letters indicating the mint at which the coin was struck, i.e. the location at which it was minted. BP. is the mint mark found on Hungarian legal tender and has featured on Hungarian coins since 1925 when the mint in Budapest began operating. The mint mark BP. not only appears on Hungarian circulation and commemorative coins, it is on all coins and medals produced by the Hungarian Mint Ltd.

The BP. mint mark is legally protected by the law of trade marks and geographical indications in connection with goods such as medals, coins, tokens, etc.... made of or plated by precious metals and their alloys belonging to Chapter XIV of the Combined Nomenclature harmonized system, under Register No 181 942.

What about commemorative coins?

Commemorative coins are coins which a issued to mark an occasion and are generally issued only in a single year, in a limited quantity. The occasion may be an anniversary or other event, or a particular theme or topic for a series of commemorative coins. Similar to circulation coins, commemorative coins are considered legal tender up to the face value, but their role is not to be used as means of payment. Instead, they are intended to mark historical, cultural and scientific anniversaries of national importance, to pay tribute to outstanding individuals, to call the public’s attention to the country’s historical and cultural values and to celebrate key events in Hungary and abroad.
In Hungary, only the Magyar Nemzeti Bank has legal authorisation to issue money, whether it be circulation coins or commemorative coins, or banknotes. As the issuing authority, the MNB undertakes a guarantee to exchange the legal tender it issues, and thus also commemorative coins, for other legal tender (banknotes or circulation coins) at the face value. The central bank is the official distributor of the commemorative coins it issues; the Hungarian Mint Ltd. distributes the commemorative coins under the following conditions:
Non-ferrous coins: at face value for one year from the date of issue.
Silver coins: at face value for three months from the date of issue.
After expiration of the above periods, non-ferrous and silver commemorative coins are placed on the market at a price above their face value; this price also includes VAT.
Gold coins: At market price exceeding the face value.
Commemorative coins are issued on the basis of an MNB Decree, which appears in the Official Hungarian Gazette. Starting from 1990, the Hungarian Mint Ltd. as the distributor also includes a certificate certifying compliance with the specifications set forth in the issuing decree along with newly issued commemorative coins made of precious metals.

The MNB does not recommend that anyone pay with these commemorative coins. Along with their unique artistic value, the limited production number also helps these coins not only to maintain their value but to gain in value over a shorter or longer period of time and to become valuable collector’s items.

What is a medal?

Medals are similar to commemorative coins from artistic perspective, but do not have any circulation value. Medals basically serve cultural, artistic, representational and propaganda purposes. Anyone may produce and distribute medals, and while a medal may have artistic value, it is never considered to be legal tender. Medals made of precious metal must bear the indication of the material used and its fineness, in accordance with the regulations on marking precious metals. The gold medals produced and distributed by the Hungarian Mint Ltd. bear the mint mark BP. and a sun symbol (hallmark) and a number indicating the fineness (fineness mark). Hence, the mandatory marking for pure gold is BP.O999

Storage – What’s important?

Handling and preserving collections, and improving the conditions of coins is also part of numismatics. Keep the following in mind:

- Do not drop coins as the resulting dents cannot be removed and the coin’s original luster can be lost.

- Use a soft material such as a towel to place under coins when handling them.

- Do not slide coins on hard surfaces in order to avoid scratches.

- Never polish coins: even polishing with soft textiles can scratch a coin’s surface.

- Do not wash coins.

- Store them with care. Try to ensure a very dry, low humidity environment for storing a collection to avoid ageing effects.

- Do not touch the face of the coin with bare hands. Always hold the coin by the sides. For coins that are packaged in capsules, do not remove the coins from the capsule by opening the capsule; handle them carefully to avoid soiling which can make them lose their original shine. It is advisable to use textile gloves when handling the coins.

How can one distinguish between something valuable and a souvenir?

A valuable gift or a simple souvenir?
When purchasing Hungarian commemorative coins, make sure that the coins have the mandatory elements that render them legal tender. Thus, it must bear the legend MAGYARORSZÁG (Hungary, as the issuing country), the denomination in forints, the mint mark BP. and the date of minting. Another source of reliable information is the decree by the MNB as the issuing authority, which is published in the Official Hungarian Gazette and sets forth the maximum number of coins minted and the specifications of the coins (weight, diameter, precious metal content, fineness, finish).