How do you eat an elephant?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Mountain Man, May 7, 2021.

  1. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Supporter! Supporter

    A few weeks ago, I purchased ten pounds of world coins to go through, just to have something to do. First of all, the small box they came in nearly broke my wrist when the employee from my local UPS Store handed it to me. I never realized how heavy ten pounds, in a small package about the size of a brick, was.
    Next, how does one attack having several hundred different types and sizes of coins. I'm usually pretty logical, but I had to stop and ponder how to deal with all of those coins. Do I group them by the metal they are minted in? By their denomination? By country? By shape? By size?
    I decided on the latter and picked out all of the smallest coins. I divided those by the metal they were minted with. Copper, brass, white metal (no silver, darn it). Being the smallest coins they are going to test my eyes better than any optometrist could. I will now separate those by country and denomination, before attacking the other coins.
    I'm just curious to know what others would do under these same circumstances, and having access to a sorting machine isn't fair. LOL

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  3. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I personally would go first by language: Cyrillic in one pile, Latin characters in another, etc.

    Then by size, then by color, then by country
    capthank and Mkm5 like this.
  4. CoinJockey73

    CoinJockey73 Here comes trouble... Dealer

    One bite at a time, of course.
  5. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    You have all the time in the world, so priority doesn't matter and since our trains run on different tracks, the choice of method should be one of preference. I think you chose the best track.
    capthank and Mountain Man like this.
  6. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    I'd arrange by country then chronologically by date because that's how I'd expect the guides I'd ultimately be consulting to determine what I got to be arranged.
    Spark1951, capthank, Mkm5 and 3 others like this.
  7. William F

    William F Well-Known Member

    When I'm going through world coins I separate them first by metal type, then into smaller piles by what country they're from, and finally by date and denomination...
    Everyone has a different method, not one is the "right" or "wrong" way, just go with whatever works for you! :)
    capthank, Hookman and Mountain Man like this.
  8. Cinco71

    Cinco71 Active Member

    First sort them into a couple of broad groups: letters you can read and those you can't. Then in the letters you can read, maybe sort them into a few other piles by continent. From there you can probably much more easily narrow them down to countries. Depending on how you're going to store them, go ahead and start labeling them. Maybe sort them out there into years. That will take awhile. Then, go back and try to figure out the coins which have characters you can't read. That will take longer, but will be fun in its own way.
    capthank and Mountain Man like this.
  9. J.T. Parker

    J.T. Parker Well-Known Member

    1st by Continents!
    Mountain Man likes this.
  10. micbraun

    micbraun coindiccted Supporter

    Exactly this. Why would you arrange them by size or metal…?
    jb10000lakes likes this.
  11. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Supporter! Supporter

    Fortunately, I only see less than 10 coins with a unknown language, so sorting by the country is easy, but just the shear amount of eye strain to decide what country the smallest ones are, is going to be a fun challenge.
    SmokinJoe, capthank and Kentucky like this.
  12. 1stSgt22

    1stSgt22 Well-Known Member

    I've found sorting foreign coins by country first makes it easier for me to research them. Books usually have them listed that way too!! JMO
    Spark1951 and Mr. Flute like this.
  13. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Supporter! Supporter

    Because, like eating an elephant, a guy has to start somewhere. LOL
  14. MIGuy

    MIGuy Supporter! Supporter

    You crazy. I ate elephant - in Kruger National Park in South Africa they cull the old elephants and make biltong (jerky) out of them. It was okay. I prefer turkey jerky, but I've eaten lots of weird stuff.
    William F likes this.
  15. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    I separate by country, then denomination, then type, then date.
  16. Kurisu

    Kurisu Supporter! Supporter

    Sounds like a job for an intern :cigar:

    John Burgess likes this.
  17. John Burgess

    John Burgess Well-Known Member

    What I did was take a 2nd bucket and just go through them one by one and if there is something I definitely want to keep I stuck it in a 2x2 and labeled it. whether it was out of interest, or one I needed, or needed to research more on. after doing this I finished out the labeling on them.

    Then i went back to the previous bucket a 2nd time, just to see if I missed something. basically it's just removing the "definitely keeping them" from the pile. then as time permits sort them however you want to. I ended up just putting all of them in 2x2s and then in binder pages for 2x2s, (which apparently gets really heavy and has a 4" spine but still has room for more), I only left out the doubles, and the ones I'd considered culls. one labeled and in 2x2s, then I organized by country, and then set up the binder to accommodate them, but to be honest, I didn't leave much room in the binder from country to country so I find myself having to shift them around.

    I didn't buy my world coins, it's just an accumulation from coin roll finds and pocket change odds and ends, coin star rejects people left behind and stuff I was given over 30 years I'd just kept in jars. so while there was a couple hundred unique examples, it was canada heavy and not extremely representative of the entire world, maybe 30-40 countries tops. it was at least as big as what's in the picture though.

    My way isn't the fastest, but I wasn't in a hurry either,I kind of wished I would have organized the binder better for the finished product, when I need to add something to it, sometimes I have to shift things around to make space on a page.

    my opinion once you've got them in 2x2s and labeled what they are, it goes a lot smoother for organizing it how you want it.

    of course it really matters on if you are just looking, or if you intend to organize it by country, ya know what the finished result will be. if you are just looking through them all for errors or oddities, and to just see different countries coins, and don't plan to put it into an organized format at the end, then I'd probably just keep it around the favorite sitting spot with a 2nd bucket and pull one out here or there to inspect and pitch it in the other bucket when done. sort of like the world coin bucket at the LCS.
  18. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Supporter! Supporter

    I am working on them very slowly and finding a couple of things: One, they are so very dirty that I need to wear gloves. Two, all recent dates, only finding a few before 2000. What I am doing is learning a lot about the different types of coins. I was really surprised to find that so many have several different mints that produce them. Example: Argentina peso was/is minted in: Buenos Aires, Royal Mint, UK, Paris Mint, Casa de Moneda de Mexico, and Rome, Italy. Other coins have similar minting locations, like Mint of Poland, or other small countries.
    I'm enjoying the learning and the different art work of those coins, so I'll just keep on plugging away at them.
    GARY R COYIER likes this.
  19. juris klavins

    juris klavins Well-Known Member

    With some fava beans and a nice chianti ;)

  20. CoinJockey73

    CoinJockey73 Here comes trouble... Dealer

    Only if you're an elephant, of course...
    juris klavins likes this.
  21. SmokinJoe

    SmokinJoe Well-Known Member

    If anyone can do it, I am sure you can Mountain Man!
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