Coin collecting is one of the oldest of all hobbies. Hoards of ancient coins found in excavations indicate that coins were one of the first collectibles. From earliest times, people valued coins not only as a means of trading and storing wealth, but also as miniature works of art.


  1. Understand how coins are made and where the active U.S. Mint facilities are located.
  2. Explain these collecting terms:
    1. Obverse
    2. Reverse
    3. Reeding
    4. Clad
    5. Type set
    6. Date set
  3. Explain the grading terms Uncirculated, Extremely Fine, Very Fine, Fine, Very Good, Good, and Poor. Show five different grade examples of the same coin type. Explain the term proof and why it is not a grade. Tell what encapsulated coins are.
  4. Know three different ways to store a collection, and describe the benefits, drawbacks, and expense of each method. Pick one to use when completing requirements.
  5. Do the following:
    1. Demonstrate to your counselor that you know how to use two U.S. or world coin reference catalogs.
    2. Read a numismatic magazine or newspaper and tell your counselor about what you learned.
  6. Describe the 1999 - 2008 50 State Quarters® Program. Collect and show your counselor five different state quarters you have acquired from circulation.
  7. Collect from circulation a set of current U.S. coins. Include one coin of each denomination (cent, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar, dollar). For each coin, locate the mint marks, if any, and the designer's initials, if any.
  8. Do the following:
    1. Identify the people depicted on the following denominations of current U.S. paper money: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100.
    2. Explain "legal tender."
    3. Describe the role the Federal Reserve System plays in the distribution of currency.
  9. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Collect and identify 50 foreign coins from at least 10 different countries.
    2. Collect and identify 20 bank notes from at least five different countries.
    3. Collect and identify 15 different tokens or medals.
    4. For each year since the year of your birth, collect a date set of a single type of coin.
  10. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Tour a U.S. Mint facility, a Bureau of Engraving and Printing facility, a Federal Reserve bank, or a numismatic museum or exhibit, and describe what you learned to your counselor.
    2. With your parent's permission, attend a coin show or coin club meeting, or view the website of the U.S. Mint or a coin dealer, and report what you learned.
    3. Give a talk about coin collecting to a group such as your troop, a Cub Scout pack, or your class at school.
    4. Do drawings of five Colonial-era U.S. coins.


Scouting Literature

Collections and Stamp Collecting merit badge pamphlets


  • Breen, Walter H. Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins. Doubleday, 1988.
  • Bressett, Ken, and Abe Kasoff, eds. and comps. The Official A.N.A. Grading Standards for United States Coins, 6th ed. St. Martin's Press, 1996.
  • Bruce II, Colin R., and Thomas Michael. 2007 Standard Catalog of World Coins: 2001-Date. Krause Publications, 2006.
  • Cuhaj, George S., ed. Standard Catalog of World Paper Money: General Issues, 11th ed. Krause Publications, 2006.
  • Standard Catalog of World Paper Money: Modern Issues 1961-Present, 12th ed. Krause Publications, 2006.
  • Edler, Joel T., and David C. Harper, eds. U.S. Coin Digest: A Guide to Average Retail Prices From the Market Experts. Krause Publications, 2006.
  • Harper, David C., ed. 2007 North American Coins and Prices: A Guide to U.S., Canadian, and Mexican Coins, 16th ed. Krause Publications, 2006.
  • Krause, Chester L., Robert F. Lemke, and Joel T. Edler, eds. Standard Catalog of U.S. Paper Money, 25th ed. Krause Publications, 2006.
  • Krause, Chester L., and Clifford Mishler. 2007 Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1901-2001, 34th ed. Krause Publications, 2006.
  • Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1601-1700, 3rd ed. Krause Publications, 2003.
  • Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1701-1800, 3rd ed. Krause Publications, 2002.
  • Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801-1900, 4th ed. Krause Publications, 2004.
  • Ruddy, James F. Photograde: A Photographic Grading Encyclopedia for United States Coins, 18th ed. St. Martin's Press, 1996.
  • Slabaugh, Arlie R. Confederate States Paper Money. Krause Publications, 2001.
  • Yeoman, R. S. A Guide Book of United States Coins, 60th ed. Whitman Publishing, 2006.