Coin collecting is a wonderful hobby, but as any coin collector knows, coins can quickly accumulate. To avoid your collection turning into clutter, an inventory is needed that involves cataloging your coins. Thankfully, this is an easy process that is simply the systematic recording of observations about your coins.
Identify the system that you want to use. Depending on your level of comfort with computers, programs like Microsoft Excel can be very helpful in cataloging a collection. If not, a simple notebook or index cards will work.
Record basic characteristics of each coin. These include the country of origin, the date and the mint mark. From this, you can look at a book either on United States of World coins to determine the metal if not self-evident from simple observation.
Record the weight of the coin using a scale that is accurate to the hundredth gram.
Note any other information. Write down the grade (the condition of the coin), when and where the coin was purchased and any additional characteristics which may be useful for the recording and future identification of the coin. If you'd like, use the guide book and record a fun note about the coin's history, or something unique that attracts you to the coin.
Make a copy of the inventory and keep it separate from the coins. This way, if the coins are stolen, your inventory is safe with you.
Use digital photos for an extra layer of documentation.
Do not attempt to clean your coins to make them more attractive, as this may diminish the value substantially.