Coin Loupes and magnifiers come is a variety of magnifications from 2x to – 30x, and lens diameters from 8mm to 19.8mm, then you have the different types lighted, folded, free-standing, triple lenses, etc. So, when searching to buy a magnifier or loupe, it becomes immediately apparent that the choices can confuse the uniformed buyer. However, the correct choice is relatively simpler than you might think, and below are a few tips on selecting the correct loupe
Power Of Magnification: The power of magnification refers to the capacity in the lens to increase the image size. In example, a 10x loupe will magnify a coin 10 times it’s normal size at 1 inch above the coin. A 10x loupe is the choice for dealers, grading companies and jewelers.
Field Of View: The field of view is the amount of area you can see of the magnified coin, and this is determined by two things-the strength of the magnification and size of coin. The stronger the magnification the smaller the field of view, and it depends on the size of the coin your viewing (Obvious that you can see more of a small cent then you can a silver dollar).
Lens diameter is smaller the higher the magnification. A 10x loupe will have a lens diameter of 15.8mm, but some can be as large as 19.8mm. I recommend the largest diameter lens for silver dollar collectors, but it’s not too important considering a collector will be examining a little of each coin at a time anyway.
Lens Quality: Lens quality is how well a lens is made, and this might sound too simple and irrelevant to mention, but far from it. I won’t beat around the bush here. A Hastings Triplet or Jeweler’s loupe are the best loupes a coin collector can buy, it’s what the experts use, jewelers use and is recommended by all experts and knowledgeable coin collectors.
Why? Because most loupes being sold don’t have a well crafted lens and they will distort the details of a coin or any other object with small details. Most magnifiers and loupes for sale at department stores, flea markets, coin dealers and at ebay are not triplet loupes unless the description says it is. If you buy both, you will see the difference.
Now that we have highlighted the most important aspects of choosing a magnifier or loupe, let’s go over some details. A 10x loupe is an all around perfect choice, and most coin experts agree-if an error or detail can’t be seen with a 10x loupe then it’s not worth much attention.
Find a well crafted lens like a Hastings Triplet Loupe or Jewelers loupe so the magnification is clear and crisp. The lens should be glass because plastic is an inferior material for lens crafting. You will pay more for a jewelers loupe but it’s worth the investment.