Many hobbyists buy numismatic books and software to document their coins, but few use digital microscopes that not only can identify varieties and errors but also can be used to return purchases on eBay and other venues.
There are many types of microscopes available on Amazon. I have a PC (not Apple), and so I viewed products compatible with my laptop.
At first, I purchased the less expensive ($125) Tomlov DM10, pictured below:
But decided to return it because of two problems. The picture quality was great, but the stand was too small. In other words, it was great for extreme closeups but useless if you want to capture an image of a large coin like a Morgan or Peace dollar. The more serious drawback concerned its inability to connect to a laptop with HDMI cable.
I then purchased the Tomlov DM210 Pro ($182). It featured a 10-inch stand and HDMI cable, plus other updated features.
One of those features is six LED lights and two flexible side lights. In the past, numismatists would purchase expensive light boxes and other camera equipment to get a decent photo of a coin, especially ones that had cartwheel or Prooflike luster. No use for that anymore.
Of course, you can use the microscope to detect coin doubling, errors, varieties, and other features of a coin. But one of the best uses is detecting a flaw in a coin purchased online. Often seller photos unintentionally or intentionally mask flaws. Sometimes toning hides pin scratches and other defects.
That was the case with this PCI-holdered 1884-O Morgan with great toning — so great, in fact, that it obscured a pin scratch on the reverse. Here’s the eBay photo:
See if you can find the scratch.
When I received the coin, I could tell immediately that it would not cross over to PCGS because of the pin scratch on the breast of the eagle, a key location.
Now, look at the scratch when magnified by the Tomlov DM210 Pro:
The above photo was used in my eBay return.
Setting up the Tomlov DM210 is relatively easy as it comes almost entirely assembled. You just have to set up the stand and microscope. It has a remote, too, that is ready to use (don’t try to open it). However, attaching all the cables to the computer requires more information than is contained in the product booklet.
To show you that, and how to use the microscope for an eBay return, I created this video:
I like the product for other reasons. It takes crisper photos than my Samsung cell phone, and the led lights capture color as well as detail in a professional manner.