Numerous people all over the world enjoy doing research about coins and finding the rarest, most unique exemplars. If you’re here, it means you’re interested in this world, so congratulations! It’s a wonderful hobby to engage in, particularly if you love history, educational content, learning, aesthetic designs, and valuable items.
When you first start getting coins, you might not know whether or not they’re worth something. Therefore, understanding all the essential factors that influence a coin’s value is crucial, particularly if you want to sell them and make some revenue or simply keep them for a long time. Fortunately, this guide tells you everything you need to know.
When you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly what makes the value of a coin change. You’ll understand all the aspects that influence the items’ prices, and you’ll probably want to immediately get out of your house and find more coins or sell the ones you already own!
Why Are Coins Valuable if They're Old?
Collecting coins is a hobby you might be interested in if you believe that it’ll give you some extra revenue. If you’re here, it means you probably have numerous doubts, and don’t worry – many people do when they’re getting started!
Overall, the first thing you should keep in mind is that coin collectors often don’t really look at how old a coin is. When you find coin dealers to sell your coins to, they won’t really take into account the age of the item. Instead, they look at the minting and how well-preserved it is.
Therefore, it’s more about finding rare coins than looking at how old one is. As you gain experience and meet other coin collectors, you’ll be able to distinguish between the best deals and the ones that you shouldn’t pay much attention to.
Should You Start This Hobby?
Regardless of whether you want gold coins, silver coins, or other types, finding old coins is always a good idea, especially if you want to try out a new hobby.
United States coins can be valuable depending on the ones you have. Therefore, if you want to try collecting, you should definitely get into it, particularly if you already know some people who do it as well and would like to have some fun!
Are Coins Worth Something?
One of the primary things you probably want to know is the accurate value of the precious metals you’re purchasing.
Something you should keep in mind is that coin values vary depending on the price of the precious metal they’re made from. At the same time, other factors affect it, such as the mint mark, the state of the coin, etc.
Thus, to determine the face value of a gold coin, you need to consider different important factors. The coin’s rarity, whether or not they were from the Civil War, if they have a worn condition, and more.
If an old coin does not have a valuable mint mark or it’s barely identifiable, it might not be worth much. However, you might have an uncirculated coin in your hands, or one that’s rare or immensely valuable. When that happens, you might be able to get a lot of money for it!
Some people get precious metal coins such as half dollars, silver dollars, gold coins, etc., but they don’t do it because of the cash. Check out the next section and learn why others get into this hobby.
Why People Collect Coins
When you learn the face value of your coin, you might think it’s not worth much. Nonetheless, its value could mean something more to you – for example, it could have an emotional significance.
Overall, there are numerous reasons why you should get into the world of coins. Many people in the US don’t even know much about world coins, but once you start learning, you’ll probably want to add more items than just your old Buffalo nickels to your collection. Take a look at some reasons to find and grade coins:
To Make Money
The first reason was previously mentioned before. Sometimes, people get silver dollars, other silver coins, gold coins, silver half dollars, or error coins because they know they can sell them and get some cash for them. If you contact coin dealers, you could ask them what the face value of the old coins you have is. Even though some old silver coins are not worth much, you could get some money if you sell them anyway.
Finding gold coins, silver dollars, half dollars, and world coins is not so much about the money as it is about the practice of the hobby. However, if you’re looking to make some extra revenue without overworking yourself, this might be a good idea!
Coin-collecting Is a Challenge
Some people wrongly believe that finding old coins represents no challenge because it just consists of finding them and selling them. Nonetheless, if you know the face value of an uncirculated coin or a rare gold coin, you know that this is not the case.
Finding valuable gold coins, half dollars, or half dimes is immensely challenging. The American Numismatic Association takes great care when you hire experts to grade coins, for example, so you must prove that the item you have in your hand is worth something.
To do that, you must spend some time learning about coin values, coin type, average, mint marks, and more. Just because you have an old coin doesn’t mean it means something – you have to dedicate yourself to this hobby to enjoy it as much as you can!
Many people give up on finding coins because they believe it’s too challenging. However, if you’re here, it means this world piqued your interest (as it should!), so you’re probably willing to spend some time locating the best exemplars and learning more about them.
All hobbies have their advantages and disadvantages. If you’re learning guitar, for example, you’ll have to deal with the roughness of the skin of your fingers for brushing them against tough, metal strings. Nonetheless, when you engage in something you love, you might even lose track of time, and this is exactly what can happen here, so don’t hesitate to give the coin world a chance!
Art and Beauty
Finding and keeping most coins (even common coins) means you have a beautiful piece of art in your hand. Jefferson nickels, gold coins, half dollars, and other US coins are not only valuable in terms of money but also because they represent a specific moment in time that occurred decades ago!
If you love vintage stuff and understand how half dime values have risen over the years, how half dollars are worth a lot of money depending on their mint mark, and overall how precious metal old coins can change your view of history and art, this hobby might be for you.
Education and History
Knowing this might surprise you, but many people get old coins because they enjoy the educational value of these items. When you have an old coin, you can learn more about the history of the country it’s from and the moment when the item was in circulation.
Even though the face value of old coins is important when you’re finding these items, there are other essential things as well, for example, what it means to you. Even common coins from rare dates could be meaningful if you know what they represent.
To Leave a Legacy
Some collectors start getting Buffalo nickels, half-dollar coins, old pennies, and other types of items when they’re very young. Regardless of the true value of the beautiful coin you own, you can leave a legacy if you’ve been collecting for years or are planning to do so starting now.
You can leave your coins to the people you love, and years from now, they can keep finding old pennies as you did. It’s a fantastic way to share some time with others and enjoy their company!
The last reason why some collect old pennies is to simply relax! This activity can drive your thoughts away from the daily hassle of your life. You can completely unwind and focus on something else for a while, enjoy your collection, and even take beautiful pictures and share them with others.
Having coins from rare dates is fun, particularly because you might feel very special. However, the coin value is not the only factor that drives people to collect, as you know by now. Even if the true value of your coin shows that it’s a rare, old one, it doesn’t mean you have to sell it or do anything with it other than enjoy it yourself.
As a general rule, finding coins is a hobby. Therefore, keep your pocket change somewhere safe to avoid it and have fun finding the most beautiful items you can! Take your hobby to the next level by taking pictures or videos, or even doing a small display of your coins to show others what you have!
Factors that Affect an Old Coin's Value
Now that you understand some reasons why people love finding old coins, you might wonder what makes its value vary. As was briefly described before, the face value of a coin changes depending on different factors. Here are some of them:
Firstly, the face value of an old coin can vary depending on what collectors know as ‘population.’ Suppose that the half dollar you have is one of the few that are left of that year. If not many coins existed in the first place and you have one of them, this could make your item immensely valuable.
Morgan dollars are one of the best examples you can consider to understand this better. Even though around 3.5 million of them circulated in 1981 and 1982, only a few of these coins still exist. Therefore, their face value is high.
Mintage of Rare Coins
The mintage of old coins is one of the most essential factors collectors keep in mind when they get started on this hobby. When collectors mention the mintage of an old coin, they refer to how many coins of that type were made in the first place. Generally speaking, the lower the mintage of old coins, the higher their face value is because it means you have something rare and unique.
Many collectors like checking the mint state of their old coins – find the tiny letter printed somewhere on your item and find out where they’re from! You might get a lot of information from it, and this is crucial if you want to broaden your knowledge about this practice.
The Condition of the Coins
Another crucial factor to keep in mind when you’re determining the face value of old coins is the condition of your items. If your highly-collectible old coin has a worn condition, its value might decrease, even if the mint state is rare. Highly-sought old coins are very valuable, but you must still ensure that they’re in the best condition possible, especially if you want to get good prices for them.
Although there are coins that existed on rare dates, this doesn’t immediately mean they’re valuable. On occasions, some exemplars are in high demand and others are not, so you should consider this if you’re collecting, especially if you have more than one item from the same year.
There are no specific rules to determine which old coin is on demand and which one is not. However, you can always ask a dealer, and they’ll give you an idea of how this works. At the same time, foreign, rare old coins are often in demand because they’re more unique than local, common items. Even so, make sure to ask someone with more expertise to find out more about what you have.
Age of the Coins
This idea has been briefly discussed above as well. Overall, just because you have an old coin doesn’t mean it’s valuable. Nonetheless, the year your coin is from could serve other purposes, particularly if you want to determine its value. Instead of thinking that the older your coin, the higher its value, you should consider the year as a detail to find out whether or not it’s valuable.
Thus, once you find out the year and the mint mark of your coin, do some research and try to determine if its population is big, if there are many exemplars left, etc. As you can see, even though the year does not directly correlate to your coin’s value, it can give you a lot of handy information on this matter.
Lastly, you should also remember that some old coins’ material is not as long-lasting as others. Thus, if your exemplar has been around for decades but shows a worn-out condition, its value might decrease because it hasn’t endured throughout time.
Design of the Coin
Coin values sometimes depend on the visuals and aesthetic importance of what your item displays. If you’re new to finding and keeping coins, you might not notice the difference, but people with years of experience definitely will.
As a collector, you want to make sure that you have the best items in your hands. Thus, you should keep in mind that some coins are released only for a specific period of time, and they often have a unique design that shows monarchs or a political party. These items are collectibles, and years later, they might be worth a lot.
If you want to know more about the design of your coin, check its mint letter and the year that it was released. Compare what you’re seeing with what you find online, and try to determine if your exemplar is worth a lot!
Bullion Gold Coins
The face value of a coin also varies depending on the material they’re made from. As a general rule, you probably know that gold and silver are more expensive than copper or brass.
Therefore, if you have a gold or silver half-dollar, it might be worth much more than a brass one. Furthermore, eccentric designs and rare dates could make your item’s value increase even more!
The coin value of your item is not the most crucial factor you should keep in mind when you’re organizing your exemplars. By now, you know that this hobby is about having fun, leaving a legacy behind, or even relaxing. Thus, if you don’t have silver or gold coins, don’t worry! You can still enjoy your time as a collector!
When you collect coins, the last factor that influences their face value is their lineage. If the half-dollar you have was previously in the hands of someone famous or historically significant, its value might increase.
Finding out the coin type, average, population, and minting details is often not that challenging when you know where to look. However, determining the previous owners might be trickier, particularly if you try doing it on your own.
Nonetheless, it’s an essential piece of information you need to obtain, especially if you want to sell your coin. Thus, if you don’t know how to find that out, make sure you team up with experienced professionals to help you.
Types of Coins and Their Value
The value of your item also depends on the coin type, average, and specific characteristics that it has. Therefore, this section is all about the types of coins you might find as a collector, and whether or not they’re worth something.
When you’re first learning about minting, coin type, average, and coin population, you might not know many details. Nonetheless, one of the first things you should consider is that half cents are immensely rare and they’re worth a lot.
There are not many half-cent coins around, which is why they can be worth $2,000 or more. These coins circulated from 1800 to 1808, and having some from rare dates, for example, from 1802, means you can probably get a lot of cash from your item.
American Large Cents
These coins are much more common than the previously mentioned ones, so they’re worth less. If you have one of them, you could probably get 20 bucks out of it.
However, as you may know by now, other factors affect the value of an item like this, for instance, the coin type, average, grading, and its minting letters. Consequently, if you have 1794, 1795, or 1796 coins in a ‘fine’ condition, their price can go up to even $5,000.
The two Euro cent coins were initially minted in the year 1864, and approximately 20 million pieces went out to the public. If you have one of them and it has the 1864 mint motto, you could get up to $1,000 for it. Keep in mind that these exemplars represent peace, so for many people, they have a heavy emotional and historical value.
Flying Eagle Coins
All experienced collectors know that these coins are some of the most valuable ones out there. If you have one 1986 mint, you might get up to 12,000 dollars for it. The Flying Eagle pennies are in such high demand that even if yours is in ‘good’ grade, you can still get up to 4,000 dollars if you sell it.
Overall, the coin value of these exemplars is high because they only went out for three years, from 1855 to 1858. At the same time, they represent freedom and American pennies. If there is no wear, collectors and dealers say the coin is in ‘mint state.’ The most essential details to look out for in this coin are the feathers of the eagle and the date. If these two are clear, you might get a lot of revenue when selling it.
These exemplars are rare, so if you have one of them, their coin value might be high. Even though more than 17 million of them were in circulation once, a few years later (from 1882 to 1887) only some survived. Three-nickel coins are not worth as much as other ones you’ve learned about on this list. Having one means you can sell it for around 200 dollars.
V or Liberty Nickles
These nickels have a similar design to the one formerly mentioned because they have Liberty and Roman letters representing the number five (three-cent nickels have the number three on Roman letters).
Even though some details of these exemplars might be blurred, since they’re considered to be part of a collectors’ edition, their coin value might be high as well.
Seated Liberty Dimes
These coins are beautiful because the entire figure of Liberty holds the shield of the United States, which represents Congress. The cap on top of it, on the other hand, represents freedom.
Furthermore, the coin value of these exemplars is high as well, particularly because collectors consider them rare. They only lasted for a few years, so if you want to get some extra revenue, you could sell them.
Unlike other types of coins, these were around for longer. Bust quarters were made from 1796 to 1838. However, they’re immensely rare, and their coin value can reach up to 10,000 dollars.
This coin shows Liberty facing her right side, and her flowing hair is loose on her back, tied with a ribbon. It’s one of the rarest old exemplars to find, which is why it’s worth so much. If you have one that’s not minted or in fantastic condition, it can still cost up to 2,000 dollars. Minted ones, on the other hand (especially if they’re from 1805) can cost 12,000 or more.
Liberty 2.5 Dollar Coins
Firstly, if you’re a beginner collector, you should keep in mind that the minimum coin value you can expect from a gold exemplar is 200 dollars. Coins with silver content are usually worth a bit less.
Nonetheless, worn-out coins are worth less, regardless of whether they have gold or silver content. Thus, if you have one in a fine state, you might get a lot of cash from it, especially if it’s an 1881 uncirculated 2.5-dollar coin.
Liberty 10 Dollar Gold Coins
If you have a 10-dollar gold coin, you can get at least 800 dollars out of it. Liberty faces left in these exemplars, and there are 13 stars surrounding her.
On the coin’s other side, there’s an eagle holding arrows and an olive branch. Moreover, these coins are so rare that if you have an exemplar from 1893, it can cost from 1,100 to 5,000 dollars depending on its mint letters and condition.
Morgan Silver Coins
In this case, the value of the item starts at 20 dollars. However, if you have an 1886 New Orleans mint Morgan silver dollar, it can cost over a thousand dollars.
In these coins, Liberty has a cap and a band, whereas the eagle on the other side is flying upright, symbolizing national pride.
Benefits of this Hobby
When you’re new at coin-collecting, you might wonder why so many people do it, especially if no one around you engages in this hobby. Although you now understand the reasons behind it, knowing the benefits of trying it out is just as essential, especially if you want to get the most out of it.
The first thing you should keep in mind is that finding coins will allow you to learn a lot about your culture and history. In America, there have been numerous happenings that have changed the course of the country’s history, and they have shifted people’s perspective on what living in the US means. Therefore, having valuable coins helps you be motivated to read up on what has occurred and understand the meaning behind the designs and minting process of the exemplars you’re holding.
Another benefit of this hobby is that you can meet people who love it just as much as you do. If you want to connect with others, make friends, or just chat with them from time to time, finding old coins is a way to do that. Show off your goods and see what other people have as well.
Lastly, if you find coins, you’re dedicating some time to a hobby that helps you release stress and focus your attention on something completely different. Instead of thinking about your finances, work, or family issues, you can spend a few hours learning more about coins, their history, and more.
Billions of coins have been in circulation for decades. Some of them stopped circulating, others only went out for a short time, and others are collectors’ editions that won’t be out again. When you first start collecting, you might be overwhelmed due to the numerous things you have to keep in mind to make the right purchases and sell for the best prices.
However, as you gain experience, you might notice that things get easier. You’re probably now able to differentiate between some coins, especially if you’re attentive to details and understand how minting, dates, and design work.
By now, you also have an idea of how much your old coins are worth. Thus, you can make your own choice – decide if you want to sell it or keep it. Regardless of what you choose, this world will welcome you as a collector of rare and unique items!