Are you thinking about getting into coin collecting? Are you already an avid coin collector? Or maybe you stumbled across an interesting coin and want to know if it's worth something. If you're going to be collecting coins, which ones should you keep or seek out?
We've compiled a guide of the top coins to collect if you're in need of some ideas. When it comes down to it, there's value in just about every coin, depending on how long you hold onto it and whether you're able to find someone who's interested in buying when you're ready to sell.
Top 10 Best Coins to Collect
Coin collectors tend to be knowledgeable about the coins in their possession, and the savviest collectors also know how to turn those coins into investments. This list contains some of the most sought-after coins for beginners and advanced collectors alike.
Our countdown of the top 10 best coins to start collecting, starting with number 10, is based on the coin's popularity with collectors, the beauty of their designs and the potential for their value to increase.
10. 1908 St. Gaudens - Arabic Numerals, No Motto
This $20 gold coin is widely considered to be the most beautiful coin ever produced in America. The motto, "In God We Trust," was not initially included by the designer, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. At the end of 1908, the design was changed to include the motto on the coin's reverse. This gold coin without a motto will add value and beauty to any coin collection, and it's available at a modest price, making it obtainable for just about any coin collector.
9. 1932-D Washington Quarter
In 1932, this quarter was produced as a one-year commemoration of the 200th anniversary of George Washington's birthday. The Great Depression prevented the production of Washington quarters in the following year, 1933. In 1934, the design was adopted permanently. You can find the design still in use today.
The 1932-D Washington Quarter is scarce, and thus, is arguably a more valuable addition to a collection than its counterpart minted in San Francisco.
8. 1917 Standing Liberty Quarter — Type 1
In 1916, a limited number of the Standing Liberty Quarter were produced. Given its rarity, it's also quite expensive. The coin's second production year, in 1917, is a much more affordable version of this classic coin.
On the Type 1 coin, Lady Liberty's right breast is exposed. While some considered it to be a beautiful design reminiscent of Greek art, others considered it to be obscene. By 1917, pressure from religious leaders led to the second type of coin on which Lady Liberty's chest is covered up with chain mail armor.
Beginning collectors may be able to get their hands on an affordable, circulated coin. Uncirculated pieces can be obtained quite easily by intermediate coin collectors.
7. 1916-D Mercury Dime
The Mercury dime joined American coinage in 1916. The proper name for the Mercury dime is actually the "Winged Liberty Head Dime". The public believed, however, that the image on the coin of the woman with wings on her head was the Roman god Mercury.
The coin was designed by Adolf Weinman, and as the symbolic design is quite popular, this coin has become quite an icon in the eyes of the American public. As such, it's now one of America's most collected coins, with many experts considering it the most beautiful coin ever produced in the U.S.
6. 1917 Buffalo Nickel
Because the 1917 Buffalo Nickel is one of America's most distinct coins, it's also quite popular among collectors. This coin is one of the few to have the depiction of a living being on both of its sides. The designer of this coin was James Earle Fraser, who was once an assistant to Augustus Saint-Gaudens, a well-known coin designer.
The image of the buffalo was based on an American bison, and the coin was lauded for its American imagery. These nickels are now becoming more challenging to find, but you can purchase a Buffalo Nickel from American Mint, so you can include this one in your collection.
5. Indian Head Penny
James B. Longacre redesigned the Flying Eagle Penny in 1858 per the request of the U.S. Mint. In his redesign process of the Indian Head Penny, he removed the eagle image and brought back Miss Liberty, but this time as a Native American. Longacre may have used his daughter as the model for the image, according to legend. In 1859, his design was introduced and was produced until it was replaced with the Lincoln Penny in 1909.
Today, this penny has become quite difficult to find. Fortunately, coin collectors can purchase this coin from American Mint.
4. 1986 $5 Statue of Liberty Gold Coin
The U.S. Mint issued gold coins in 1986 to commemorate many places, people and events. Many of these coins are now coveted by coin collectors for their limited production, historical appeal and high gold content. The $5 Statue of Liberty 100th Anniversary Gold Coin was the first of these coins to be produced and features the image of Lady Liberty.
A part of the profit of every coin sold was used for the restoration of both the Statue and Ellis Island, along with the future maintenance of the monument. This coin was limited to a production of 500,000 coins. As such, these coins are challenging to find and mostly belong to private collections.
3. 1878-CC Silver Morgan Dollar
Designed by George T. Morgan, the Silver Morgan Dollar was first produced in 1878, and production ended in 1904 as the demand for the coin dropped. Production, however, began again in 1921, though it was only for a short time as it was replaced by the Peace Dollar the same year. The coin is one of the most popular among collectors in America today.
In 1878, the coin was minted in Carson City and San Francisco, and it consists of 10% copper and 90% pure silver. Coin collectors can find these circulated coins at a moderate price. Intermediate collectors may also be able to get their hands on an uncirculated coin.
2. 1921 Peace Dollar
The Peace Silver Dollar was designed by Anthony de Francisci and produced from 1921 until 1928. Then the coin was minted again from 1934 to 1935 for the backing of silver certificates. Anthony de Francisci was an Italian immigrant who admired the Statue of Liberty and used his wife as his model for the portrait, creating a design that was emblematic of liberty for the obverse, which is the "heads" side of a coin. On the reverse side of the coin, an American Eagle design symbolized peace.
This coin has become one of the most beloved among collectors, as the United States Mint produced them over just a few years. The public quickly snatched up these coins. Even though this coin is considered fairly scarce –– particularly the coins that were minted in 1934 and 1935, as they were produced in small quantities –– beginners to coin collecting may be able to acquire one of these coins at a modest price.
1. 1909-S V.D.B. Lincoln Cent
The design of the penny was changed in 1909 to commemorate President Abraham Lincoln's 100th birthday, becoming the first of the Lincoln pennies. The original design of the coin included the last name of the designer, Victor David Brenner. After the United States Mint decided the name was too obtrusive, Brenner changed the design to include only his initials, VDB, on the reverse of the coin. After the release of the coin, there were still protests about the initials, so they were eliminated entirely until being restored in 1918 in a smaller form.
The image that Victor David Brenner designed is still in use today. Along with the initials, the reverse side of the coin also included two sheaves of wheat.
The uncirculated version of this coin contains 5% zinc and tin and 95% copper. You can find this Lincoln penny in an Abraham Lincoln boxed coin set from American Mint.
If you're looking for good coins to collect to start your collection or expand it, we recommend adding these top 10 coins to your list.
What Are the Most Sought After U.S. Coins?
Now that we've covered 10 solid, accessible coins that are worthwhile to add to your collection, we'd like to present some of the most sought after coins in the U.S. market; these rare pieces might be a little harder to locate, but if you can find one, it's certainly worth the purchase.
1. Walking Liberty Half Dollar
The Walking Liberty Half Dollar was introduced and minted from 1916 to 1947. It has since been considered to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing coins to be produced in America. This coin was designed by Adolph A. Weinman, featuring Miss Liberty wearing an American flag across her shoulders. The Walking Liberty Half Dollar is one of the most collected coins today due to its high silver content and historical significance. Circulated coins are an affordable option for collectors.
2. 50 State Quarters
In 1999, the United States Mint started producing these quarters to honor the 50 states. The 50 State Quarters series was completed in 2009. This is the most successful numismatic program, as many collectors have collected every coin in the series or have chosen to collect coins from states they've visited.
3. Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle
The Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles were minted from 1907 to 1933. Today, they are the most popular gold coins. While Americans loved the coin, it had a short life after President Franklin Roosevelt made owning gold privately illegal. All but a few of these gold coins were confiscated and destroyed.
4. Two-Cent Coin
In 1864, the Two-Cent Coin was released, becoming the first coin to bear the motto "In God We Trust." Production of this coin lasted until 1873, and a well-worn coin is very affordable for collectors.
5. Silver Peace Dollar
From 1921 to 1928 and again from 1934 to 1935, the Silver Peace Dollar was minted to commemorate the end of World War I. The design of this coin included Lady Liberty adorned with a crown, and on the reverse, an eagle clutching olive branches. These symbols enabled the coin to become an icon of liberty and peace in the U.S. Because this coin is considered to be the final American silver dollar, it's highly sought after by collectors.
Because these coins are small and available in very limited quantities, they are highly favored by coin collectors.
What Are the Best Coins to Collect for Investment?
If you enjoy collecting coins purely for the investment value, you may be wondering what coins are worth your time and money. This list can help you get started with the best coins to collect for profit.
1. Rare, Key Date Coins
The best coins to collect for investment are generally considered to be rare, key date coins in the best grade. Key date coins refer to coins that have a date or a combined date and mint mark that are incredibly rare and difficult to find. These also tend to be some of the most expensive coins in a collection, though the value or price of these coins is also determined by other factors, such as the survival rate, condition rarity, mintage and the popularity of the series among collectors.
2. High-Grade Coins
Purchasing a coin in a high grade is key to finding the best coins to collect for profit. A high grade affects how the value of your coin appreciates. Common, lower grade coins haven't appreciated as well as key date coins, so they may not be the best investment choice, though they can still be a lot of fun to collect and add to an album.
If spending thousands of dollars on a key date coin in a high grade isn't affordable for you, you may want to consider purchasing coins in the finest grade you can afford.
Coin experts believe many U.S. nickels are undervalued. Obsolete coins of a high grade, such as silver Kennedy Half Dollars, Walking Liberty and Franklin are also considered underrated.
3. Bullion Coins
Another coin that could be a great investment is a bullion coin. These coins are typically made from precious metal, such as silver, gold or platinum. Bullion coins make good investment coins because metals tend to rise in value over time.
When it comes to investing, these are the coins worth collecting.
Coins From American Mint
Put your new knowledge to the test by browsing our coin selection at American Mint. Our service promise includes:
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If for some reason you're not satisfied with your purchase, you can utilize our money-back guarantee. With our money-back guarantee, you can return any item, for any reason, within 20 days and we'll provide you with a replacement, a refund or a credit to your account.
With American Mint, every collector can find the right piece for their collection. Ready to add the next great coin to your collection? Browse and shop for coins online today.