Coins to Collect: The Most Popular and Valuable Coins

Many people like to collect coins. Some people collect valuable coins used as legal tender in the past.

A coin’s worth is determined by its condition and scarcity. The most valuable coins have historical value, distinctive or recognizable minting flaws, or limited mintage.

Numismatics is the study of coins and paper currency. It is done academically. Coin collecting is when someone gets coins to keep them as valuable things.

You may make a lot of money from coin collecting if you know which coins to collect and what to look for when calculating a coin’s worth.

Here, we examine the most precious coins so that you can make successful decisions. We also examine how to discover precious coins to establish a collection that will be admired by others and serve as a sound investment for the future.

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1913 Liberty Head V Nickel

1794 Flowing Hair Dollar

1933 Indian Head Gold Eagle

1893 Morgan Silver Dollar

A Brief History of Coin Collecting

In 650 B.C.E., certain coins first circulated as legal money. However, people began to acquire and hoard coins much later due to their artistic value.

The passion for coin collecting has existed for a very long time. Treasury departments and researchers gathered and cataloged coins in Ancient Rome, where the earliest historical records existed. Emperor Augustus gave coins to courtiers as souvenirs during significant events and celebrations in the first century.

During the Renaissance, many people became interested in coin collecting. This was especially true for royalty and those in the upper classes. Some notable people known for their interest and expertise in this activity were Italian scholar Petrarch, Pope Boniface VIII, Louis XIV of France, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and Elector Joachim II of Brandenburg.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the methodology of coin collectors became more organized and cerebral. This led to the birth of numismatics. Also, during this time, coin collecting became popular among the middle classes in Europe.

During the 1850s, coin collecting gained popularity in the United States. In 1893, individuals began collecting coins from Mint facilities. Later, in 1962, the American Numismatic Association and the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association hosted the first international convention for coin collectors in Detroit, Michigan. There were approximately 40,000 attendees.

What Qualities Do Coin Collectors Search for in Valuable Coins?

Coin Condition

Condition plays a significant role in deciding a coin’s worth. Coins in impeccable condition are worth more than coins with some wear and tear.

Coins that are worth the most money have never been used. They were taken out of circulation so they would stay rare and good-quality.

Mint Marks

Mint marks are the locations on coins where they were made. Most people know about regular coins’ S, D, and P mint marks. But the W mint mark is special because it means the coin was made in the West Point mint. Other U.S. Mints in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco.

The W Mint mark on coins often makes them more rare and valuable. American Eagles and Buffalos made of gold or silver are good examples of bullion coins. Collectors like these coins because they help keep the value of a collection over time.


Mintage is the number of copies of a specific coin that is made. The fewer the number, the more valuable the coin.

Meltdown Value

The meltdown value of a coin is how much metal the coin contains if it is melted down.

Some coins are more valuable than others. The value of coins containing precious metals, such as gold and silver, increases. Bullion coins have a minimum of 97.1% precious metal by weight, making them very valuable. They also guarantee to retain and even increase their value over time.

Mint Error Coins

Error coins are some of the most valuable coins. They are rare because not many go into circulation. People want them because they are accidents or mistakes made by people during the minting process or when the equipment used to make coins start to wear down.

5 Valuable Coins in Circulation

1. 1913 Liberty Head V Nickel

  • Face Value: $0.05
  • Numismatic Value: $3.7–$5 million
  • Mint Mark: No mint mark
  • Silver Content: 0%
  • Total Produced: Unknown

The 1913 Liberty Head Nickel is a rare American five-cent coin that the United States Mint was not authorized. This makes it one of the most desired coins in American numismatics.

Currently, just five coins are believed to be in existence. In 1972, a coin was sold for more than $100,000. Another coin was auctioned for $1 million in 1996. In 2010, the Olsen coin was sold for $3.7 million at a public auction. The worth of this coin is $5 million.

2. 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar

  • Face Value: $1
  • Numismatic Value: $75,000–$825,000
  • Mint Mark: No mint mark
  • Silver Content: 90%
  • Silver Melt Value: $21.53
  • Total Produced: Approximately 2,000

The first dollar ever issued in the United States was the 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar. Only 1,758 of these coins were ever minted, so they are rare and valuable pieces of American history. Get them certified before purchasing them, as they can be worth up to $800,000 at auction.

3. 1933 Indian Head Gold Eagle

  • Face Value: $10
  • Current Numismatic Value: $2,000–$600,000
  • Gold Content: 90%
  • Gold Melt Value: $915.72
  • Mint Mark: No mint mark
  • Total Produced: Approximately 312,000

Between 1907 and 1933, the $10 Indian Head Gold Eagle was struck by the United States Mint. It was designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who was very popular among American numismatists. After 1933, these coins ceased being minted because President Roosevelt banned the private ownership of gold in the U.S. Most were melted down after the ban, but a few still remain.

The current auction value for these coins is $2,200. However, some of these coins have been known to fetch up to $600,000 at auction.

4. 1893 Morgan Silver Dollar

  • Face Value: $1
  • Numismatic Value: $3000–$400,000
  • Mint Mark: S
  • Silver Content: 90%
  • Silver Melt Value: $21.53
  • Total Produced: Approximately 100,000

The 1893 Morgan Silver Dollar is a rare coin. It is said that only 100,000 were ever made, and because so many were melted down, there are not many of them left today.

In 2001, one of these coins was sold for a lot of money. A piece in certified mint condition could be quite expensive.

5. 1927 St Gaudens Double Eagle

  • Face Value: $2
  • Numismatic Value: $1800 – $3000
  • Mint Mark: D
  • Gold Content: 90%
  • Gold Melt Value: $1834.28
  • Total Produced: Approximately 180,000

The 1927 D St Gaudens Double Eagle is one of the United States’ most valued gold coins.

These coins were made in Philadelphia, but they don’t have a mintmark. They contain around one troy ounce of gold. People call them Saint-Gaudens coins because their designer was Augustus Saint-Gaudens. These coins are worth between $1800 and $3000.

How Can You Determine the Worth, Store, and Safeguard Your Coin Collection?

Now that you have a precious coin collection, it is essential to preserve it from theft, loss, fire, and other natural catastrophes by proper treatment.

Before handling expensive coins, you should always wash your hands. Avoid getting oils, bodily fluids, and other impurities on the face of each coin by holding it by its edge. Make sure you handle your coins over a soft surface so that they won’t get damaged if you happen to drop them.

Store your valuable collection in a place where it will be protected from extreme heat and cold, humidity, air pollution, acids, and salt. Bedrooms, libraries, home offices, or dens are good places to store your collection.

If your coins are from the U.S. Mint, or if they have been graded by a coin grading service, it is best not to remove them from their original holders or capsules. In the view of other collectors, this may diminish their worth. However, some experienced collectors will remove valuable coins from their original holders and put them in specially designed cases or albums.

You need to ensure your collection in case it is stolen or damaged. Many insurance companies offer policies that protect your collection from damage, theft, and changes in the market value.

Finally, try to protect your coin collection by maintaining privacy and anonymity. Discussing your collection at coin collecting club meetings is a safe way, but talking to others outside of the coin collecting community can leave you vulnerable to theft.

A Final Word

The value of a coin can change a lot over time. So, it is important to know what coins are popular and have a stable value. This will help you choose wisely when collecting gold and silver coins. Your collection is valuable and worth money in the future.

Learn more: How Collecting Coins Helps Trim the National Debt

Frequently Asked Questions About Coins to Collect

Are Wheat Pennies Worth Anything?

Most wheat cents are worth about 4 to 5 cents. However, some wheat cents in better condition can be worth more than 10 cents. Indian Head pennies from 1859 to 1879 are generally worth more than $10.

How Much Is the Sacagawea Coin Worth?

Since 2000, nearly a billion of these coins have been struck, despite their popularity. There are a few valuable special variations, such as the 2000-P Cheerios coin. However, normal strike Sacagawea coins still have a face value of $1. They will likely be valued at only one dollar shortly.

Is It Worth It to Collect Coins?

Believe it or not, collecting coins can be a good investment. Many coins increase in value over time, and you can always sell them if you decide that collecting isn’t for you. Some coins may go up and down depending on the metal price, but they will generally be worth more than you paid for them.

Are Buffalo Nickels Worth Anything?

Buffalo nickels in good condition and look new can be worth more than their face value of 5 cents. People who know a lot about coins might pay more than 30 cents.

Are Dollar Coins Worth Collecting?

Even though some years ago, the U.S. Mint only sold these coins to collectors and dealers, most of them are still very common and only worth one dollar each.

Are Old Sixpences Worth Anything?

Some valuable coins to look out for are those minted between 1920 and 1946 and made of 50% silver. If the coin was minted before 1920, it is 92.5% silver and worth almost double. Like the 1893 sixpence with the Victoria jubilee head, some rare coins could be worth thousands of pounds.

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