Do you think you have a United States rare coin? I thought I did.
I’m not exactly a coin collector, and I’m far from a Numismatist. So, for the latest coin facts and values, you’ll want to check out the articles written by our coin expert, Joshua. What follows is my novice approach to finding the value of some coins I had saved through the years.
I was fishing around for some coins for the soda machine yesterday, when I found a 1974 nickel that looked strangely silver… or else strangely dirty.
I don’t know if 1974 nickels are especially valuable in terms of rare coins or not, but I do remember my dad always telling me there were certain years that you were supposed to hold onto.
Anyway, I thought I’d do a little research to find out which U.S. coins are actually worth something these days.
And from now on, I’m saving them!…
Their sites are very up-to-date and make it easy to find the value of virtually any U.S. coin!
What’s That Coin Worth?
- Wheat Pennies (…worth 2 to 5 times their face value)
- Steel Pennies (…supposedly very common; all are from 1943 and they stick to a magnet; worth up to a dime)
- 1943 Copper Penny (…guess they primarily made steel pennies this year, making the standard copper penny rare for the year 1943; how does $20,000 sound?!)
- Indian Head Penny (…who knew a penny could be worth up to 3 dollars?!)
- Buffalo Nickel (…they’re worth up to a dollar)
What’s Not Worth A Thing…
- Pennies with the Lincoln Memorial (1959-present)
- Your everyday Jefferson Nickel (1938-present)
- Roosevelt Dimes (1965-present)
- Washington Quarters — even the bicentennial one (1965-present)
- Susan B. Anthony Dollars (1979-1999) …yes, my dad would be crushed!
The Value Of My Coin Collection
But I still felt the urge to rummage through all those old coins I’ve been saving through the years!
I mean, what are the odds that I could be sitting on something of value?
Okay, after a quick search here, this is what I found…
It’s not much, but the maximum value of my coin collection at this point looks to be around 3 dollars and 10 cents.
- (2) 1964 silver Roosevelt Jefferson nickels (5x face value = $.25 ea)
- (2) 1959 silver Roosevelt Jefferson nickels (5x face value = $.25 ea)
- (1) 1943 mercury dime (10x face value = $1.00 ea)
- (22) 1939-1958 wheat pennies (5x face value = $.05 ea)
Unless, of course, I take this guy’s site into account, which states I could get around 50 cents to a dollar for each of my 1942-64 nickels! … 88 of them at 50-cents each equals: $44! Guess I’ll be holding onto those just in case. (The site claims $2 for “very fine” quality, which mine are not, so I deducted $1.50 each to account for the “well-circulated” condition of my nickels.)
…Ah well, I’m still “banking” on the fact that my stamp collection is worth something. My MOM will tell ya it is… She’s the one who bought most of those “plate block sets of 4″ for me through my elementary and high school years! I’ve got a few thousand dollars worth of “mint condition” stamps in face value alone!
Hello Lynnette, nice article. However, the 1959 and 1964 Jefferson nickels that you found in your coin collection are not silver. You may be thinking of the 1942-1945 Jefferson nickels that contained 35% silver. Really, only the copper-nickel clad Jefferson nickels dated before 1942 are valued by collectors. Most post-1945 nickels are fairly common in circulation.
– Joshua (…who knows a lot more about coins than I do!)
Fun Things I’ve Done With Coins
Ah well, maybe I haven’t struck it rich yet, but I had a good time scavaging around for old coins!
Which reminds me… As a kid, we used to save up our pennies then take them down to the train tracks.
We’d place a slew of them on the actual rails, then wait for a train to pass by. They would flatten them like pancakes, turning our pennies into mini copper saucers that we saved (for a few years), until we decided to start skipping them (like rocks) in the Mississinewa River.
Then, one year, my Dad had me convinced that coin collecting was yet another hobby I indeed needed to start (…in addition to my beer can collection, matchbook collection, rock collection, keyring collection, and stamp collection!). So my mission became to save one penny from every year, one nickel from every year, and so on. And I polished them all up nice & shiny too. (I would use a pencil eraser!) Little did I know at the time that cleaning your coin collection was a very bad thing to do.
What I Learned Today…
Sometimes you’ve gotta look REAL hard to spot what makes a coin valuable… like this 1995 penny!
Geesh… does all this research make me an amateur numismatist now???
If you have a coin and you would like to know what it’s worth, you have 2 options:
Or, get your own official price guide.
More About Rare U.S. Coins
- Rare U.S. Pennies Including the 1943 Penny
- 5 Rare and Valuable US Coins
- Rare Lincoln-Kennedy Penny: Are Commemorative Coins Valuable?