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It’s true — as the economy has gotten harder for some of us, our pockets have gotten a little shallower.
Because we have to spend larger amounts of money for things like gas, food, and the mortgage bill, many of us have been left with less money for enjoying our hobbies.
However, in life, we still must have fun! Fortunately, coin collecting on a budget can allow you to still enjoy the pastime without breaking the bank!
Today, I want to share with you some coins you can buy for — are you ready? — under $5 apiece!
Yes, there are some really great coins you can purchase that won’t cost you anymore than $5 each to buy.
I bet you will be surprised at what just $5 can buy you in the hobby of coin collecting.
Consider some of these cheap coins…
Indian Head Pennies
Indian Head pennies were made from 1859 to 1909.
Some Indian Head pennies (like many of the issues struck during the 1860s and 1870s) are very expensive even in very low grades.
However, issues from the 1880s on through the 1900s can be had for less than $5 each. Be picky.
A lot of Indian Head pennies have been cleaned, scratched, corroded, bent, and otherwise damaged.
But you can easily buy a nice, problem-free example in lower grades for under $5, so don’t necessarily settle for the first Indian Head penny you see.
While still findable in circulation, the newest wheat penny is now over 50 years old and is becoming scarcer and scarcer with each passing year.
Some famous issues like the 1909-S V.D.B., 1914-D, and 1931-S are relatively rare and quite expensive. Wheat pennies, made from 1909 through 1958, have a few dates which can cost the collector an arm and a leg (or at least a pinky and a big toe).
However, the vast majority of wheat pennies are available for less than $5 each, and most from the 1930s on through 1958 can be had for between 10 cents and $2 apiece.
Even 1943 steel cents, which many readers here ask about, can be had for less than $1 apiece in worn grades!
Buffalo nickels (which were struck from 1913-1938) can be had for less than $5 each in worn grades.
The least expensive buffalo nickels are those from the 1920s and 1930s, with the dates from the mid-1930s costing the least.
Featuring Miss Liberty with a winged cap (not the Roman God Mercury), the Mercury dime made from 1916-1945 is a silver coin that is popularly collected.
A few issues in the Mercury dime series are costly and scarce, but most can be had for less than $5 each.
The least expensive dates are those from the 1930s and 1940s, but most years can be had in the lowest grades for about $5 (or less).
When the United States celebrated its bicentennial in 1976, the U.S. Mint honored our nation’s birthday with 3 special designs on the quarter, half-dollar, and dollar.
Bicentennial coins can be easily found at most coin dealers. While the complete set of 3 copper-nickel clad Bicentennial coins cannot usually be purchased for less than $7 to $10, you can easily find each of the coins for $2 to $3 each.
By the way, Bicentennial coins were made from 1975 through 1976 — which is why you will never see a U.S. quarter, half-dollar, or dollar coin dated "1975."
Kennedy Half Dollars
While you may not believe it, Kennedy half dollars are still being made. They just aren’t seen in circulation anymore.
Come to think of it, has any collector ever really seen a Kennedy half dollar made after the early 1980s with any wear? I know I haven’t.
Anyway, Kennedy half dollars are great coins to collect, because there really are no expensive regular-strike Kennedy half dollars. In fact, there are few Kennedy halves in the series which cost more than $5 each in uncirculated grades.
Kennedy halves were first minted in 1964, and until 1971 contained some silver. 1964 half dollars are 90% silver, while those minted from 1965 through 1970 are 40% silver. Those made for circulation since 1971 are copper-nickel clad.
My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I'm also the editor at CDN Publishing (a trusted source for the price of U.S. rare coins), editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I've contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I've also authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins — and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!