Modern coins are increasingly popular these days.
I enjoy collecting newer coins — because many of them are relatively affordable, and they come in a wide array of fascinating designs.
But when it comes to modern coins, the market is really heating up — especially among younger hobbyists and those who are collecting on a shoestring budget.
What Are Modern Coins?
Modern coins are generally those struck since 1950.
While even the year 1950 may seem like a long time ago to some, the 1950s marks the beginning of the period in the coin world when coins were generally struck in huge quantities at a lightning-fast pace (millions of coins per day).
Most of the U.S. coin designs that were in production in the 1950s are still being made today or are still circulating.
Any of the following could be considered modern coins:
- Lincoln Memorial cents
- Jefferson nickels
- Roosevelt dimes
- Washington quarters
- Franklin half dollars
- Kennedy half dollars
- Eisenhower dollars
- Susan B. Anthony dollars
- Sacagawea dollars
The Advantages Of Collecting Modern Coins
As I said earlier, modern coins are generally cheap, common, and come in a huge variety of exciting designs.
For example, consider some of the recent circulating coin programs that the United States Mint released since the 1980s:
- Modern commemorative coins made since 1982 — There are dozens upon dozens of designs!
- 50 States quarters — It’s one of the most popular coin series ever.
- America the Beautiful quarters — Currently in production, there may be more than 100 designs if the series remains in production until 2032.
- The Presidential $1 coins — Ending in 2016, this coin series honors the nation’s deceased former presidents.
- Native American $1 coins — These coins honor the culture, landmarks, and iconic figures of America’s native peoples.
- American Silver Eagles — These modern silver dollars have been in production since 1986 and are popular among collectors and investors; they also have an obverse portrait from the Walking Liberty half dollar, which is widely considered one of the most beautiful silver coins ever made!
Most of the coins I listed above (with the exception of the commemorative coins, the most recent dates of the $1 coins, and American Silver Eagles) can be found in circulation. Isn’t that cool?
But even if you can’t find these coin in your pocket change, you don’t need to worry about spending an arm and a leg to buy them.
If you choose to buy modern coins, you might want to check out some of the new products being offered by world mints. For example:
- The Royal Canadian Mint sells colorized coins, and they even have coins featuring Looney Tunes characters and comic book heroes like Superman!
- The New Zealand Mint offers coins with some of the most popular Disney characters, such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and many of the princesses!
- The German Mint issued a commemorative 2016 Planet Earth coin with a blue, translucent ring made from polymer — it’s totally unique!
- The European Union Europa Star program offers dozens of special coins honoring artists, sculptors, writers, architects, and other cultural icons.
Some of these modern foreign coins are expensive — many cost $100 or more. But many collectors find the amazing options worth the price.
How To Collect Modern Coins
There are several different ways you can collect modern coins.
Here are some common examples:
- Topical collecting — This is a method of collecting coins by design or theme. Like sports? There are plenty of sports themes on modern coins, including the various Olympic commemorative coins, 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame coins, and 2002 Indiana 50 States quarter with an Indy car. Topical collecting is one of the most popular methods for collecting modern coins.
- Collecting coins by date — Is there a certain year that’s especially important to you? Such as your birth year? Perhaps a graduation or wedding date? You could build a special set of all the coins from those years. Year set collecting is very popular.
- Collect the entire series — Many coin collectors simply aim to collect each design, or every date-and-mintmark combination, of the coin series that interests them. This is how most people collect Lincoln cents, Washington quarters, and other modern coins.
Of course, you’re not limited to collecting modern coins in just the certain ways I suggest above. As with any types of coins, you can choose for yourself which method or style works best for your modern coin collection.
More About Modern Coins
- I Bought A Modern Coin And I Liked It
- Collecting Modern Commemorative Coins
- Modern Coins Bring Opportunities
- Analysis On Collecting Modern Coins
- 4 Affordable Ways To Get Started Collecting Modern Coins
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!