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It’s really amazing how many old coins are floating around out there.
At least a few times each week, I’ll be asked how much an old penny is worth, values for old quarters, and prices for old silver coins.
There are tons of old coins out there just waiting to be found — in estates, buried in coffee cans, and hiding out in boxes and drawers.
Let’s check out some old coins you may have and see how much they’re worth!
Get out your coin magnifying glass… maybe you have some of these old coins in your possession.
Old Coins You’re Probably Curious About
OK, so you are trying to figure out which old coins you need to be looking for because, after all, it’s always fun to find out how much your old coins are worth!
Of course, it’s impossible to list all the old coins in just one single article.
So, I’ve chosen some of the most-commonly encountered types of old coins that people tend to ask me about…
There are tons of old pennies out there. People are finding them in penny rolls, coin jars, old storage chests, and drawers hidden away in the attic.
Though I’m including old pennies as a group here, I’m going to break down the values for a few of the old pennies that most people are curious about:
- Wheat pennies (most dates in typical worn grades) — 3 to 10 cents
- VDB pennies — $10 to $15
- 1909-S VDB pennies — $800 to $1,200
- Indian head pennies (most dates in typical worn grades) — $2 to $10
While stories of people finding Buffalo nickels in circulation have become rare, there are still millions of these coins in collections and hoards. Most Buffalo nickels are considered common coins.
Here’s how much they’re worth:
- Dateless Buffalo nickels — 10 to 50 cents
- Buffalo nickels with a date (most years in typical worn grades) — $1 to $10
This coin (often mistaken as showing the Roman god Mercury) has a portrait of Miss Liberty wearing a winged cap. This popular piece virtually disappeared from circulation decades ago!
Most dates in the Mercury dime series are considered common. In worn grades, they are usually worth only a small markup over their base silver value.
- Mercury dimes (most dates in typical worn grades) — $2 to $5
The most readily found Roosevelt dimes worth more than face value are those made before 1965. These have a 90% silver composition and are often found in rolls and hoards.
- Silver Roosevelt dimes (made before 1965 in worn grades) — $1 to $2
Washington Quarters & 50 States Quarters
The same goes for most Washington quarters made since 1965 — including Bicentennial quarters.
Unless it’s a proof specimen, has an error, or is an uncirculated coin, then nearly every Washington quarter you find in your spare change is worth only a quarter.
The only exceptions to this are quarters that were not saved when they were first released:
- 1982 Washington quarters (in lightly worn grades) — $1 to $5
- 1983 Washington quarters (in lightly worn grades) — $1 to $5
- Silver Washington quarters (most dates, typical wear) — $3 to $5
NOTE: All Washington quarters made before 1965 contain silver and are worth at least their weight in silver.
Franklin Half Dollars
These nice old silver half dollars that feature the portrait of a man who invented hundreds of items and helped organize the beginnings of our nation have long been a popular coin series for coin collectors.
Most Franklin half dollar dates aren’t very expensive to buy, and it takes just 35 coins to complete a set!
Here’s how much they’re worth:
- Franklin half dollars (most dates, typical wear) — $7 to $10
Kennedy Half Dollars
While Franklin half dollars are made of silver, most Kennedy half dollars aren’t.
In fact, none of the Kennedy halves made for circulation since 1971 contain even a speck of silver.
Unless your Kennedy half dollar has an ‘S’ mintmark, is a proof example, or has an error… if it was made after 1971, then it’s worth only 50 cents. That includes any ‘P’ or ‘D’ Bicentennial half dollars you might have.
United States silver dollars date back to 1794. Easily said, any that you have from the 1790s to the early 1800s (that are real) are worth around $800 to 1,000 and up.
Authentic silver dollars made from the 1840s through the 1870s are worth at least $100 and up in worn grades.
Chances are, you have silver dollars made since 1878. If you have one, it likely has either a portrait of a lady with curly hair or what the design looks to be the head of the Statue of Liberty.
These are Morgan and Peace dollars, respectively. Though old, most dates of these coins are actually very common and worth a little more than their silver value.
Right now, a common date Morgan or Peace dollar is worth around $20 and up.
Eisenhower dollar coins are mostly made of copper-nickel clad and are generally worth only face value (some coin dealers now pay $1.10 to $1.25 for worn copper-nickel Eisenhower dollars), unless it’s a proof example or silver version (both have an ‘S’ mint mark).
- Virtually all dollar coins (including Susan B. Anthony, Sacagawea, and Presidential dollar coins) are worth only $1.
Pre-1934 Gold Coins
Many people come into possession of old gold coins from before 1934. These legal tender gold coins are worth much more than face value.
In fact, any and all gold coins are literally worth their weight in gold!
- Since gold coin values vary based on their denomination and when they were made, you should check out a website like Coinflation to determine the value of your gold coins — based on the current spot price of the valuable metal.
IMPORTANT: Do You Know The Grade Of Your Old Coins?
To determine the true value of your old coins, you first need to know what condition (or grade) each coin is in.
Grab a coin magnifier and a copy of the U.S. Coin Grading Standards book. Then, watch this video to see how to grade coins yourself at home:
These are the best coin grading apps that make grading coins yourself much easier.
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. 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 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 authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!