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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 magnifying glass… maybe you have some of these old coins sitting in your home!
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.
Instead, I’ve chosen some of the most popular and most-commonly encountered types of old coins that folks tend to ask about.
Let’s find out more…
OK, there are tons of old pennies out there, and many people are finding them in penny rolls, old chests, and chests of drawers hidden away in the attic. Though I’m including old pennies as a group here, I’m going to break down values for a few of the old pennies most people are curious about:
- Old wheat ear cents (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 pocket change have become rare, there are still millions of these coins in collections and hoards. Most are common.
- 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 common and, in worn grades, 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 percent silver composition and are often found in rolls and hoards.
Silver Roosevelt dime (made before 1965 in worn grades) $1 to $2
Washington Quarters & 50 States Quarters
I’m putting both regular Washington quarters and the 50 States quarters into the same group here. First things first, unless your 50 States quarter is a proof example or has an error, it’s not worth anything more than a quarter, especially if it’s worn. Period!
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, nearly every Washington quarter you find in your spare change is worth only a quarter.
The only exception to this are 1982 and 1983 quarters, which were not saved when first released and, in lightly worn grades, are worth $1 to $5.
All Washington quarters made before 1965 contain silver and are worth at least their weight in silver.
Silver Washington quarter (most dates, typical wear) $3 to $5
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 and it takes just 35 coins to complete a set.
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 made for circulation since 1971 contains even a speck of silver. Unless your Kennedy half dollar has an ‘S’ mintmark, is a proof example, or has an error, if it’s made since 1971, it’s worth only 50 cents. That includes any ‘P’ or ‘D’ Bicentennial half dollars you might have.
- Kennedy half dollar (1964) $7 to $10
- Kennedy half dollar (1965 to 1970) $3 to $5
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 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 their face values.
In fact, any and all gold coins are literally worth their weight in gold. Because gold coin values vary based on their denomination and when they were made, you should check out a website like Coinflation, which helps you determine the value of your gold coins based on the current spot price of the valuable metal.
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!