Rare Coin Values – How To Tell If Your Coin Is Valuable



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“What’s my coin worth?”

That’s the question to which everyone wants an answer.

While it may seem like a fairly easy type of inquiry to get a helpful response to, sometimes it can take a really good evaluation of the coin by a professional coin dealer to determine your coin’s value accurately.

You see, when determining the value of a coin, the appraiser must consider not only the date and denomination of the coin, but also what condition it is in, what the value of the metal is, the relative scarcity of the coin, and other issues.

Judging the value of a coin is often a highly sensitive process, and there are few coins that come with “stock” values.

Therefore, when somebody asks a question like “What is my 1902 Indian penny worth?” it truly is difficult and even unfair to you for anybody to give you an answer without first seeing it in person for a true, accurate appraisal.

While accurate price quotes are essentially impossible without physically inspecting the coin in person, it is possible to decide what value range your coin may fall into — based on some basic average prices often realized in the everyday coin market.

 

First, Determine The “Grade” Of Your Coin

The best way to find out if your coins are valuable would be to purchase a good coin pricing book, like A Guide Book of United States Coins, by R.S. Yeoman and Kenneth Bressett.

This Whitman Publications book (widely referred to as The Redbook) is updated annually and contains average pricing information for all U.S. coins dating back to the Colonial era. It also offers basic coin grading information to help you determine the condition of your coin.

You can also buy one of the several coin magazines with pricing guides. Coins Magazine and COINage Magazine are 2 popular periodicals that have some pricing charts, as well as many informative articles pertaining to coins, coin values, and coin news.

If you want to keep your coin value hunting to the Internet, I recommend perusing websites that offer coin grading advice.

Here is a good basic coin grading page.

 

After You Know Your Coin’s Grade…

Once you get some ideas as to about what your coin might grade, look at several coin dealers’ catalogs to get some idea as to what the average price seems to be for the coin you have.

You might also want to take a look at the price guide on the Professional Coin Grading Service website for some insight as to your coin’s value.

If you are looking to sell your coin, realize 2 things:

  • Your coin will likely net you only about half to two-thirds the value of the prices you see for the same coin listed for sale; and
  • The buying coin dealer may spot problems with your coin that will legitimately lower the value of your coin. This is why it is particularly important that you understand the idea of coin grading and knowing that even the tiniest nick or scratch on a coin can drastically reduce its value.

One last thing, do not clean your coins. Cleaning a coin almost always renders it uncollectable to most numismatists, who generally prefer coins to be left in their original, unadulterated state.

Joshua

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!

54 thoughts on “Rare Coin Values – How To Tell If Your Coin Is Valuable

  1. i have a 1953 D Wheat penny. i have no clue how to find its woth
    i also have a 1940 Nickel that i do not know the worth of

    1. Hi, Jordan —

      A 1953-D Lincoln cent is worth 5 to 8 cents while your 1940 Jefferson nickel has a value of about 10 cents.

      Best,
      Josh

    1. Hi, Kristianna —

      The value of a well-worn 1916 Lincoln cent is 15 to 30 cents.

      Best,
      Josh

  2. I have a collection of pennies 1902 indian head penny, 1906 indian head penny, 1920 wheat penny, 1927 wheat penny, 1935 wheat penny, 1936 wheat penny, 1938 wheat penny, 1939 wheat penny, 1941 wheat penny, 1942 wheat pennies, 1944 wheat pennies, 1945 penny, 1946 wheat pennies, 1948 wheat penny, and I have pennies from every year in the 1950’s are they worth anything good?

    1. Hi, Dustin —

      The 1902 and 1906 Indian Head cents are the most valuable at $2 to $3 each in worn condition. The rest of your coins would be worth 5 to 20 cents each in worn condition.

      You may find this link helpful in learning about the most valuable pennies: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/valuable-pennies/

  3. I have a few gold one dollar coin pieces with different presidents on them. Are they worth anything?

    1. Hi, Lora —

      Unless they are in mint condition, they are worth face value. They are highly collectible though!

      Best,
      Josh

      1. So I have another question. We moved into my finances grandfathers house and found a two dollar bill dated 1892 and a twenty dollar bill dated 1918. What are the values of these two items if any. Thanks lora

        1. Hi, Lora —

          Great finds! While I’m not an expert on paper currency, I can tell you that all large-size U.S. currency is very collectible and can be quite valuable. I’m not finding any information about an 1892 series $2 bill, and as far as I know none were made. Perhaps it is an 1891? I know they are worth $150 and up for pieces in worn but undamaged condition.

          1918 $20 bills are worth around $300 and up, and are worth more if the serial number ends with a star. I strongly advise that you take these to a coin dealer (not a pawn shop or jewelry store) if you’re interested in selling them. While I believe they are authentic given that you found them at your grandfather’s home and they have probably been there for decades, there’s always that outside chance they are replicas.

          Best of luck!
          Josh

          1. Thank you very much. It is a 1891 two dollar bill. I will find someone and see what they are worth. Thanks for your help.

  4. I have 1/2 cents Straits Settlement 1872 with a H at the bottom neck of Victoria Queen. How much do it value right now ? Darken condition

    1. Hi, Dr. Bear —

      As you would guess, authenticity and grade/condition are everything when it comes to any coin’s value. Assuming your coin is real and well worn but not cleaned, I’d start the value on the low-ball end at $10. I’ve seen many of these coins sell for more than $300 in lightly circulated condition. Whatever you do, please DON’T clean the coin. That will only ruin it, as well as its value.

      Good luck,
      Josh

  5. I’ve come in to what I believe is an old Greek coin as well as three smaller Greek or roman coins. None have been cleaned and two of them are in alright condition. Especially the large Greek one. All found in Karnak, Egypt. Is there any way you could point me in the right direction to figuring out worth and maybe a bit more certainty of what they are?

  6. hello joshua i have a couple of old coins. and would like you to help me find out the values of them please and thank you!

    1. Hi, Victor —

      I’d be glad to help! Would you please submit photos of your old coins?

      Thank you!
      Josh

  7. Hi joshua so me and my wife found this coin in a bunch of quarters how do I know what kind of quarter this is?

    1. Hi, Eric!

      Nice 1964 Washington quarter! This has a 90 percent silver composition and is worth about $4 given current silver values.

      Best,
      Josh

  8. Hello Joshua,
    While doing some digging underneath the porch of my farm house, I found a 1865 2 cent piece. It is rather corroded after being in the sand under the porch. My house was built in 1907.

  9. Hi Joshua, I found a gold dollar coin with no mint date on it and on the other side it says Wampanoag Treaty 1621

    1. Hi, Brap —

      Your golden-colored one dollar coin was made in 2011 (both the date and mintmark are on the edge of the coin) and, if worn, is worth face value. This coin honors a pact made between Plymouth colonists in Massachusetts and the Wampanoag native people in 1621. It was the first treaty made between Native Americans and American settlers.

      Best,
      Josh

    1. Hi, Yanula!

      Yes, your 1940 Jefferson nickel is worth about 10 to 15 cents assuming it has average circulation wear.

      Thank you for your question!
      Josh

  10. Hi! My mom had these coins and I’m wondering what these marks mean? The coins seem to be in pretty good condition otherwise and I’m wondering if these could be errors? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/66fee285377d22d07c9be623ffcb14527522d535f25527875878ac8e6f1a7686.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e68bcd82a11540cdf5ad426dd7ab305baeda0e19687aefa171bec06dd87d6b70.jpg

    1. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7801dcf8097fa7103c90fbe2a4105c06b0c2dcbd7ff9d28d81bd91ee0f07e5d1.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a53dd658fe1a11e8d123592350e98d903f883507c295c64193934130252f3d2f.jpg

      1. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f634595624eae9c5e26613cbfa1ea12f72b7ac0306951d4a65a95c3c1820c179.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6aa11c7dd2f722909909e77c7c47756b1c04bb1da83e7d79dccad3f2d928acfe.jpg

        1. Hi, Jonelle —

          Here’s a coin that’s done some traveling. This is what is called a pocket coin — one that was likely carried by the same person in his or her pocket or purse for good luck over the course of many years. I inherited a similar Morgan dollar (like this one) from my grandfather. The particular coin has a monetary value of about $18 to $20, but it’s probably worth much more in sentimental value and, my goodness, this coin could probably tell many stories if it could talk!

          Thank you for your question,
          Josh

      2. Hi, Jonelle —

        The ticks, as we’d say in the coin industry, are post-mint marks, though they could have been put there by any number of things — maybe an angry hammer and nail?

        Your coin is worth about $15 to $17 for its silver content.

        All my best,
        Josh

    2. Hi, Jonelle —

      I’m afraid the swirls on Miss Liberty’s head are from post-mint damage and is not an error. The coin is still worth $3 to $5 for its silver and due to the coin’s obsolescence.

      Thank you for your question and photos!
      Josh

  11. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/311b2c1580be52a841303d2f5f33600697aa417981fee8b70e450b877c56981f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e1a03e601e8846389b6729518f584346d34c1e01ae6abda3c59120cb08d50888.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7edf208554068870f2ff8b109da2ba747408a18863b6bcbb803ee8e6d9fd4ab4.jpg hey I have a St Paul’s Cathedral £2 coin. Any idea how much it might be worth?

    1. Hi, Jhonatan —

      You have a circulated British World War II Two-Pound coin. It’s worth about $3 U.S.

      Thanks for your question and photos!
      Josh

    1. Hi, Lucy —

      The series of a coin is simply the design/type it is. For example, your 1969-S Lincoln cent is part of the Lincoln cent series. A Jefferson nickel is among the Jefferson nickel series.

      As for the value of the coin you posted, it appears to be a worn, regular-issue 1969-S Lincoln cent, and it’s worth about 2 cents for its copper value.

      Thank you for your questions and photo! If you need any more assistance, please feel free to post your coin questions here.

      All my best,
      Josh

  12. My mom worked for a bank in 1979 the bank just received uncirculated
    Susan b Anthony coins from the mint.while rolling the coins she noticed
    Something odd about one of the coins. The eagle on the back only had
    One leg! Anyone know the worth?

    1. Hi, Eddie!

      Please submit a photo of this coin if you can. It could be a filled die error or a weak strike, but only an image would help determine what such a coin would be worth.

      Cool story!
      Josh

      1. Here is a couple of pics. Of that coin, my first time seeing it. The branch and leg
        are weak? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6a774022026d9b8f63b8150a517747b36cc620a4f78eea19ff28033df88cd9b6.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/156f84104f3057a77161090e84b50fa86a5cd1adcfa740753731146929cd2a49.jpg

        1. Hi, Eddie —

          Thank you for uploading this photo. It looks like there may be a filled die issue with coin in the area of the eagle’s right leg. This is my best educated guess looking at the coin from a (really good!) photo. These types of errors are generally not worth very much over face value, but they are nonetheless fun to have in a collection. I’d venture to say this piece, if it checks out as a filled-die error in an in-hand evaluation, is probably worth $5 to $10, though it could be more if a dedicated error collector was really interested in buying it.

          Thank you for your question and image!
          Josh

    1. Hi, Nizam!

      If your Georgia quarter is worn, it’s worth face value.

      Thank you for your question!
      Josh

    1. Hi, Ashish —

      Circulated 1965 quarters are worth face value, and uncirculated specimens have a value of 75 cents to $1 each.

      Best,
      Josh

  13. One James Garfield Dollar and One James Madison Dollar. Are these worth anything other then $1? Thanks you for the help in advance!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cd7f980eade5a7db96d327f50ebe99287d9eea0c31e7f7de3495ae583113e4e8.jpg

    1. Hi, Alejandro —

      The only way a normal (non-error, non-proof) Presidential $1 coin is worth more than face value is if it’s in uncirculated condition. I think yours may be uncirculated based on the presence of strong surface details on the coin’s high points; if it is uncirculated, yours is worth approximately $1.25 to $1.50.

      Best,
      Josh

  14. Hello, thank you for the article and your help! I was wondering if you were able to estimate the worth of these three coins. especially interested in the Chinese one. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/22bafbece4540bc6dde2c111da85ca70668741b55c221ad9d50c8157d2df31e3.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f33781a55226b988f7ea093a93388eae4d3359decb18734edadff086f6775b3a.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/feea2c8d2e136267b7cbd35777a8b053e84a3641d5a6a90643eb2999012fcaf0.png

    1. Hi, Nemi —

      The top coin is a 1965 British crown honoring Sir Winston Churchill, who had just died. This piece is worth about $2 to $3.

      The Chinese coin is a so-called Dynasty token and is often sold in sets. Individually, these tend to sell for around $3.

      The last piece is a 1906 Jamaican half pence. This one is worth around $5 to $7.

      What a neat trio of coins! Thank you for sharing them here with us.

      Best,
      Josh

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