Do You Have Valuable Coins? Here’s How To Find Out What Your Coins Are Worth

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By Joshua

Valuable Coins

I’ve been writing about valuable coins for nearly a decade here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins. And for all these years I’ve also served as the site’s moderator and resident coin expert, answering questions from readers just like you.

Having replied to more than 3,000 reader inquiries (so far!), I’ve noticed a pretty strong trend among all the questions I’ve answered. Just about everybody wants to know, “What are my coins worth?

I love these types of questions, because it’s always great to learn what fellow coin collectors are finding in their pocket change, or tucked away in boxes, or stashed away in old change jars at home.

Valuable Coins

In answering these questions, I also have the opportunity to educate many readers about their coins and hopefully inspire people to keep checking their change for old and rare coins.

Of course, not every coin you find in spare change is valuable. In fact, of the coins circulating today, most are worth only face value. But there are many coins that are worth much, much more.

And, of course, a large number of heirloom coins — the kinds that are passed down through the generations — are oftentimes worth a whole bunch of money.

Nothing makes me happier in this line of work than when I get to tell readers that their old coins are worth $100, $300, or $500. I’ve even helped some discover that their coins are worth $1,000 — values that have been verified, by the way, during follow-up visits with their local coin dealers.

My point here? Please keep asking me your coin questions — because you may be lucky and have some valuable coins on your hands, too!

But how can you find out for yourself if you have any valuable coins?

Where To Check For Coin Values

There are many great online coin price guides and references that will help you determine the value of your coins.

I’ve also written quite a few guides myself that provide lists of coin values. Here are a few you may find helpful:

Of course, there are many other great guides. Here are a few of my favorites:

If you’re like me and enjoy reading actual coin books (you know — the kind you can buy at a bookstore), then you’re in luck. There are many wonderful coin books, as well as coin magazines, that provide insight on coin values and other coin pricing information.

Here are what I believe to be some of the best coin books and coin price magazines on the market today:

How To Get A Coin Appraised

If you want your coins appraised, that will require a little extra legwork on your part.

The best way to find out what specific coins are worth (because coin price guides can only give approximate values) is to take them to your nearest coin dealer.

If you’re looking for a reputable coin dealer, one of the best ways to find one in your area is to check out the Professional Numismatists’ Guild comprehensive coin dealer search directory.

A Few Things To Remember About Coin Values

Valuable Coins

I think a lot of people get discouraged when they learn their old silver dollars are worth only $15 or $20, or that the wheat ears pennies they’ve found in pocket change have a value of just 3 to 5 cents each.

Here are some things to remember about coin values:

  • The fact that a coin is old doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth a lot of money.
  • If you clean your coins, even just a bit, you’re going to cut the value of your coins in half — or more. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. Coin collectors don’t like cleaned coins, and you’re doing no favors by brightening them up so “they look pretty and new.” That’s just the way it is.
  • Chances are, if you find an old coin in a piece of jewelry, its value will be diminished because of the damage caused to the coin when inserting it into the setting.
  • Be careful about getting your hopes up with any really old coins that you find. Many are real, but some old coins that people find are fake. Therefore, please post photos of the old coins you find when asking me questions about them here — so I can help you determine if they are counterfeit or the “Real McCoy”!
  • If you find an old wheat cent from the 1930s, 1940s, or 1950s, it’s probably worth less than 1o cents. Some, however, are worth considerably more.
  • Most silver dollars dated from the 1880s through 1930s that you’ll happen upon are worth somewhere between $15 and $20 when silver bullion prices are under $20 per ounce. But, yes, some silver dollars are worth much more.
  • If you find a 2-headed coin, there’s a 99.9% chance it’s a piece that was altered for use by illusionists, made by a peddler, or enjoyed by a gagster who likes winning bar bets. These coins have no numismatic value.

More Coin Price Guides