Top 5 Types Of Valuable Coins You Should Be Looking For



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OK, here’s the short list of the top 5 categories of valuable coins you should be looking for in pocket change, old jars of coins, inherited coin collections, and other places where you’ll have the chance of easily finding old and valuable coins:

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!

61 thoughts on “Top 5 Types Of Valuable Coins You Should Be Looking For

  1. Trying to find my way around. I have never interfaced with anyone on the net even thou I have been Investing,searching ,emailing,ect. I would like if some one could kind of verbally show me around. I have just run into a few sacks of old coins my mom left for me that I never even looked at, now I am trying to figure out how to assemble something for my grandkids and sell the rest off or something. Thanks for any direction you could give me.

    1. Hi, Robert —

      Building coin sets for your grandkids is a wonderful idea! I think a lot of what you do with those coins largely depends on the types you have. Are they old Lincoln pennies? Silver coins?

      If you have a lot of common-date coins, like Lincoln cents, Jefferson nickels, or even Buffalo nickels and Mercury dimes, I think the best thing to do would be to parcel them out evenly among the grandkids and then purchase them coin folders (you can find them at most book stores or online at Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=coin+folders&x=0&y=0 )

      If you have a few silver dollars, silver half dollars, or other large silver coins, it may be best to split them evenly among the grandkids as single pieces.

      At any rate, if you decide to sell any of the coins, the best place to do that would be at a coin dealer. Here’s a link to a site that will help you locate reputable coin dealers near you: https://www.pngdealers.com/dealersearch.php

  2. i am aware that a 1971s nickel is very valuable and i found a few! but they are all 1971d however one has no mint mark, how can i tell if it is valuable or not?

    1. Hayden,

      1971-S nickels were never made for circulation, but are included in special collectors sets called proof sets. Coins in proof sets are bright, nearly mirror like. 1971-S proof nickels are worth around $1 each.

    2. Hayden,

      1971-S nickels were never made for circulation, but are included in special collectors sets called proof sets. Coins in proof sets are bright, nearly mirror like. 1971-S proof nickels are worth around $1 each.

  3. I am not sure what to make of this. I have a 1965 Kennedy Half Dollar that appears to be all silver. it has a semi goldish tint showing on the outside edge of the face, but there is not a copper  ring showing on the outside edge. Is this normal for a coin containing only 30% silver? 

    1. Ruez,

      1965-1970 Kenedy half dollars are 40% silver, and in some cases have little trace of copper on the edge of the coin, which is pretty normal.

  4. I have two Morgan One Dollar coins an 1889 and an 1890 How do I tell what mint they came from I don’t see the usual mint marks? I also have a U.S. 1846 one cent piece can’t even find a value on this one

    1. Hi, Buck –

      Your 1846 large cent is worth roughly $20 to $25, but as for your Morgan dollars, you will find the mint mark on the reverse (tails side), on the bottom center, just above the D and O of “DOLLAR” and below the wreath bow. Here is a link to learn more about mintmarks: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/mint_marks_letters_on_coins/

  5. I found a quarter years ago that had a funny ring and. almost looked aluminum. I think it was from the mid 70s. Any ideas as to why it was odd. Tom

    1. Hi, Tom –

      Yes, those tin rings are actually jewelry collars; it sounds like your quarter once adorned a bracelet or perhaps a necklace. This doesn’t, however, add any value to the coin.

  6. I have a 1964 nickel that has a ridge around the middle. almost looking like two coins glued together with a high ridged rim on the face. been trying to find out its value on line but having problems locating other errors for the coin

      1. Hi, Marie —

        I would need to see a photo of this coin to provide more information, but it’s likely an altered magician’s coin.

        Here’s some more info on these odd types of coins: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/tokens/

        Best,
        Josh

    1. Hi, Overtime –

      Your nickel was altered most likely for use as an illusionist’s gaffe coin, into which a common one-cent coin can fit.

      Thanks for your question!

    1. Hello, Tim —

      Many people have privately gold plated 1974 Kennedy half dollars. While they are unique looking, they don’t really have much special monetary value over normal 1974 Kennedy halves and are worth about $3 to $5 in the novelty coin market.

      Thanks for your question!

      1. I have a euro 1 cent and 2 euro 5 cent coins and a 1 cent wheat 1944 and also a double back 1 cent penny . What’s their worth?

    1. Hello, Caleb —

      In general, nickels from the 1950s and earlier are both scarcer in terms of absolute numbers and are more sought after by coin collectors, improving the values of those coins.

      The value for a 1957 nickel is around 10 to 15 cents, which may not sound like a whole lot, but its certainly worth more than face value to most coin collectors.

      I hope this helps to explain why these older nickels are worth a premium.

      Thanks for your question!

  7. I have a 1953 wheat penny that is missing the one in the date. It is an obvious error/flaw. Are you familiar with this and if not how much would this coin be worth?

    1. Hello, Michelle —

      I am familiar with such oddities and would simply need to see a picture of your coin (please and thank you!) to get a better idea as to the cause of why the “1” is missing and what the coin might be worth.

      Thank you!
      Josh

    1. Hi, Cassie —

      I like the “D” mintmark has clear serifs and is at a slant, but it would need closer inspection to see if it has been added manipulated in any way. I’d also want to see the edge of the coin to see if this is by chance the reverse of a 1917-D was married with the obverse of a 1916.

      If this is by chance a coin you’re looking to buy from eBay, I suggest paying the extra few dollars and buying a certified specimen from third-party coin grading companies like PCGS, NGC, ANACS, ICG, or SEGS. As you may know, the 1916-D Mercury dime is one of the most counterfeited coins on the market, with most being passed off as well-worn specimens like this one.

      Always beware when buying raw 1916-D Mercury dimes or any other scarce pieces!

      Good luck,
      Josh

    1. Hi, Jan —

      Based on the photos, it appears that this coin may been gold plated, and the plating may have worn off. While distinct in appearance, gold plating does not add any value to the coin, especially in a worn state such as this; in fact, even on a large coin, gold plating may in itself be worth only 3 to 5 cents.

      Best,
      Josh

  8. Hi I have a ? on a few coins 1 a 20 franc coin with date 1371 . A coin from ceylon dated 1926 . 3 Australian three pence dated 1955 ? is are these rare coins

    1. Hi, Daryl —

      The Australian 3 pence is worth its silver value (around $2 right now). I would need to please see a photo of the French coin to ascertain the date (it may be a commemorative struck much later, but there have been many such pieces, so I need to see which one you’re asking about). Also, I need more information on the Ceylon piece, please. A photo of that one will help me to better inform you of its value.

      Thank you!
      Josh

  9. I have a 1878 Cc Morgan silver dollar…its in mint condition….. Can you tell me how much is it worth??

    1. Hi, Curtis —

      Values for an uncirculated 1878-CC Morgan dollar range from $400 to $1,000.

      I hope this info helps,
      Josh

  10. I have a dime that was mis minted or wat have ya that im sure meant 1994 date . but it says 199A and has wat appears to b a P or F above it . the left side is where the ring edge of the dime is heavy lined , right side there bearly is an edge line . is this suppose to b like that ? I know its not but …. I have 3 other dimes also that have the heavy left side ridge and no ridge right . one is a 1994 , 1985 , and 2013 our the dates on those
    and I have another dime that is silver but its 1989 and also been mis minted , but heavy ridge is lower right and the non ridge is above his head . do I have something here that might b worth something ??

    1. Hello, David —

      I’ll need to please see photos to evaluate what you have and provide the best opinion I can.

      Thank you!
      Josh

        1. Hi, David —

          Usually, I find phone camera work well enough for these purposes, and flash is ideal. However, its best to take the photo at an angle (usually), because a straight-on flash shot normally throws too much light across the surface of the coin. At least, that is what I’ve found in my experience.

          I’m sure you’ll be able to provide images good enough for me to use in determining the situation with your coins!

          Best,
          Josh

          1. Hi guys. I just found a 1989 P dime with the brown edge that sounds like silver; and w/ Google found this thread. I can’t find any mention of such a coin in my “1996 Standard Catalog..” by Krause & Mischler. As for a pic of it, that should be possible tomorrow. As for now I’m quite intrigued. Is such a silver coin possible?

  11. Hi Joshua,

    I just received a 2000p Mass quarter with “gold” in it. I looked online and all I saw were quarters with all gold. Mine just has the rim as gold and on the back the gold is the state and minuteman. Can’t seem to find pictures. Any idea? If you can, please email me at [email protected]

    I’d really appreciate it.

    Many thanks,

    Rob

  12. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cda083de4fd549542f885346701b2f55f7e4716c948fdf04a0f8cd222d0bd1e1.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3d5e05b8e0f09a7882fd69ccc11ab01240053bd7518b157038216ef8aee02360.jpg

  13. I have a 1978 gold ( or probably copper) Eisenhower dollar coin. How do i find its value. My bank thinks it might be.

    1. Hi, Debra —

      It appears you have a gold-plated Eisenhower dollar. These are novelty pieces that were altered after they left the U.S. Mint. The amount of gold on such a piece is actually quite nominal (less than 5 cents’ worth); from the numismatic perspective, this coin is worth face value, though you might want to hang onto it anyway if you like the coin.

      Best,
      Josh

  14. The coins in the photo are
    two what seem to be immaculate condition pennies, two quarters. One
    seems to have two colors on both sides, and the other with the gouge
    came out of a roll of quarters that I got from a bank several years ago.
    Could this be from the striking at the mint. Also what do you think may
    have caused the two colors in the other quarter. Thanks for looking at
    my photos and question. I look forward to reading more about coins and
    collecting.

    1. Hi, Soaring Eagle —

      The quarter has suffered post-mint damage. I think this because the exposed copper core surface within the gouge would exhibit integration with the surrounding obverse design of Washington if that cut had been present when the coin was struck. The gouges on Washington’s face consistent with the gouge also implies to me post-mint damage.

      The 1958-D Lincoln cent, however, is a gorgeous find! It appears as though it may be uncirculated according to the photographs. It would be worth 20 to 30 cents.

      Best,
      Josh

      1. Josh, Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate your knowledge. The pennies do appear to be circulated. I think I will hold on to them. How should I store them. I am new to this. LOL

        1. You’re welcome! Hold onto those coins indeed!

          Keep on checking that change, and please feel free to ask coin-related questions here whenever you wish.

          Best,
          Josh

          1. Hello Joshua,

            I was buying something at a store and got my change back and this penny was part of my change. I was surprised because when I looked at it in my hand I thought they gave me some type of foreign money. Then I took a closer look at it and realized it was an Indian Head. I looked it up and it doesn’t seem to be worth much but it is is great shape for a 100 year old penny! What do you think. I don’t want to clean it so I will just hold on to it and give it to my grandson one day for the fun of it.

            Thanks,
            Steven

          2. Nice 1908 Indian Head cent, Steven! It’s worth around $3 — what’s more amazing is that it turned up in pocket change!

            Nice find!
            Josh

          3. Thank you Joshua for your reply. I’ve been doing some research and it looks like I found another good hobby! LOL Your information is much appreciated!

      2. Hi Josh, I have two 1992 pennies that look close AM. I’m wondering if they are close AM valuable pennies?
        Here is a picture of them: https://postimg.org/image/g8gz35p53/

        I also have one 1990 penny with missing letters “IN”
        from IN GOD WE TRUST.
        Here’s a picture: https://postimg.org/image/vhl55j3wn/
        How much is this worth?

        1. Hi, Jessica —

          From what I can tell in the photos, the two 1992 Lincoln cents appear to feature regular spacing between the “AM” in “AMERICA.”

          The coin that grabs my attention is the 1990 cent. It appears to have some type of die deformity. I’m trying to blow the photo up more to see if it is a die clash error, die crack, or something else. If you want to resubmit a photo that is a bit clearer in the area where the IN is missing, that would be appreciated. Such pieces can be worth $5 to $10 or more assuming an in-hand evaluation confirms what I’m seeing in the photo.

          Best,
          Josh

  15. Hi I recently started getting into coin collecting and I needed assistance with information on these coins, such as value what they are made of and any other help anyone can offer. Is the 78 gold plated? Is the 71 in good enough condition to be worth anything other than face value? Is the 66 worth more than its melt silver value? And the 01 just looked really nice. Thanks.

    1. Hi, Vicente —

      Great-looking coins! Starting with the earliest coin, the 1947 silver Mexican 5 Pesos coin is worth about $15, while the 1966 Kennedy half dollar is worth a slight premium given that it’s in what appears to be uncirculated condition.

      The others are worth about 65 to 75 cents as they, too, appear uncirculated. The golden/russet toning on the 1978 half is simply patination. It may add a very small premium for those who are interested in buying toned modern coins.

      Thank your for your questions and photos!
      Josh

  16. Hello, I have an untrained eye. I have a 1982 D Lincoln Penny. I have read online that there is a large date and a small date. Can you confirm which via the photo? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3fc7e83feb6c20eaea91d20a527a06e004ad031150ea649d8cc22374c5e41b0d.jpg

    1. Hi, Joseph —

      What you have here is a large date, but I hope you find a bronze small date!

      Good luck,
      Josh

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