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Rare Coins

Coins from around the world.

Within any penny jar or coin collection there is the potential for a rare coin or two. Once the coin is identified, you will probably want to know how much it is worth. While it is important to get a professional appraisal for insurance purposes, you can usually estimate the value on your own with a little research.

Examples of Rare Coins

There are well over 5,000 American rare coins in existence according to U.S. Coin Values Advisor. These are coins that have fetched $27,500.00 or more at auction and are available only in limited supply. Some of these have sold for over $300,000.00. The condition of the coin will also determine final value.

Coins are often categorized by face value. The following list offers examples of some rare coins people seek to add to their collections.

Examples of Rare Half Cents

Examples of Rare Cents

Examples of Rare Nickels

Examples of Rare Dimes

Examples of Rare Quarters

Examples of Rare Half Dollars

Coin Values

Like all antiques and collectibles, coins and rare coins are evaluated according to a set of strict criteria.


The coin's condition is one of the most important aspects of evaluating any coin.

  • Mint: The coin is uncirculated and looks new; there will also be a number between 60 and 70 to further identify the condition of the coin.
  • AU: Has been circulated but looks almost like it is uncirculated.
  • XF: Extra fine condition
  • VF: Very fine
  • F: Fine
  • VG: Very good
  • G: Good
  • AG: About good
  • F: Fair


You will need a coin identification guide to know whether or not a certain coin is rare, For a coin to be rare, there must not be very many of them available and they must be desirable to other collectors. The rarity of a coin can only be determined by an expert.


Some coins, like the Garretts, come from specific collections and are rare and valuable just because they were once part of the collection.

Tips for Spotting Fakes

It usually takes an expert coin appraiser to spot an authentic coin from a fake one, but there are some ways that the novice collector can protect himself from being duped by an unscrupulous seller.

  • Buy graded coins. These are coins that have been evaluated by an expert and their authenticity is guaranteed.
  • Don't buy coins from foreign sellers at online auctions, where the return policy and dispute policy can make it difficult to get your money back if the coin turns out to be fake.
  • Study coin identification guides and spend time at trade shows looking at the real thing. With experience you will know when a coin just doesn't look right.
  • Check silver coins with a magnifying glass to ensure that they are not silver plated. Look for areas where the silver is worn off or didn't cover the base metal well. Real silver coins do not chip.
  • Always ask the dealer for a guarantee that the coin is authentic and get it in writing.

Identifying Coins

All rare coin collectors should have guidebooks and collector's price guides to help them along with their collecting. Another way to learn more about this hobby is to join a coin-collecting club.

Some popular online coin collector guides include the following:

Books to help you identify coins for your collection include:

  • A Guide Book of United States Coins, Edited by Kenneth Bressert
  • One Minute Coin Expert by Scott A. Travers
  • Ancient Coin Collecting by Wayne G. Sayles

There are many other coin collecting books found in retail and secondary markets. Alibris Books and are just two of the many booksellers that carry these books in their inventory.

Rare Coin Specialties

No matter what type of rare coins you are interested in there are online chat boards, collector's clubs, and resources for collectors.

Collecting Supplies

Once you've made the decision to start collecting coins, you will definitely need to purchase supplies to house them. Rare coins need to be protected from dust, dirt and air pollutants.Some great starter tools include purchasing a magnifying glass, a display case or album, and coin calipers. As you grow your collection, you may also want to add coin tongs, precision scales, and special cleaners and polishes.

Merchants that specialize in coin collecting supplies are:

Where to Buy Rare Coins

Rare coins should always be purchased from a reputable shop whether you buy online or locally. Some online dealers that have good reputations are:

  • Heritage Auctions: This company specializes in rare coins and has over 21 specialists to help with various needs. They do appraisals, sell your coins, buy coins, and can help with handling the coins in trusts and estates.
  • Austin Rare Coins: Having been in business for 22 years this company is trustworthy and experienced in all aspects of numismatics. They have a research department as well as an appraisal and buying service.
  • David Lawrence: This company sells graded coins as well as buying rare coin collections. They also have a listing service where you can let people know about particular coins you are looking for.

Coin Collecting Is a Rewarding Hobby

Collecting coins is a great hobby for people of all ages. Beginning hobbyists can start with coins they have right in their pocket. As interest in this hobby grows, collectors can branch out into ancient or antique coins from around the world. . Using online resources to learn more about coins can help collectors stay abreast of current collecting trends as well as providing values for many coins in circulation. A rare coin collection can be a good investment, grow in value, and be passed on to the next generation.

Rare Coins