Coin collecting, or numismatics is an intriguing hobby that literally allows you to touch history,learn about the world and maybe even make a profit to boot. It's a rewarding hobby for parents and their children to do together .It doesn't have to be expensive, you can start by going through your pocket change and your change jar, piggy bank or wherever you keep your spare change .In coin collecting, such properties as condition and rarity determine value . A system known as the Sheldon system grades coins from poor to mint state .


Valuable Coins in your Pocket ? Check Out your Change !

(as values change, check the price guide links for the latest values)


If you find a pre 1965 American dime, quarter, half dollar consider yourself lucky, as those are silver .



 Hunting for silver half dollars in rolls



 Hunting for wheatbacks in a $25 box of pennies

Time was when you could get rolls of pennies from the bank and find a few wheatbacks, that is increasingly rare now. Some valuable pennies to be on the lookout for are : The famous 1955 double die error, 1958 misplaced mintmark, 1960 D misstrike, 1968 D misstrike,1971 double die obverse

 1972 double die

 1984 double ear, 1990 no s mintmark

1996 P strikethrough,

2006 P double die reverse

2009 P double die


1942-5 war nickels

1946 P War nickel with 35% silver

vary rare newly found estimated value $10,000

1955 D error strike

1963 double die obverse

1990 P double strike

1995 double die


1964 d double die


1996 P 'spiked' eye

50 State Quarters errors



The U.S. Mint started the 50 States Quarters program in 1997 and by 2008 all states had a quarter design minted. . The front or obverse are the same while the back or reverse have a design related to each state . The 2009 coins will feature designs from District of Columbia and five of the nation's territories. The number of quarters minted varies from state to state .None of the circulating coins are rare enough to have become valuable yet. However, an error die in the 2004-5 Wisconsin quarter have fetched from $100 to $1,500 dollars. This error has an extra leaf on the reverse side. Photo and more information here .

2004-5 Wisconson quarter extra leaf on ear of corn


Another coin to keep an eye out for is the 2005 Minnesota double die quarter, as well as a 2005 Minnesota quarter with extra trees (for these and other errors) .


Some Kansas quarters have ' In God We Rust.'

2005 Kansas 'humpback' bison


If you are extremely lucky, you may find the rare coin with the Sacagawea dollar on one side and the front side of a 50 state quarter on the other .


2008 Arizona extra cactus leaf error.  


2008 Arizona - trunk of tree on initials


2008 Hawaii extra islands to right


Wyoming obverse die crack.


Alaska - extra bear claw error


2005 California 'rockslide' error



video of the 50 state quarters


Dollar Coins


2007 Washington double error smooth edge-missing edge lettering

 John Adams double stamp



 news report on the 'Godless dollar'


Fake coins and how to detect them



 Chinese counterfeiters producing high quality fake coins. Now not only are the counterfeiters minting Chinese products but American products including numismatic coins. Experts everywhere are being fooled more and more. The new counterfeits are starting to weigh spot on! By using a mix of metals they can get the weight almost exact to the real thing!  One of the best ways to determine if your asset is legitimate is to know what dimensions it should have (circumference, thickness, weight). Every government issued coin, and even privately issued rounds or bars, should have manufacturer dimensions available either online or by simply giving them a call (otherwise go with a different product). Get a digital scale and a caliper and take measurements. Even though fakes can come close to the real thing, the density of gold and silver are unique, so if a particular bar or coin shows an inaccurate weight or dimension, you're likely looking at a fake.



 How To Test For Silver | Gold Testing For Fake Coins With A Neodymium Magnet Tester


A Neodymium Magnet Tester for testing coins



coin scales



 A simple method for checking silver dollars to make sure you don't have a chinese counterfeit.


What's your coin worth ?


Some good online sources to discover the value of your coins are :,  and . You can also usually get a good idea of your coin's worth by typing in the type of coin, year and mint into a search engine and checking eBay.


Ancient Coins



 Ancient coins of Lydia , the Indian Gupta Empire (280-550AD) and ancient Chinese stylised 'spade' money possibly of the Spring and Autumn period (770-476BC)


Coins originated separately in ancient Lydia (eastern Turkey) around 700 BC made of naturally occuring electrum, a gold and silver mixture. The first coins were bean sized copies of nuggets

 In China , possibly as early as 650 BC and India around 500-400 BC. The earlist Indian coins were purana, a piece of silver punched marked .The civilizations in the Americas never developed true coins.


Athenian owl tetradrachm


The spontaneous invention of coinage was one of the greatest achievements of mankind, with it trade could advance beyond the barter level, money could be invested and spur development and transported easily. It required a stable state where the weight and composition of the coinage could be trusted . 


In some city-states, temples began to guarantee coins, and the patron god came to be represented on the coin, such as a bee at Ephesus ,Aphrodite at Cnidus and Athena at Athens, with the famous owl on the reverse, symbolizing wisdom.


Around 700BC, a the famous mint opened on the island of Aegina which was under the control of King Pheidon of Argos. Silver coins became the standard for trade in the ancient Greek world. King Croesus of Lydia issued gold and silver coins, with a lion (see above).


dekadrachm from Syracuse, by Kimon, Nike on chariot


After Cyrus the Great conquered Lydia, the Persian (Achaemenid ) gold Darics and silver shekels became the main currency of the near east. Sparta used only 'iron money.' the coins of the Greek cities on Sicily such as Syracuse, Elis and Amphipolis have become famous for their beauty.At Syracuse lived some of the greatest die makers on the classic period, Kimon and Euainetos.


Carthage issued coins, usually with a horse and a palm tree and the head of the goddess of Carthage .


The Imperial Roman gold piece was the aureus and quinarius and denarius in silver and the sestertius and dupondius in bronze and the as in copper.In 305 AD Diocletian reformed the coinage, which had become debased and ended all local coinages .


Ancient coins can seem intimidating at first, and require some research. Prominent features of ancient coins are gods, military victory and announcing new rulers. There are fakes about, so buy coins from a trusted source when you first start out. The best quality coins are rare and expensive, but hordes of worn ancient coins are always being found and many are reasonably priced .


Coins of various ancient Empires and States


Coins produced by the Greek city-states are some of the most striking .Ancient Greek coins can be broken up into three main periods Archaic (from roughly 600BC to 480BC). The Classical period from 480BC to the conquests of Alexander in 330 BC and the Hellenistic period afterwards to the Roman conquest in the first century BC. During the Hellenistic period Greek coins were in use from Egypt to India and influenced India's future coinage .A common coin of the early period was the drachma. In the early 6th century Athens began to produce a silver tetradrachm 'four drachm' coin and continued in common use in the Hellenistic period .

gold Daric (from the Persian word for gold ) of the Persian Achaemenid  Empire from the time of Darius I. Daruis I (549-486) standardized the coinage and introduced the Daric. The king or a god is usually pictured with a bow .After the conquest of Alexander most were melted down and recoined for the Hellenistic kingdoms.The Persians also made silver shekels.





coin of Artaxerxes III 350s BC, one of the last rulers of the Achaemenid Empire



coin of Seleucus, one of Alexander's generals, who went on to found the Selucid Empire (323-60 BC),Here depecting the victory at the Battle of Ipsus where Elephants from India helped bring victory. The anchor is a symbol for Selucid naval power .


 Silver tetradrachm of Alexander III, the Great, wearing a lion skin as Herakles

coin of Arsaces, founder of the Parthian empire (63BC-226AD)

Ptolemy III Euergetes 240s BCof the Ptolemaic empire. the later Hellenistic kings started to depict themselves on coinage as Asian monarchs did .



coin of the Hellenistic Bactrian (modern day Afghanistan) king Eucratides (r.171-145BC)

 from wikipedia


coin of Shapur I of the Sassanid Empire (226-651AD), who captured the Roman Emperor Valerian




coin of the nomadic  Hephthalite or White Hun  Kingdom (420-567)



  Roman coin of Phillip the Arab



Empress Zenobia of the Palmyrene Empire, who was defeated and taken to Rome as a hostage in 274AD



coin of Cleopatra VII, who died in 30 BC with Marck Anthony



Coin of Julius Ceaser (100BC-44BC), one of the first Roman Leaders to depict himself on a coin

       from wikipedia



Top 10 most Beautiful Coins in history


Saint Gaudens $20


Walking Liberty half dollar


Alexander the Great gold statee


Byzantine Christ Solidus


coin of  Samudragupta





The History of the Liberty V Nickel.









Strike It Rich Pocket Change Error Coin book


useful coin links


eBay coins


How to handle a coin


How to store a coin


How to grade coins


ancient coins


 coin collecting glossary




Ancient coin collecting





















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