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
2007 Washington double error smooth edge-missing edge lettering
John Adams double stamp
news report on the 'Godless dollar'
What's your coin worth ?
Some good online sources to discover the value of your coins are : pcgs.com, bestcoin.com , ecoinprices.com coinclub.com and Numismedia.com . 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 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
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.
useful coin links