Types of US Gold Coins and Their Value

Posted on Oct 30,2014

In its short history, the United States has gone through dozens of kinds of coins, including classics such as the Buffalo nickel, the Wheatpenny, and the JFK half-dollar.  These coins and others have been made with different metals during different periods in history.  Various alloys and metals, both pure and diluted, that have been used in the production of coins; they include gold, silver, copper, aluminum, iron, palladium, platinum, tin, and more.  Take a look at this guide from Littleton Coin on collectable US coins.


Most coins have their value determined by their rarity.  Commemorative coins and limited-edition coinage are very rare because they were minted in small quantities.  This is also why coins such as the haypenny and buffalo nickel are not too valuable; they are as numerous today as they were when they were minted.


Common coins, such as pennies, nickels, and quarters, can be worth more depending on the historical context of their minting.  For example, during World War II, coins were minted with different metals due to rationing and the war effort, and this can affect their value.  Some coins, such as those minted during incredibly tumultuous times in history, can be more valuable as well.


Gold coins can currently be very valuable because of the booming gold market.  Purely for their gold content, these coins are more valuable than others; while this does not take into account the historical context surrounding their minting, their year of minting, or their rarity, it is important to note that gold continues to become more valuable and therefore makes your gold coins (as well as gold jewelry, gold bars, and more) more valuable.  Some coins that have benefitted from this relatively recent bull market include golden eagle quarters, gold dollar coins, and more.  After gold, silver and palladium are also growing markets.


If you have a lot of valuable coins, you might think about approaching a top dealer like Coinsters.  Or looking for a local specialist who can at least price your coins for you first.  In a lot of cases, your gold coins will be worth more as melted down gold than they will actual collectibles.  That may sound strange, but with the recent rise in gold prices, that’s the case for a lot of gold coins.  SellGoldCoins.org has information on which coins are probably worth more in just gold.

If you’re more curious about the value of your American coinage, a good place to start are sites like eBay and Amazon.  When you search your coin, be sure to keep in mind that even a mint year difference of one year could dramatically affect the value of your coins.  Information regarding the gold market itself and your ability to sell gold coins at a higher rate can be found on our website here.

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