When you’re first starting to collect coins, it’s common to wonder which coins are the best to add to your collection. There are so many coins to add to your collection, it can be hard to know where to begin.
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Each numismatist can decide what type of coins to include in their collection, but hopefully this brief guide gives you an idea of some of the best coins for a numismatic collection.
If you’re just starting out, we recommend starting your collection with low-level investment coins, such as Lincoln Pennies and Washington Quarters. You can then move on to collecting rarer and more valuable coins, such as Gold American Eagles.
It all comes down to personal preference. Some numismatists might collect error coins, or extremely rare coins, or common coins from different years. It’s up to you—and that’s the fun of coin collecting!
Lincoln pennies are commonly known, as they are widely circulated and still used as currency today! There are variations of the Lincoln Penny that collectors tend to lean towards, such as ones that are double-stamped, or the VDB Lincoln Penny that carries the three-letter initials of its designer, which was not standard at the time and was extremely rare.
When it comes to Washington Quarters, two common collections people aim for are each of the 50 states from that collection, or all of the America the Beautiful quarters, which feature 56 national parks and landmarks from a variety of states.
Of course, you could also aim to collect one Washington Quarter from each year
$50 Gold American Eagles are some of the most sought after and profitable coins in American history. They are extremely beautiful, and are also backed by the United States congress, guaranteeing their high gold content. The obverse depicts the famous “Walking Lady Liberty” by Augustus St. Gaudens, while the reverse pictures a family of bald eagles, which symbolize the American family.
These coins are great for the numismatist who is looking to take the leap into more valuable coins that contain a high amount of gold and are rarer.
All gold coins minted before 1933 are extremely valuable, because President Roosevelt issued an executive order that gold could not be hoarded by American citizens and must be exchanged for US currency. These exchanged gold coins were melted into gold bars, making any coin minted before 1933 extremely rare.
Both sides of this twenty-dollar gold coin were designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and it is regarded as one of the most beautiful coins in the world. While the coin could technically be used as currency, it is most commonly used as investment bullion.
The Indian Head eagle was a $10 gold piece or eagle struck by the US Mint from 1907 until 1916, and then irregularly until 1933. The obverse and reverse were designed by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the designer of the Double Eagle coin.
The Indian Head on this coin is not really an Indian head at all—it is Lady Liberty wearing a Native American headdress. But, like the Mercury Dime, the misnomer stuck, and the coin is known as the Gold Indian Head.
Decreed by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908, the Indian Head design from Bela Lyon Pratt was placed on the nation’s $2.50 quarter eagles and $5 half eagles. These coins are unique in that the designed portion is recessed into the coin, not raised like most other coins. They are only one of two US coins to utilize this unique minting technique, making them doubly rare since they were minted before 1933.
The Mercury Dime was produced from 1916 to 1945. The design is actually not the Roman god Mercury—the design by Andrew Weinman was that of young Lady Liberty with her winged Phrygian cap. However, the Mercury Dime name stuck, and it still goes by that name today.
This coin is not only famous for its misinterpretation of the design, but certain minting years also collected for their rarity, specifically the Mercury Dimes from 1916, the first year the coin was minted. Only 264,000 were minted, making them rare.
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