Q: What is my Buffalo Nickel worth?
A: Probably less than a dollar, but you never know….. Because of the way that the coin was designed, the date wore off easily, particularly on the older 1913-1926 dates. These “dateless” or “partially-dated” Buffaloes are generally worth 10c each and are often transformed into buttons that adorn leather goods. Common circulated “full-date” 1927-1938 Buffalo Nickels generally bring between 25c and 50c each, but can be worth $10 or more in Uncirculated condition. 1931’s are better and bring at least $4.00 or more. Dates prior to 1927 should be evaluated individually. Better Buffalo Nickels worth more than $50 each often turn up often in groups of old pocket change!
Q: What is a 3-legged Buffalo Nickel?
A: This famous rarity occurs on 1937-D Buffaloes. The mint, trying to extend the usefulness of a coin die, polished away a portion of the bison’s foreleg creating this popular collector’s prize worth over $300! Authenticity is important on “3-leggers” as some skillfully-made forgeries exist.
Q: How do I grade my coins?
A: It can take years, proper lighting and considerable comparative study to develop accurate and consistent grading skills. Old fashioned standards used adjectives to describe the coin’s grade. Poor, Fair, About Good, Good, Very Good, Fine, Very Fine, Extra Fine, About Uncirculated and Uncirculated were used. Beginning in the late 1940’s, Dr. William Sheldon devised a numerical scale, ranging from 1 to 70 (70 being PERFECTION), that was originally intended for grading copper Large Cents and Half Cents. The Sheldon Grading Scale has been adapted for all coins, gradually gaining acceptance, and is widely used today:
Poor – Basal State-1 Worn virtually smooth, barely identifiable.
Fair – Fair-2 Heavily worn, rim mostly or entirely worn down.
About Good AG3 Well worn, basic designs visible. Rim will be weak in places.
Good G4 and G6 Well worn, basic designs visible. Full rims.
Very Good VG8 and VG10 Moderately worn with @25% fine detail visible.
Fine F12 and F15 Somewhat worn with @40-60% fine detail visible.
Very Fine VF20 VF25 VF30 and VF35 Slight wear with 70-90% fine detail visible.
Extremely Fine XF40 and XF45 Light wear highest points. Mint luster in protected areas.
About Uncirculated AU50 AU55 and AU58 Slight rub on coin. Lustrous, barely used.
Mint State (Uncirculated) MS60 MS61 MS62 and so on – up to MS70
MS60 (Uncirculated or Brilliant Uncirculated) A new coin, no wear, but with bagmarks.
MS63 (Choice Brilliant Uncirculated) Flashy, brilliant coin with a few light bagmarks.
MS64 (Very Choice Brilliant Uncirculated) As above, but well struck, fewer marks.
MS65 (Gem Brilliant Uncirculated) As above, virtually no marks visible to the eye.
MS66 (Superb Gem Brilliant Uncirculated) Few older coins attain this grade or higher.
MS70 Perfection. Perfectly struck and exactly as the coin left the dies.
The above information describes a coin’s “sharpness grade” and is only one part of the coin-grading process. Other factors such as strike sharpness, scratches, corrosion, rim cuts and cleaning must then be taken into account to arrive at the coin’s “net grade”. A coin’s “net grade” can never be higher than the coin’s “sharpness grade” although it can certainly be less.
Q: Should I clean my coins?
A: Rule #1 Resist the temptation, DON’T CLEAN YOUR COINS! Your well-intended cleaning will definitely lower the value of your valuable coins. Please leave restoration to the experts. We have seen customers turn $10,000 coins into $10 coins through their well-intended, but improper cleaning. This is, by far, the most common mistake that novices make.
Q: Why can’t you tell me what my coin is worth on the phone?
A: The value of most old coins depends upon many factors, most importantly the technical condition of the coin. Seemingly simple answers about your coin’s value are often more complex than you might imagine. Small differences in condition can dramatically affect the coin’s value. A dealer might be able to tell you what a “typical” example is worth, but your coin’s actual value may be quite different – higher or lower. Call any coin shop in the country and you’ll generally be told – “you’ll have to show it to us” or “we don’t appraise coins on the phone”. Please don’t be offended by this.
Q: Are older coins worth more than newer coins?
A: Not necessarily. An average 1934 Peace Dollar is worth far less ($5-$20) than the value of an average 1840 Liberty Seated Dollar ($160-$300), however, there are some 1934 Peace Dollars that could be worth far more – $2,500 or more! Many 1700-year-old ancient Roman coins can be worth $5 or less!
Q: Can I find out the value of my coins in a book?
A: Possibly, but not necessarily. You’ll notice that in every book there are various price columns, each column relating to a specific condition. So, your ability to pinpoint the “book value” of a coin is dependent upon your coin-grading skills. Most novice collectors struggle with coin grading – and even the experts don’t always agree on condition. Also, depending upon the publication date as well as other factors, the “book value” may not reflect the current market value. “Book values” generally reflect prices for problem-free coins. Price adjustments must be made for coins that are damaged (rim dings, scratches, cleaning, pitting/corrosion). For rare dates and gold coins, authenticity is of paramount importance.
Q: Do coins always go up in value?
A: Generally they do, increasing slowly and steadily over the years, however, there can be periods of time when prices will not change or even fall. If coins are improperly stored or cleaned, they can lose value. Large variations in the spot gold and silver markets may radically affect the value of silver and gold coins.
Q: Should I keep my coins or sell them? How much will they be worth in 20 years?
A: It is impossible to predict the future. The decision to sell or hold depends upon each person and each family. If there is a member of the family who is interested in history and enjoys collecting things, then you might decide to keep your old coins for their personal enjoyment. If there are no collectors in your family, then the coins might be better off sold to a reputable dealer or somebody else who appreciates them. Also, there is always the risk of loss due to burglary or value loss due to environmental damage.
Q: Should I leave my coins with the dealer?
A: Doing so requires trust – and most dealers are trustworthy. We have been in business for many years, building a fine reputation in the process. We work to earn the trust of our customers. We certainly understand, however, if sellers want to watch while we look at and appraise their coins. Please ask about private appointments.
Q: Why do I receive differing offers for my coins?
A: Not all dealers operate the same way. Not all dealers have the same knowledge, experience, grading skills, business plan, inventory needs, financial resources and ethics. Obviously, the most important quality is good ethics. It pays to get another opinion if you have questions about a dealer’s honesty. If you receive two separate, independent offers that differ very little then you can usually assume that the dealers are both reputable and that your coins were properly valued.
Q: Do I have to pay to have someone look at my coins?
A: If you require a formal written, detailed appraisal, our fee is $70/hr. Other dealers may charge more or less than this amount. For most typical groups of coins, however, there is minimal time required (less than 20 minutes) and there is no fee. On certain larger collections and/or accumulations requiring several hours, it is fair and reasonable for us to offer a “refundable appraisal fee”, meaning that the seller would pay the $70/hr appraisal fee but receive the money back if we later bought the coins. Random lots of old pocket change rarely take much time to value. Most collections formed by “casual collectors” or someone who traveled abroad rarely require much time to value. The more advanced the collection the more time it will likely require to properly value.
Q: How much is my Silver Certificate worth?
A: First of all, Silver Certificates can no longer be redeemed for silver, however, they are still “legal tender”. The most commonly seen Silver Certificates have blue serial numbers and a blue seal. Most are common, but it is best to show them to a dealer in order to identify better pieces. Scarcer examples may have a star in the serial number, a gold seal instead of blue seal and certain signature combinations on 1928’s can be worth much more.
$1.00 1928, 1934 Circulated $5-$15; Crisp Uncirculated $20-$40
$1.00 1935, 1957 Circulated $1.00-$1.50; Crisp Uncirculated $3-$4
$5.00 1934, 1953 Circulated $6-$8; Crisp Uncirculated $10-$15
$10.00 1934, 1953 Circulated $15-$20; Crisp Uncirculated $50-$100
Q: What is a Red Seal note? What are they worth?
A: These are called “United States Notes” and are also sometimes called “Legal Tenders”. This type of currency traces its roots back to Abe Lincoln. These “greenbacks” never had any intrinsic backing like gold and silver certificates. The most common red seals are $2’s and $5’s, however $1’s and $100’s also exist. It is common to see $2’s with corners torn off. Years ago, people were superstitious about receiving $2’s – “bad luck” unless you tore a corner off the note, supposedly to “cancel” the bad luck. These damaged notes have no collector premium above $2. Star notes are worth a premium!
$1.00 1928 Circulated $30-$80; Crisp Uncirculated $100-$150
$2.00 1928, 1953, 1963 Circulated $3-$5; Crisp Uncirculated $6-$10
$5.00 1928, 1953, 1963 Circulated $6-$8; Crisp Uncirculated $15-$20
$100.00 1966 Circulated $105-$150; Crisp Uncirculated $180-$350
Q: What about older Federal Reserve Notes: 1928, 1934 and 1950?
A: Most are common, worth near face value in circulated grades, but you should still have them looked at by a knowledgeable dealer for better pieces. Certain signature combinations on the 1928 notes can be very rare and valuable. Notes with a star in the serial number are quite collectible and all of these notes will bring some premiums in higher grades.
Q: What does a star in the serial number mean?
A: Star notes are also called “replacement notes”. They were printed in advance of the normal production notes and used to “replace” defective notes. This enabled BEP workers to replace defective notes with stars, keeping the serial numbers in proper sequence when the notes were later bundled. Star notes on modern currency are rather common and are of little collector interest. Older stars (pre-1985), however, are usually worth a modest premium. Certain pre-1950 star notes can be quite valuable! Condition is always a big factor in determining the value.
Q: What is my “HAWAII” note worth?
A: These popular collector notes circulated in Hawaii during WWII. It was widely believed, following Pearl Harbor, that the Japanese would return to re-invade the Hawaiian Islands, so, by law, these special brown seal notes replaced all other currency in the islands in order to protect the nation’s money supply – they could be demonetized at a moments notice, if needed. Issued in $1’s, $5’s, $10’s and $20’s and always worth a good premium, usually between $10 and $100. Interestingly, $5’s are, by far, the scarcest of the four denominations. $1’s and $20’s are the most common. Again, condition is a big factor in determining the value. Star HAWAII notes are very scarce!
Q: What Half Cents have value?
A: All Half Cents (1793-1857) have some value. Half Cent values will vary widely (between $5.00 and $10,000 or more) with condition. Typical, common, average circulated Half Cents (1803-1857) are generally worth $15 to $50. In higher grades, all dates command high prices and extreme dealer and collector interest, especially original, uncleaned coins. The series can be divided into five major types:
Flowing Hair Half Cents: 1793 Worth $500 to $5,000 or more
Liberty Cap Cents: 1794-1797 Worth $25 to $2,000 or more
Draped Bust Cents: 1800-1808 Worth $15 to $500 or more
Turban Head or Classic Head Cents: 1809-1835 Worth $15 to $200 & up
Braided Hair Cent: 1839-1857 Worth $15 to $200 or more
Key dates: 1796 and 1802. Varieties exist for both, all are rare to extremely rare.
Q: What is my 1908 Indian Cent worth?
A: The value of Indian Cents (1859-1909) can vary widely depending upon condition and mintmark. The years 1908 and 1909 are usually common, low-value coins that are typically well-worn and worth fifty cents to a two dollars. This is pretty much true for all well-worn Indian Cents issued from 1879 to 1909. Prior to 1879 (1859-1878) the potential for higher value is much greater with 1877 being the rarest date in the series – usually worth $300 to $1,500! The unique thing about 1908 and 1909 Indian Cents is that the San Francisco mint issued these only during these two years. The “S” mintmark would be found on the reverse below the wreath. All other Indian Cents were issued at the Philadelphia Mint and do not bear a mint mark.
The 1908-S is typically worth $30-$50 and the 1909-S is typically worth $175-$300. Higher grade, uncleaned Indian Cents are highly prized by collectors and are worth much more!
Q: What Indian Cents are called “white cents”?
A: “White cents” (1856 to 1864) include Flying Eagle Cents (1856-58) and Indian Cents (1859-64). These popular, extremely thick Civil War-era coins were made of a copper-nickel alloy and have a much lighter color, hence their name. Values range from a few dollars to over $100. The years 1862 and 1863 are the most common, typically worth $3 to $5. The prized 1856 Flying Eagle Cent is typically worth several thousand dollars, if genuine. Average circulated 1857 and 1858 Flying Eagle Cents are worth $10 to $30.
Q: What varieties are worth looking for?
A: There are several major varieties and dozens of minor ones:
1858/7 Flying Eagle While the actual overdate can often be weak, there are two other diagnostics for the variety: First the tip of the wing feather is detached (near the rim by “AM” of “AMERICA”). Second, there is a small raised lump in the exact middle of the field above the date (below the eagle).
1864-L This variety is found only on the thinner, bronze 1864’s. The tiny letter “L” is located on the ribbon above the shoulder. Confirmation of the variety is easy since all 1864-L’s have a pointed tip to the Indian’s bust while the common 1864 bronze has a distinctly rounded point to the bust.
1869/9 Previously thought to be 1869/8, but now confirmed to be a re-cut date. Several varieties exist, but the valuable one appears to have symmetrical “devils horns” protruding from the top of the “9”.
1873 Double Die There are two major double die varieties where the “LIBERTY” on the Indian’s headband is broadly and sharply doubled. Sadly, this variety can’t be identified on heavily worn examples.
1894/1894 Double Die The date is broadly and obviously doubled. This rare coin can be spotted with minimal magnification.
Q: What Jefferson Nickels have value?
A: Traditionally, the 1939-D and 1950-D are considered the “key dates” to the series and have value even in circulated grades. Also, the 1938-D, 1938-S, 1939-S and all War Nickels are worth a small premium in most grades. Jefferson Nickels minted prior to 1956 in Brilliant Uncirculated condition are also worth good premiums. Since 1956, there are numerous dates that bring good premiums if they are Brilliant Uncirculated including 1971, 1975, 1976, 1976-D, 1982-P, 1982-D, 1983-P, 1983-D, 1984-P 1986-D, 1992-P, 1995-P, 1997-P, 1997-D, 1998-P and 1998-D. It seems that dealers and collectors didn’t save many of these recent issues, accounting for their high premium today. Most dealers would be eager to buy scarcer and older flashy original uncirculated rolls for inventory.
Q: What is a War Nickel?
A: War Nickels were issued in WWII during 1942-45. They have 35% silver content and usually look dark greenish-gray when circulated. Brilliant Uncirculated War Nickels look stunningly bright-white and very silvery. Not all 1942’s are war nickels, however. All War Nickels have a large P, D or S mintmark above the dome of Monticello. The wholesale value of circulated War Nickels will vary with Spot Silver price, usually 10c to 15c each. Uncirculated War Nickels are very popular and in demand, with the 1945-S being by far the most common date worth $2-$3 each. Other dates are usually worth $4-$8 each if flashy and uncleaned.
Trivia: Other than War Nickels, what are nickels made of?
A: 75% copper and 25% nickel. It is interesting that the 25% nickel composition is able to “mask” the copper color!
Q: What Large Cents have value?
A: All Large Cents (1793-1857) have some value. Large Cent values will vary widely (between $1.00 and $10,000 or more) with condition. Typical, common, average circulated Large Cents (1816-1856) are generally worth $10 to $20. In higher grades, all dates command high prices and extreme dealer and collector interest, especially original, uncleaned coins. The series can be divided into seven major types:
Chain Cents: 1793 Worth $500 to $10,000 or more
Wreath Cents: 1793 Worth $300 to $8,000 or more
Liberty Cap Cents: 1793-1796 Worth $25 to $5,000 or more
Draped Bust Cents: 1796-1807 Worth $10 to $2,000 or more
Turban Head or Classic Head Cents: 1808-1814 Worth $10 to $2,000 & up
Matron Head Cent: 1816-1839 Worth $1.00 to $500 or more
Braided Hair Cent: 1839-1857 Worth $1.00 to $500 or more
Key dates: 1793 (all 3 types), 1799 and 1804.
Trivia: Large Cents were the first US coins popularly collected and studied by die variety. By 1860, most varieties of the early cents (1793-1814) had been identified and cataloged. Many recognized rarities were trading at enormous premiums over face value during those early years, while other series of coins saw very little premium paid. Modern grading standards and variety identification methodologies trace their roots to these humble coins and their proud owners.
Trivia: What one year, from 1793 to present, were cents not issued?
A: 1815, due to the War of 1812.
Liberty Head Dime
Q: What Liberty Head Dimes have value?
A: All Liberty Head Dimes (1892-1916) are 90% silver, so heavily worn examples are worth at least 40c to 50c each for their intrinsic silver content. Liberty Head Dime values will vary widely (between 50c and $60) with condition. In higher grades, all dates command high prices and extreme dealer and collector interest, especially original, uncleaned coins. The key date, 1895-O is quite valuable and prized by collectors, usually worth more than $250 each! There are several other scarce dates in this popular series worth from $40 to $100 in lower grades.
Q: What about the 1894-S?
A: This coin is so rare that most collectors will only dream of owning one. Therefore, it is usually not considered part of a complete set. Mint records show that 24 pieces were minted and only about half that number are accounted for today. Most known examples are in high grade and worth $200,000 to $400,000!
Q: Why are Liberty Head Dimes called Barber Dimes?
A: The coin was designed by Charles Barber. Most dealers and collectors refer to these as Barber Dimes.
Liberty Head Half Dollar
Q: What Liberty Head Half Dollars have value?
A: All Liberty Head Halves (1892-1915) are 90% silver, so heavily worn examples are worth at least $2.00 to $2.50 each for their intrinsic silver content. Liberty Head Half values will vary widely (between $2.50 and $300) with condition. In higher grades, all dates command high prices and extreme dealer and collector interest, especially original, uncleaned coins. The key dates, 1892-O, 1892-S, 1893-S and 1897-S are quite valuable and prized by collectors, usually worth more than $100 each! There are several other scarce dates, including 1913, 1914 and 1915 (Philadelphia-mint) in this popular series worth from $20 to $60 in lower grades.
Q: Why are Liberty Head Halves called Barber Halves?
A: The coin was designed by Charles Barber. Most dealers and collectors refer to these as Barber Halves.
Liberty Head Quarter
Q: What Liberty Head Quarters have value?
A: All Liberty Head Quarters (1892-1916) are 90% silver, so heavily worn examples are worth at least $1.00 to $1.25 each for their intrinsic silver content. Liberty Head Quarter values will vary widely (between $1.25 and $150) with condition. In higher grades, all dates command high prices and extreme dealer and collector interest, especially original, uncleaned coins. The key dates 1896-S, 1901-S and 1913-S are quite valuable and prized by collectors, usually worth more than $400 each!
Q: Why are Liberty Head Quarters called Barber Quarters?
A: The coin was designed by Charles Barber. Most dealers and collectors refer to these as Barber Quarters.
Q: What is my 1943 “Steel Cent” worth?
A: Probably from five to ten cents. These are also called “Silver Pennies” and were only minted during 1943. Also, this was the only coin that the United States ever minted that will stick to a magnate. Steel Cents are very common with a combined mintage of OVER A BILLION pieces! After 1943, since the coins proved to be very unpopular and impractical (because they easily rust) so the mint resumed the bronze alloy in 1944. See the full story below.
Q: I heard on the news that a 1943 cent might be worth over $10,000! What is that all about?
A: Don’t get your hopes up. You have a much better chance of winning the lottery than finding the rare 1943 coin. The media, especially the Hispanic media, appears to be in love with the fantasy that a person might find a fortune in their stash of pennies. The Hispanic media seems intent on re-broadcasting the same absurd, cruel story every few months, during the past ten years or so. With every broadcast, coin dealers are deluged with useless phone calls from people who think that they have found a fortune. Then, the coin dealer has to be the bearer of the disappointing news. Here is the story: When the mint first began minting the 1943 Steel Cent, a few of the leftover bronze 1942 blanks slipped into the coin press and were minted with the 1943 date. That’s it. The few bronze 1943’s were mostly spotted and saved right at the time of issue in 1943. Today, there are approximately 20 examples known from each of the three mints – about 50 to 60 pieces total. These bronze 1943’s are highly prized by collectors today, typically bringing $30,000 to $60,000 at auction. Outside of one questionable, doubtful newswire in 1996, there have been no official discoveries of genuine 1943 bronze cents during the last FORTY YEARS! WHAT A WASTE OF EVERYONE’S TIME THIS HAS BEEN! Call your news station and complain!
Q: What is the 1922 “no-D” Lincoln Cent?
A: All cents issued in 1922 came from the Denver (D) mint. The variety was created by attempts at the mint to extend the use of the dies. Mint workers inadvertently polished the “D” mintmark from the die, thus creating an interesting, prized coin for collectors. This variety offers some challenge to properly identify and differentiate the valuable “die pair #2” from “die pair #1” and “die pair #3” coins that are also known as “weak-D” varieties. The valuable “no-D” die pair #2 has absolutely no trace of the “D” mintmark, a sharply-struck reverse, severe “swelling” (distortion) of the “TY” in “LIBERTY” and the second “2” is thinner but sharper than the first “2” in the date. The main characteristic of the die pair 1 and 3 varieties is an extremely “mushy”, distorted reverse and they usually show some trace of the “D” mintmark. With a just little practice, it is easy to tell them apart.
Q: What are ‘Wheatback Pennies” worth?
A: Generally about $1.50 per $1.00 face. This low rate is for average circulated “wheaties” issued from 1934 to 1958. Dates prior to 1934 should be evaluated separately. The rarest dates are 1909-S VDB, 1909-S, 1911-S, 1914-D, 1922 no “D” and 1931-S. These six coins would make up well over 90% of the value of most typical Lincoln Cent collections. Of course condition will determine the final value. High grade, uncleaned early-date Lincoln Cents are highly prized by collectors!
Q: Are there any recently-issued Lincolns that have value?
A: Any rolls of full-mint-red, unspotted, brilliant uncirculated wheatback Lincolns would be of interest, especially before 1956. These rolls often turn up in older hoards of coins. Casual collectors are not likely to find prized double-die varieties in their pocket change such as 1955, 1972, 1983 and 1995, but those coins would definitely top the list of premium finds. Most dealers would be willing to buy recent dates in original uncirculated roll quantities, though premiums for most dates are low.
Q: What Mercury Dimes have value?
A: All Mercury dimes (1916-1945) are 90% silver, so even the most common examples (1934-45) are worth 40c to 50c just for their silver content. Typically, dates prior to 1934 have a potential for collector value unless badly worn. For the common years 1934-45, examples in uncirculated condition (or nearly uncirculated condition) will bring a good premium above silver. The rarest dates are 1916-D, 1921 and 1921-D. Pre-1934 Mercury Dimes in original, uncleaned, uncirculated condition are highly prized by dealers and collectors.
Q: What is a 1942/1 Mercury Dime?
A: This is called an “overdate”. At the end of 1941 the mint had a perfectly useable die left over. Because of the war, the mint decided to punch a “2” over the “1” and continue minting dimes. Today, the 1942/1 dime (and its “D-mint” counterpart) is highly prized by collectors. This valuable rarity is definitely worth looking for in old “numismatically-unsearched” dime hoards. On the “D-mint” overdate, the “1” undertype is only faintly visible. Numismatists know to look for the sharply doubled lower upright of the “4” to confirm this variety. There are no 42/1 overdates on 1942-S dimes.
Trivia: What two years, between 1916 and 1945, were there no Mercury Dimes minted?
A: 1932 and 1933 – during the Great Depression.
Q: What Roosevelt Dimes have value?
A: All pre-1965 Roosevelt Dimes are 90% silver, so most circulated examples are worth 40c to 50c each for their intrinsic silver content. There are no circulated Roosevelt Dimes worth more than silver except 1949-S and 1950-S if they are very nearly uncirculated. .
Q: Are there any clad Roosevelt Dimes worth premiums?
A: Dealers would have interest in original uncirculated rolls of Roosevelt Dimes particularly 1982-P, 1982-D, 1983-P, 1983-D and several others as well including recently-issued 1995-P, 1995-D and even 1999-P rolls. Check with a dealer before simply taking those uncirculated rolls of dimes down to the bank! You may be glad that you did!
Standing Liberty Quarter
Q: What Standing Liberty Quarters have value?
A: All Standing Liberty Quarters (1916-1930) are 90% silver, so heavily worn (date worn off) examples are worth at least $1.00 to $1.25 each for their intrinsic silver content. Quarters with readable dates from 1925-1930 are the most commonly seen and values will vary widely (between $1.25 and $150) with condition. Dates from 1916 to 1924 are much scarcer, worth $4.00 to $500 depending on condition and mintmark. In higher grades, all dates command high prices and extreme dealer and collector interest, especially original, uncleaned coins. The key dates 1916 and 1918/7-S are among the most valuable and prized 20th century coins usually worth more than $1,000 each!
Q: What are 1917 Type 1 and Type 2 Standing Liberty Quarters?
A: The artistic Type 1, bare-breasted design generated considerable public protest, so Miss Liberty was “properly clothed” on the Type 2 design. There were also modifications on the reverse in the arrangement of the stars.
Trivia: What two years, during the 20th century, were there no quarters minted?
A: 1922 and 1931. In 1922, the mint was primarily focused on Silver Dollar Production. 1931 was during the Great Depression.
Two Cent & Three Cent
Q: Why did these coins exist?
A: For two main reasons. First, unlike today, these small denomination coins had considerable purchasing power. For example, it cost two or three cents to mail a letter. A meal might cost only a few cents. Secondly, in post-Civil War America (called Reconstruction) the government had great difficulty keeping silver and gold coins in circulation. To meet the needs of commerce, these coins were minted in large quantities along with paper script (see Fractional Currency).
Q: What Two Cent Pieces have value?
A: All Two Cent Pieces (1864-1873) have some value. Two Cent values will vary widely (between $1.00 and $100 or more) with condition. Typical, common, average circulated Two Cents Pieces are generally worth $5 to $20. In higher grades, all dates command high prices and extreme dealer and collector interest, especially original, uncleaned coins. The key dates are 1872 and 1873, the latter being a rare “Proof Only” issue.
Q: How do you tell the rare 1864 Small Motto Two Cent Piece from the common 1864 Large Motto?
A: Easiest method is to look at the inside of the “D” of “GOD” on the scroll above the shield. On the common Large Motto, the inside of the “D” forms a tall rectangle while the Small Motto forms a small square. The Small Motto variety is indeed scarce – much rarer than the catalogs indicate!
Q: Why was the Three Cent Piece changed from silver to nickel?
A: The small size of the silver “trime” was deemed impractical for coinage. The nickel version was much thicker and withstood the rigors of commerce much better.
Q: What Silver Three Cent Pieces have value?
A: All Silver Three Cent Pieces (1851-1873) have some value. Due to their extremely small size and thinness, very few survive today. Most were lost or made into jewelry. Bent and holed pieces are common and severely discounted. Three Cent Silver values will vary widely (between $1.00 and $100 or more) with condition. Typical, common, average circulated Three Cent Silver Pieces are generally worth $10 to $30. In higher grades, all dates command high prices and extreme dealer and collector interest, especially original, uncleaned coins. Beyond the years 1862, the combined mintage figure for Three Cent Silver Pieces is miniscule. These rare, low-mintage coins are highly coveted by collectors and rarely encountered.
Q: What Nickel Three Cent Pieces have value?
A: All Nickel Three Cent Pieces (1865-1889) have some value. The most commonly seen dates are between 1865 and 1876. Beyond the year 1876, the combined mintage figure for Nickel Cent Silver Pieces is very small. These rare, low-mintage coins are highly coveted by collectors and rarely encountered. Three Cent Nickel values will vary widely (between $1.00 and $100 or more) with condition. Typical, common, average circulated Three Cent Nickel Pieces are generally worth $5 to $10. In higher grades, all dates command high prices and extreme dealer and collector interest, especially original, uncleaned coins.
Trivia: What was the first US coin to bear the motto “In God We Trust”?
A: The Two Cent Piece in 1864. Quarter Dollar and higher denominations added the motto in 1866.
Trivia: What was the first nickel alloy coin?
A: Nickel Three Cent Pieces began in 1865. The Shield Nickel was introduced a year later in 1866.
Trivia: All Two Cent and Three Cent Pieces were minted at the Philadelphia Mint except for what coin?
A: The 1851-O Silver Three Cent Piece was minted in New Orleans.
Q: What Washington Quarters have value?
A: All pre-1965 Washington Quarters (1932-1964) are 90% silver, so most circulated examples are worth $1.00 to $1.25 each for their intrinsic silver content. There are no circulated Washington Quarters minted 1941-1964 worth more than silver unless they are uncirculated or very nearly uncirculated. For dates prior to 1941, the 1932-D and 1932-S stand out as the “key dates” of the series. In higher grades, all of the earlier dates command high prices and extreme dealer and collector interest. Many of the D and S mint dates in the 1930’s are worth over $100 each in original, uncleaned uncirculated condition.
Q: Are there any clad Washington Quarters worth premiums?
A: Dealers would have interest in original uncirculated rolls of Washington Quarters particularly 1982-P, 1982-D, 1983-P, 1983-D and several others as well. Check with a dealer before simply taking those uncirculated rolls of quarters down to the bank! You may be glad that you did!
Q: Are 1776-1976 Bicentennial Quarters worth premiums?
A: In circulated condition they are simply spending money, worth face value only. Even original uncirculated rolls are worth only a modest premium over the $10 face value. If you look at a coin catalog, you’ll notice that there were no quarters dated 1975. This is because the 1776-1976 Bicentennial Quarter was issued for two years – which accounts for it being so common.
Trivia: Why was the Washington Quarter design started in 1932?
A: To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birth.