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Tips for Finding the Value of Your Coins

June 17th, 2013 Coins

With so many rare and collectable coins still in circulation, it can be easy not to notice when a truly remarkable rarity crosses your palm. Certain rare coins can be hard to spot simply because they look so much like the ones in common circulation today, or because the small flaws that give them their value are incredibly minute and hard to spot. While circulated coins are generally worth much less than uncirculated ones, they're still rarities of unexpected value. This guide will show you what to expect from each variety of coin.

Silver dollars
Even with silver dollars back in mint, they're still somewhat of a rarity. Most silver dollars of great worth today were printed in the late 1800s, according to CoinTrackers.com. Some of these coins can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars if they're in mint condition. It was common to make silver dollars and other coins out of pure ores in the time that these now-valuable coins were minted. As a result, many of these coins were melted down for their silver, which is what makes a coin like the 1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar worth so much: While there were 100,000 minted, many of those are now gone.

Half dollars
Like many coins, these have a fluctuating value year by year. However, few coins range as much as half dollars, according to CoinStudy.com. For instance, the current value of the Barber Half Dollar coin fluctuates from $100 to less than $1 in the years between 1912 and 1915. The most valuable of these coins feature Lady Liberty, and the image of her walking is more valuable than the one of her sitting.

Quarters
While many rare quarters aren't as rare as silver dollars and other coins, they can still be very valuable to collectors. Like half dollars, quarters featuring Lady Liberty are very valuable, as well as the classic Washington quarters if they're of a certain age. Many series of quarters have run for decades, so it's especially important for the coins to be of a fine or uncirculated quality. Having certain mint marks, especially the "S," is also a great way to boost their value.

Dimes
While Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been on every dime minted since 1954, according the United States Mint, Lady Liberty also made appearances in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of these coins are still in the maturing phase, so they haven't come close to their potential peak value. However, certain Mercury dimes featuring Lady Liberty can be worth tens of thousands of dollars if they're in the right condition.

Nickels
The most valuable American coin of all time is the 1913 Liberty Head V Nickel. Don't expect to find this one in your change, though - there were only five minted. While these are extraordinarily valuable, other coins, like certain mints of the Buffalo nickel featuring a bust of a Native American on the face and a wild buffalo on the reverse, are still fairly common, and certain years and prints, like the 1910 "S," may be worth a good deal.

Pennies
These coins were minted in such great abundance that they often don't reach the sky-high prices of other coins, but they're easier to find because of it. Certain "S" prints from the early 1900s can be worth a good amount. As with all coins, finding extremely old prints in good condition is always best.

Half dimes, 3-cent pennies, half pennies and more
If you come across any coin that's of a denomination no longer in circulation at all, it's most likely going to be worth something no matter what shape it's in. Finding these coins uncirculated is extremely rare and their value is only appreciating.