Remember when somebody won a treasure chest full of pirate booty at a storage auction? That was truly a rare find. It’s unlikely you’ll stumble upon a valuable coin collection, though it’s possible — people have been known to abandon valuable items. Even if you don’t find a cinematic treasure chest, there might be some change lying around, or some bills forgotten in an old coat pocket: score!
Whether you’re gazing over a surely valuable storage unit coin collection, or wondering about a strange penny in your junk drawer, The Fun Times Guide blog contains a wealth (see what we did there?) of information about rare coins.
Here are some basic tips to keep in mind:
- Old is Not Gold: Just because the date on the coin harks back to a time before you were born doesn’t mean the coin is rare or valuable. Most coins in circulation are worth their face value.
- Value Scale: Those wheat pennies from the early to mid 20th century are worth more than a cent, but aside from some rare exceptions, not by much. Some silver dollars are worth $15-20. So, you might not be able to retire on it, but I’d trade a buck for $20 or a penny for a dime any day.
- Two-headed coins are magic tricks, not U.S. Mint errors.
- Shiny pennies might be nicer to look at, but the grime on old coins might not actually be grime. Collectors refer to the dull coloration as patina, and they rather like to keep it as is. Plus, cleaning coins damages them and reduces their value.
- Those 50 State Quarters released between 1999-2008 have some rare variations, but for the most part a complete collection is worth $12.50 (so, 50 quarters).
- The 1976 bicentennial quarter is fun to find, but most are worth face value. The exceptions are coins in excellent condition, which can fetch a few bucks, and collector’s editions you won’t find in circulation.
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