How To Know The Value of Your Coins

Ever wonder if that 1897 silver dollar Uncle Joe gave you was worth anything? Who knows, maybe that trip to Hawaii you’ve been yearning for is simply sitting in an old box doing nothing (or perhaps it would pay off the debt you racked up this holiday.) How are you supposed to know if a coin has any worth above face value? Money blog Consumerism Commentary tells us that four simple factors determine the value of a coin including:

  • Condition
  • Rarity
  • Bullion value
  • Demand
  • He also points to a book and a website that can help determine the value of coins. So dig out those old coins as see if they have any significant value. Doing so could be an easy way to earn some extra cash. Aloha.

    Four Factors That Determine the Value of a Coin [Consumerism Commentary]

    (Photo: Maulleigh)


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    1. For those of you who used to collect and read comics, you might remember this famous Rare coin ad:

    2. Murph1908 says:

      I found a wheat penny in my pocket of change recently. My mom was fanatical about not rolling those up in the wrappers in the 70’s. I have several dozen in a jar somewhere in my boxes of junk. Though that statement right there kills the ‘rarity’ point.

    3. faust1200 says:

      @Murph1908: If you have a 1943 copper penny it is worth a lot. Most were made from steel that year.

    4. gitemstevedave says:

      Does anyone know where I could cash in all of the Canadian coins I have been collecting, now that they are worth more than US coins?

    5. Dibbler says:

      @Murph1908: Funny thing is…those pennies are worth more if you melt them down since the copper in the old coins is worth more than a penny by quite a bit. You won’t get rich but you’d get more than a penny. :)

    6. Dibbler says:

      @gitemstevedave: I’m pretty sure you just go to the bank. They will charge a fee but I don’t think it’s too bad…something like 4% or around that amount.

    7. lincolnparadox says:

      @gitemstevedave: I’m assuming that you don’t live close to Canada? You could try calling AAA and finding a currency exchange nearby.

      If you are close to Canada, most US border malls and outlets have a fair currency exchange place.

    8. GitEmSteveDave says:

      @Dibbler: actually, since they only produced a few 1943 pennies, around 40 still exist, they sell now for around $80,000.


      And all pennies prior to 1982 are copper except for the “steelies”. The “Zincies”, which went into circulation after 1982 are terrible. I do rolled penny collecting, and pure copper pennies are the best.

    9. TechnoDestructo says:

      For those of you who used to collect and read comics, you might remember what happens when people who aren’t really interested in a collectible start getting interested in the value of collectibles.

    10. Coelacanth says:

      If you’re ever curious to know the value of your collectable coins, a good starting place would be to visit – The Professional Coin Grading Service. The caveat is that you have to know something about the condition of your piece, which may be complicated for newcomers to guess. Additionally, their prices tend to be quoted on the high side. Some people suggest taking 80% of the price quoted for your particular coin.

      Nonetheless, it’s a great starting point to figure out what’s valuable, and what’s worth tossing.

    11. semanticantics says:

      Got a 1913 nickel laying around?

    12. Snakeophelia says:

      One of the coolest things about buying an old home is the stuff you find tucked away where previous owners forgot about it. Under our bedroom radiator, we found an old cloth coin purse stuffed to bursting with coins from 1965 – 1972. Our house has had at least three other owners since then, so it’s coole that we found it instead. Not sure if I want to play Amelie and try to track down the owner or just keep it around as a conversation piece/nest egg.

    13. GitEmSteveDave says:

      @Snakeophelia: According to this, at best they should offer you 10% of the find.


    14. jeffs3rd says:

      I have always thought coin collecting was kinda neat, but when I worked at a bank for about 2 years it really got my excitement level up. I have some cool, but not really rare, coins. Mainly 1/2 dollars and wheat pennies.

      You’d be surprised what people will turn in that they didn’t even know they had.

    15. forgottenpassword says:

      Or just find a metal detecting forum, post pics of the coin there & ask someone to grade it. Md’ing folks are quite cordial & love to help out (at least online that is). Have several of the posters grade it to get an more accurate reading.

      That’s if you have a few old coins.

      If you have a bunch of them, then buy a CURRENT coin-grading book & grade them yourself (not hard to do).

      Odds are you have common coins that arent worth more than a couple of bucks each at most, but ya never know. *shrug*

      Here is a short list of “key date” coins … []

    16. forgottenpassword says:

      also…. dont expect a coin dealer to give you a fair price. Just sayin’…

    17. Coelacanth says:

      eBay’s been an excellent forum to buy and sell collectable coins, especially if they’re certified.

    18. chickymama says:

      good info…i have an 1888 silver dollar. you can still make out all inscriptions on it.

    19. North of 49 says:

      send them to a friend in Canada. Except the ones before 1968. Those ones are made from real silver.

    20. TangDrinker says:

      Any suggestions as to how I can get my 75 y.o. father in law to get his coins evaluated and sold off NOW instead of having to deal with it once he’s gone? During Xmas, he mentioned that he listed where all the combos to the safes and locations of his other “stashes” of coins are held – in their trailer in Florida. I think we’ll be hitting the jack pot in state quarters and pennies from the 1980s and “Franklin Mint” minted coins pretty soon.

      The franklin mint should be burned to the ground, but that’s another story.

    21. Thaddeus says:

      I come from a large family of numismatists. I collect for fun. I’m big on wheat pennies and 76 quarters.

      I use half-dollars when ever I can (along with $2 bills) simply for the entertainment value of clerks looking where to put the cash.

      Pre-1965 U.S. coins are mostly precious metal. 1965 the U.S. Mint started issuing copper-clad coins to cut their loss on the silver. It’s a shame because the older coins, pre-1982 pennies and early 60’s quarters, for example, have a much more ‘singing’ sound when flipped.

    22. Jesse in Japan says:

      Keep in mind that a single, deep scratch in the surface of a coin can reduce it’s value to its weight in metal unless it’s one of those extremely rare coins where the number in existence can be expressed in less than five digits.

    23. ManiacDan says:

      Another great way to figure out your coin’s value is to check historical listings on the main coin auction sites. Heritage Auctions ( is the largest coin auction house as far as I know. Also, the site has been helpful to me in finding historical trends on coins (and anything else that’s usually auctioned).