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Rare Coins and Collectible Coins

What's my coin worth? The coin value depends on many factors including mintage, condition and scarcity. To begin researching your old US coin's value, look at the large APMEX inventory. With their wide array of coins and focus on education, you will be able to get an idea of your old coin's value.

Coin Collecting

The history of rare coins and currency is equally vast and important. Monetary and currency changes have seen major world events including the Civil War, both World Wars and the turn of the 20th century, to name a few. These rare collectible coins and rare currency items hold high numismatic value because they transcend time and were, in many cases, the first of their kind in a certain era. Currency and coins hold a special place in history, and they are a highly valued collectible item for any rare coin collection and investment. Ancient coins give us a good baseline to understand the historical narrative of coinage. Coin collecting is a hobby taken up by people of all ages. Some people collect coins to experience history, while others collect to complete a collection that was started long ago. No matter the reason coin collecting can be a highly rewarding experience that offers participants a unique look at coins and currency. With a plethora of items to choose from, the novice and experienced collector will find great options to fit their curiosity and budget.

Collectible Coin Sales

Coins have been used as a source of commerce and power dating back to the time of the Roman reign. Ancient coins from this time give us a direct link to the past with one of the first currency pieces the earth has seen. Often struck in Gold or Silver, these rare and ancient coins were among the first to be used in terms of commerce and trade. These ancient numismatic coins bore the likeness of kings and leaders including Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. Many of these ancient rare coins were used until the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453.

What are Coin Values?

Whether you are new to Precious Metals or an experienced coin buyer or even collector, knowing the value of your coins is at the utmost importance, especially when buying online. As time goes on, the value of your Gold and Silver coins will change; that is why APMEX provides up-to-date information regarding your coin portfolio. Visit the coin values education pages to learn more about the value of your coins purchased online from APMEX.

Value of Older Coins

Coinage throughout history changed drastically with the start of new colonies, empires and countries. When the 13 colonies of the United States were established, rare coins and currency took on a whole new look. American currency has seen varying time periods of numismatic history that hold both significance and numismatic coin values. Below you will find more information about the different ages in which many different rare coins were created:
  • Ancient Greek Coins (700 B.C.-A.D. 300)
  • Roman Republic and Roman Empire Ancient Coins (280 B.C.-A.D. 491)
  • Medieval Collectible Coins (500-1500)
  • Early Colonial Coins and Rare Coins (1792-1858)
  • Civil War and the Rise of Large and Small Currency (1861-1865)
  • The Golden Age of Collectible Coins and Currency (1866-1933)
  • Pre-1933 Gold (1795-1933)

Ancient Greek Coins (700 B.C.-A.D. 300)

Most Greek Ancient Coins that have been found generally span a period of about 900 years, from about 550 B.C. to A.D 300. The last three centuries, however, were secondary or local ancient coins of the eastern Roman Empire. The first of these ancient rare coins to be struck in European Greece were thought to have been created in Aegina around 550 B.C. From there, the coins spread to Athens and Corinth.
Ancient Greek coinage was not limited to present-day Greece. Some of the most artful coins were minted by Greek colonies in Sicily and southern Italy before Rome was little more than a city-state. Other Ancient Greek coins were struck by Alexander the Great and his successors from mints ranging from India to as far as Egypt. Ancient Greek rare coins give the ancient coin collector the opportunity of possessing some truly beautiful numismatic creations in their rare coin collection.

Roman Republic and Roman Empire Ancient Coins (280 B.C.-A.D. 476)

Roman coinage can be divided into two parts: The Roman Republic of 225-27 B.C. and The Roman Empire of 27 B.C.-A.D. 476. The pre-Denarius collectible Silver coins, struck from 280 B.C. to 211 B.C., were called Didrachms and were the first of the Ancient Roman Silver coins. The Coin Reform of 211 B.C. made the Denarius the main Silver coin and the Aes the primary bronze coin.

Coins of the Roman Empire

The coins of the Roman Empire began with the first Emperor Augustus on the obverse in 41 B.C., with the primary coins being the Silver Denarius and the bronze Aes. These splendid old coins were debased over the years and in A.D. 215 the double Denarius, named the Antoninianus, was issued. Collectible ancient coins of the Roman Empire usually have the portrait of the emperor or the empress on the obverse, while the reverse depicts a religious god, goddess or military theme. A great way to collect Roman Imperial coins is by the portrait of the famous emperors. Most fourth-century Roman coins are very inexpensive, so this is a good place to start your Ancient Roman coin collection.

Medieval Collectible Coins (500-1500)

Medieval coinage had a time span of more than 1,000 years. It started with the fall of the Roman Empire in the West, giving rise to some of the nations of Europe that exist today, to the beginning of machine-made coins in the 16th and 17th centuries. The average life expectancy around this time was about 30 years and the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) subtracted one-third of the population of Europe.

Medieval Coins For Sale

Generally, Medieval Coins, so-called "hammered coins", were hand-struck on thin Silver planchets. They cover the coinage of Anglo-Saxon England, Feudal France, the Holy Roman Empire and the Crusades, to name a few. These rare coins may appear crude and hard to read, but they are the coins of castles and honorable knights.

Early Colonial and Rare Vintage Coins (1792-1858)

When the United States Mint was established in Philadelphia in 1792, it produced early United States coins for the original colonies to conduct commerce. With the early colonial rarest coins circulating for several generations, collecting old U.S. coins became popular during the 1850s. All denominations, including rare pennies, rare nickels and rare dimes, were included with this. Stores of Precious Metals for coin production were at a minimum because exploration of the country was an ongoing process. The designs of the coins were simple and basic, and engraving technology improved over time. These rare coins are highly collectible because of their unique place in history. Being one of the first currency types available, colonial and early coins add numismatic value to any coin collection. The evolution of these collectible coins plays an important role to rare U.S. coins because the designs and the metal content constantly shifted over several generations. Various denominations were struck and minted, including rare dimes and rare quarters. Buyers can improve their coin collection with these denominations and more. The Civil War then came to pass and currency took on a new look and a brief redirection of priorities.

Civil War and the Rise of Currency (1861-1865)

As the Civil War raged across the nation, all U.S. coins were in short supply. Precious Metals like Silver and Gold were either being hoarded or the mining and production of the metals were limited. The government remedied the situation by printing paper currency to replace actual coins. While coins were still used, paper currency was cheaper to produce and extended to both the North and South. Like their metallic counterparts, our early bank notes, or FRNs, were miniature works of art and beautifully engraved. Even though the Civil War lasted four years, the nation saw a drastic shift in terms of currency usage. There was a balance of numismatic coins and paper currency during and after the Civil War for everyone to use in terms of commerce or trade. Novice and experienced collectors now enjoy having a number of rare coins and currency on hand. After a brief layoff of new coin designs and production, there came vigor from the American public to innovate coin and currency designs.

The Golden Age of Collectible US Coins and Currency (1866-1933)

When Teddy Roosevelt became president in the early 1900s, he was determined to elevate the artistry of our old U.S. coins. Sculptors such as Augustus Saint-Gaudens and James Earle Fraser created truly timeless designs that make these highly desirable collectible coins. Many Gold coins and Silver coins struck from the early 1800s to the early 1930s ended up being rare coins for varying reasons including limited mintages, grade, grading population and being short-lived designs. There were many designs and commemorative sets, making these sets both highly collectible coin sets and valuable coin sets. Today, these rare coins have become collectible coins and are coveted by investors all over the world. The apex of our rare coinage artistry was captured in the Walking Liberty Half Dollars, Mercury Dimes, Standing Liberty Quarters, Morgan Silver Dollars, Peace Silver Dollars and Saint-Gaudens $20.00 Gold U.S. coin designs. Found within this artistry are rare pennies, rare nickels, rare dimes and more. U.S. coinage began developing more numismatic value as currency became an increasingly important part of everyday life including commerce, economic stimulus and investing. Coins during this Golden Age are popular with rare coin collectors because of the selection available to them. Many denominations from rare nickels to rare Silver Dollars were prominent in this age and continue to be valuable today. Some of these valuable coins have a limited mintage and are more rare than others. Priorities once again shifted as the Great Depression and post-World War I came into existence. The Great Depression was one of the most devastating financial downturns in the history of the United States. 1933 was a defining year for all who carried Gold coins, and was truly a prominent timestamp for all old rare coin value collectors.

Pre-1933 Gold Coin Collecting (1795-1933)

Pre-1933 Gold is a highly sought-after collectible US coins. In the height of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt prohibited American citizens from holding monetary Gold, requiring the public to return Gold to the U.S. Treasury so it could be melted down to create Gold bars. This monumental act created highly valuable Gold coins for today's investors. The surviving Gold coins hold a unique place in history because it was an unprecedented act that saw a small percentage of Gold coins non-perished, some still in perfect condition. This rare Gold offers a unique perspective on any collection. While it looks good in any numismatic collection, investors can also hold history in the palm of their hands. The surviving rare coins have several denominations and designs, providing options for all investors and collectors.

Buy Collector Coins and Rare Coins from APMEX Today

APMEX’s selections of numismatic rare coins and currency are vast, comprised of bank notes and rare coins from various times and places throughout history, including everything from Colonial Notes and Continental Coins, to Confederate Currency and 20 Cent Pieces. There are great selections available for people of all interest levels. Whether interests lie with rare coins such as rare pennies and rare Silver dollars, ancient coins, or even small and large currency, there is an item perfect for any numismatic collection. Buyers can enhance the value of their coin collections with recently added collectible and rare coins. At APMEX, there is a large selection of rare coins and currency that has high numismatic value. Collecting rare coins and currency has never been as easy, and we make buying collectible rare coins even easier.

Rare Coin Collecting

Rare coin collecting is the purposeful accumulation of minted legal tender. The coins on these pages will complement any coin collection or works as a base to start one. This differs slightly from numismatics in that numismatists closely study all currency. There is a great deal of overlap in these hobbies, although they are distinct pursuits. Humans have hoarded coins ever since coins came into existence, but coin collecting as the leisure pursuit we know and enjoy dates to the 14th Century. Because only the wealthy could seriously collect coins, coin collecting became known as “the hobby of kings.” The development of the middle classes allowed more and more people to pursue an interest in coins. Greater discretionary income and leisure hours caused a boom in coin collecting as a pastime. The interest in coins expanded beyond the ancient and antique to include foreign or exotic currency. Collecting coins is one of the oldest hobbies, and has become one of the most popular. What was once the hobby of kings is now often called “the king of hobbies."

Collecting Coins Online

Coin collecting takes on many different forms, depending on the desires and motivations of the person doing the collecting. There are casual collectors who simply hold on to coins that catch their fancy or that remain in their pockets after international travel. There are people who inherit major collections and consider themselves stewards of history. There are specialists who carefully pursue coins of a specific era or from a particular country. There are also those who go into coin collecting in hopes of developing a fascinating hobby with an eventual monetary benefit. It is certainly possible that a fine coin collection will grow into a fair investment with a good potential return. Whatever the reason or impetus for coin collecting, it is a hobby open to everyone. Coins capture the imagination in a way few everyday items can, and few hobbies offer the joy and satisfaction coin collecting can.

Which are the most valuable coins?

The most valuable coin is likely the 1794 Flowing Hair dollar that sold in 2013 for over $10 million. However, there are many coins worth more than their face value. Valuable coins may have melt value due to their metal content, or collectible value due to factors such as their mintage, condition or scarcity. Some examples of rare Gold and Silver coins would be:
To shop our selection of Collectible Coins for sale, Rare Coins, and U.S. Currency, click on the image representing the Numismatic Coin or U.S. Currency of your interest.
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