Coin Collecting – The Top 10 List
By Michael Russell
Coin collecting. An associate of mine remembers receiving as a child a big paper bag of old US silver dollars, some going back as far as the late 1890s. Sometime between then and today he has misplaced that old paper bag. To this day he wonders if any of those coins might have been worth something.
There is no arguing that coin collecting is one of the biggest and most expensive hobbies in the world. The price tags of some old coins would turn your hair grey. In this article we’re going to review the 10 most rare coins in existence. Wait until you see what some of these are going for.
Starting at number 10, there are the “proof gold” coins. Today the mint strikes millions of these coins every year and sells them to collectors from all over the world. However in the 19th century the mint struck only a few thousand of these each year and only a handful of proof gold coins. These are very rare and very expensive and sell very well in good and bad market times.
At number 9 we have early US gold coins struck between 1795 and 1834. These were minted in denominations of $2.50 $5 and $10. Today these coins are very rare in any condition and super rare in mint condition.
Coming in at number 8 we have the Liberty Seated Dollars. These coins are said to be the most beautiful ever made and one of the rarest of the 19th century coins. Both circulation strikes and proofs are very rare.
Hitting the chart at number 7 we have a very odd coin that was minted between 1875 and 1878. These were twenty cent pieces. Unfortunately the coin looked too much like a quarter to catch on with the public and there was no real commercial need for the denomination. Today they are highly prized collectors items. These coins today are very rare in top condition.
Number 6 on the coin hit parade are the Barber half dollars. These were minted between 1892 and 1915. They are one of the coin markets most important issues. They are collected by both “date” and “type” collectors and are the rarest of the 20th century silver type issues. These are very rare coins and to find one in gem condition is a once in a lifetime occurrence.
Midway up the chart at number 5 is the 1917 Type One Standing Liberty Quarter. This coin was made for only 2 years. The exposed breast of Miss Liberty caused such a commotion that they had to radically change the design midway through 1917. Since the 1916 is a 5 figure rarity (in the 10’s of thousands of dollars) this coin is essentially a one year issue.
At number 4 are the Mercury Dimes. Even though this dime was minted between 1916 and 1945 proofs were made only between 1936 and 1942. Mercury dimes minted between 1940 and 1945 are actually reasonably priced and sell for about $50 a piece. The proofs are a little more expensive.
Just 2 spots from the top at number 3 is the Walking Liberty half dollar. This is also one of the world’s most beautiful coins and extremely popular with coin buyers. These coins are very hard to find in mint condition. All five of the issues between 1941 and 1945 have made the all time rare coins price list.
Falling just short of number 1 at number 2 is the Texas Commemorative Half Dollar. This is actually the number 1 commemorative coin on the all time rare coins price list. Between 1934 and 1938 about 150,000 of these coins were minted. Only about 60 to 80% of those have survived to this day and only 50% of those grade MS65 or better. So this is indeed not only an extremely rare coin but actually considered scarce.
Finally coming in at number 1 is the Saint Gaudens. This $20 piece is probably the world’s most well known coin. It is one of the most beautiful coin designs in history. This is one of the few coins that didn’t drop in price during the 1980-1982 bear market.
In a future article we’ll cover how coin collectors go about getting rare coins and where they can be found both on and off line.
Your Independent guide to Coin Collecting
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