Fascinating Facts About the Oldest Coins in Existence
America's love affair with coins started back in 1792 when the first U.S. Mint was established by the government in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since that time, a wide variety of coins have circulated throughout the country including pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and even some denominations that are not as familiar in modern times. Half-dollar and dollar coins are rarely seen outside of a collector's group, and half-cent, two-cent and three-cent pieces haven't been produced since the late 1800s. Learn more fascinating facts about some of the oldest coins in existence.
Guide to U.S. Coinage
Did you know that there was once a 20-cent piece that was only made from 1875 until 1878? This short-lived alternative to the quarter is popular with collectors but difficult to find in collections. The smallest denomination ever made is the half-cent or halfpenny, which was first minted in 1793 and continued until 1857. While this was the only half-cent coin ever created by the U.S. government, there were a variety of different pennies made during the same time frame including Large cents, Flying Eagle cents, Indian cents and Lincoln cents. Two, three and five-cent coins came into existence in the mid-1800s and were more likely to be made of silver and eventually a copper/nickel alloy. Larger denominations began to show up with the quarter, half-dollar and dollars right around the turn of the century.
The First U.S. Penny
Coin collectors know that an older coin is often worth much more than the face value, but few people realize exactly how much more a truly old coin can be worth! The first U.S. penny ever made is thought to be the "Birch Cent" and there are only ten of these pennies known in existence. One of this first edition recently sold at auction for $1.2 million, was minted in 1792 and depicts Lady Liberty on the face.
Top 10 Coins of All Time
Numismatists enjoy debating the best coins of all time, so this list may not match your personal beliefs. However, some of these options are among the rarest, popular or broadly-accepted coins of all time, as reported by Ed Reiter of PCGS.com:
- 1804 Silver Dollar
- 1913 Liberty Head Nickel
- 1907 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle
- 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent
- 1943 bronze Lincoln Cent
- 1873-CC no-arrows Liberty Seated Dime
- 1849 Coronet Double Eagle
- Brasher Doubloon
- 1870-S Three-Dollar Gold Piece
- 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle
If you enjoyed learning more about the history and age of the coins in your pocket, come visit the experts at Roswell Gold, Silver & Coins at our Roswell, Georgia location. Our friendly professionals can help you determine the value of your coins or assist in purchasing gold, coins or even bars and rounds. We always offer a free verbal opinion of the value of your coins. Call us today at 770-241-3297 to learn more!