Do You Know What You Have in Your Coin Collection?

Coin collections are a popular heirloom to be passed from generation to generation. Collecting coins can be a fun hobby, a way of collecting wealth, and a meaningful and valuable heirloom that you can leave behind.

Many coin collectors enter the hobby with the intention of passing along their collection as a store of wealth to the next generation. Selling a coin collection can be a significant boon to your finances, whether that means freeing up the finances to pay off a debt or contributing to a down payment or education fund.

Before you sell your silver coins, it helps if you know what you have in your collection and what it might be worth. Let’s take a look at the kinds of coins you’re likely to find in a collection.

Junk Silver

Junk silver refers to old circulation coins from an era when silver was still used in them. These include old quarters, dimes, half-dollars, and dollars. The end date of silver use in these coins depends entirely on the country minting them.

In the U.S., they stopped using silver in circulation coins in 1965. The last year Canadian coins contained real silver was 1967. In the U.K., the Royal Mint replaced Sterling silver with a silver-coloured alloy of copper and nickel in 1947.

Commemorative Coins

Commemorative coins are often released by mints to celebrate a historical event or a national symbol. For example, a mint may release a series of silver or even gold coins that celebrate nationally-significant wildlife. They may also sell series that feature pop culture icons like superheroes or Disney characters.

These commemorative coins are usually released in large batches and do not have any particular value as collectibles. However, they do typically have a high silver purity and derive their value from that. You should be able to look most of these up online to confirm their composition, the artist of the design, and other details.

Silver Bullion

Bullion silver refers to coins that are 99.9% pure silver (or higher). These products are valuable for their precious metals content, and they are also very easy to sell to a bullion dealer. They can easily be resold and are frequently used as investments. A bullion coin is a great find in any collection.

Coin Collection Hobby

Rare and Valuable Coins

Numismatics is the study of coins, and today it often refers to the collection of rare coins. These are hard-to-find, valuable coins that are sought after by collectors. They can’t be purchased on-demand from a coin dealer or mint and usually take some searching to find.
Rare coins are often coins that have some kind of unique quality or even a minting mistake that makes them stand out from the rest. Some of the most expensive are extremely rare historical coins, where very few have survived.

Don’t hold your breath expecting to find any of these in your coin collection unless you know the collection is a serious one, i.e., it’s been appraised and has a special insurance policy. Nevertheless, it’s worth researching the coins you find in your collection, just in case.

A coin collection can be a great source of extra money if you have a clear goal for it. Find out what you have before you sell to make sure you get the best value.


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