Top 10 Coins Every Beginner Should Collect


Top 10 Coins Every Beginner Should Collect

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Starting a coin collection isn’t just about hoarding old metal—it’s about holding a piece of history in your hands. Each coin, from the common wheat penny to the elusive Peace Dollar, carries its own backstory, from the mint where it was made to the economic upheavals it witnessed.

For beginners, the thrill isn’t just in the hunt or the potential value but in piecing together this vast, intricate puzzle of our past. This guide is your gateway into the world of numismatics, where every coin, like the ruthenium coin that you can add to your collection, is a chapter in the grand story of civilization. Ready to begin your adventure?

Here are ten coins that offer the perfect mix of history, beauty, and accessibility for any new collector.

1. Wheat Pennies (1909-1958)


Wheat pennies, officially known as Lincoln Wheat Ear cents, offer an accessible entry point for new collectors. Produced from 1909 until 1958, these pennies feature two wheat stalks on the reverse and the profile of Abraham Lincoln on the obverse. What makes them particularly appealing to beginners is their affordability and the variations among them, such as the 1909-S VDB, which is highly prized due to its low mintage.

1909-S VDB ─ One of the most famous and sought-after wheat pennies, the 1909-S VDB can fetch up to $5,000 in uncirculated (MS-63) condition. Its rarity is due to its low mintage of just 484,000 coins, making it a prize find for collectors.

2. Buffalo Nickels (1913-1938)


The Buffalo Nickel presents another historical coin that beginner collectors find captivating. It showcases an Indigenous American on the front and a buffalo on the back. These coins tell a rich story of America’s past, and finding coins with legible dates can be a fun challenge, as the date often wears off.

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1913-S Type 2 ─ This variant is particularly valuable due to its very low mintage and the fact that it represents a transitional design. In top conditions, it can be valued at over $10,000.

3. Morgan Silver Dollars (1878-1921)


Morgan Silver Dollars are large, silver coins that shimmer with history and grandeur. They were minted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Collectors appreciate these coins for their beauty and the stories they carry, encompassing major events like the Silver Rush and World War I. While some Morgan Dollars can be pricey, many are affordable and make a splendid addition to any beginner’s collection.

1893-S ─ Known as the “King of the Morgan Dollars,” this coin is the rarest in the Morgan silver dollar series. With only 100,000 originally minted, its value can exceed $300,000 in extremely fine condition.

4. Roosevelt Dimes (1946-present)


Named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt, these dimes began minting shortly after his death in 1945. They are plentiful in circulation and are made of a copper-nickel blend, making them less costly for collectors. Special attention is often given to older, silver versions minted before 1965, which contain a mix of 90% silver.

1949-S ─ This coin is one of the key rarities in the Roosevelt dime series, especially in high grades. A perfectly preserved 1949-S dime can be valued around $2,000.

5. Washington Quarters (1932-present)


Starting a collection of Washington Quarters can be quite fulfilling. Introduced in 1932, these quarters have undergone several changes, notably in 1965 when the composition shifted from silver to copper-nickel. The State Quarters series, launched in 1999, offers a variety of designs representing each U.S. state, appealing to collectors who enjoy thematic collections.

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1932-S ─ One of the rarest in the Washington quarter series, this coin has a low mintage of only 408,000. Its value can approach $2,000 in uncirculated condition.

6. Kennedy Half Dollars (1964-present)


Kennedy Half Dollars were issued following President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 as a tribute. These coins, especially the ones from 1964 which consist of 90% silver, hold significant sentimental value and historical significance, making them a popular choice among new collectors.

1964 Proof ─ Featuring 90% silver content and struck in the first year of issue, the 1964 proof Kennedy half dollars can command prices over $1,000 in pristine condition due to their historical significance and higher silver quality.

7. Peace Dollars (1921-1935)


The Peace Dollar, minted to commemorate the peace following World War I, is an exquisite coin that resonates with collectors due to its message and its Art Deco design. While some early editions are more expensive, many from the mid-1920s and beyond are accessible for beginners.

1928 ─ The Peace Dollar from 1928 is the rarest in the series with a relatively low mintage of 360,649. In high-grade condition, its value can easily surpass $5,000.

8. British Pennies (Early 20th century)


Venturing into coins from outside the U.S., British Pennies from the early 20th century are an excellent choice. These coins are large, made from bronze, and often still affordable. They feature Britannia on the reverse and various monarchs on the obverse, providing a diverse and rich historical tapestry.

1933 ─ This year saw an extraordinarily low mintage of only seven coins, making it one of the rarest British coins. While not typically available for sale, its estimated value would likely be in the hundreds of thousands of pounds if one were to appear at auction.

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9. Canadian Maple Leaf Coins


For those interested in modern bullion, Canadian Maple Leaf coins are perfect. Available in gold, silver, and platinum, these coins are known for their purity and are minted by the Royal Canadian Mint. They are a great way for beginners to explore bullion coins while also learning about market dynamics.

2007 ─ 100-Kilogram Gold Maple Leaf ─ While not a typical collectible due to its size and value, this coin was produced with a face value of $1 million and a purity of 99.999%. Its market value is significantly higher due to the gold content and rarity.

10. Euro Coins


For beginners interested in a more global collection, Euro coins offer a fascinating avenue. Since their introduction in 2002, Euro coins have featured standardized designs on one side and country-specific designs on the other, reflecting the culture and history of each nation in the Eurozone.

2002 Finnish 2 Euro ─ A rare printing error and a limited issue make this coin particularly valuable among Euro coins. It can fetch up to €2,000 in the collector’s market.

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