Collecting American Coins

By: mack4232
Coin collecting is exciting, and collecting American coins is a simple and interesting hobby if you reside in the United States. There are some truly intriguing coins of most denominations.

Pennies

The Lincoln head penny is perhaps the most collected American coin. They have been minted since 1909. During WWII numerous Lincoln head pennies were made out of zinc instead of copper. A few were made of copper in 1943, and these are infrequent and valuable American coins.

Before the Lincoln penny was minted, pennies had an Indian head on them. Indian head pennies are an extremely infrequent American coin.

Nickels

From 1883 to 1913, nickels had a portrait of the goddess Liberty on them. Interestingly, the 1913 liberty nickel is an exceptionally infrequent American coin. Just five copies were made, and a mint staff member made them illegally after hours.

The ideal collector's American coin is the buffalo nickel. It has a buffalo on one side and an Indian head on the opposite.

Since 1938, the nickel has had President Jefferson's portrait on it. In 2004, the mint started a "Westward Journey" series of nickels to honour Lewis and Clark's journey. They've tweaked Jefferson's portrait and the coins have distinct historical themes on the reverse, so the Westward Journey nickels are designed to be collectible coins.

Dimes

Dimes are certainly the most boring American coin. The design of dimes hasn't changed since 1945, the year after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died. He suffered from polio and supported the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes helps people with birth defects now, but in Roosevelt's era it also helped children who had polio. Franklin's portrait has remained on our dimes since his death to honour his support of the March of Dimes. Dimes are a boring coin, but that is a great American coin story.

Quarters

Our favorite American coin, the quarter, had the Statue of Liberty on it until 1930. She was replaced by George Washington. Since 1999, the mint has been releasing the absolute collectible US State quarters, an American coin series that will be completed in 2008.

Half Dollars and Dollars

Half dollars used to be common, until 1964 they had Ben Franklin on one side and the Liberty Bell on the other. In 1964, President Kennedy's portrait went on the half dollar. People hoarded them and they became a treasured American coin, both because Kennedy was admired, and because the 1964 silver dollar was to be the last "genuine" silver dollar. Because so many people collected 1964 Kennedy half-dollars, the mint released more of them than any other half dollar. Congress even froze the date, and 1964 half dollars were minted in 1965, too.

Silver dollars are scarce now, but the Susan B. Anthony silver dollar is an exciting American coin. Minted from 1979-1981, it is the sole American coin with a woman's portrait on it.
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