23 Old Coins Worth Money – From Hundreds to Millions

I’m sure most of us have some old coins from the 40s or 50s. Maybe it’s a penny from 1943, or a quarter from 1964. And while you might think it’s a worthless piece of metal, it can actually be worth a lot of money, even if it’s in a weary state!

And that’s why collectors are ready to pay thousands of dollars for such valuable old coins. So, whether you want to sell your vintage American coins or buy one for your collection, this list of the 23 most valuable coins is your one-stop solution!

Key Takeaways

  • Old coins in Mint State or About Uncirculated condition with low mintage are worth thousands of dollars.
  • Rare coins, like the Lincoln Doubled Die Cent and Buffalo Nickel 3-Legged Coin, are quite valuable because of their unique minting errors. 
  • Antique or vintage coins with authentic certification and grading fetch are quite popular among collectors. 

Special Features to Spot Valuable Old Coins

Old & Rare American Coin Collection

You might be wrong if you thought old coins with high face values were more expensive than the lower ones. These are the features that make old coins precious!

  • Made of expensive materials (like silver, gold, nickel, copper, etc.)
  • Mint condition with 85% of the features visible
  • Certified and graded by a well-known grading service
  • Low mintage or circulation number
  • Uncirculated collection
  • Original minting marks 
  • Unique minting errors in design

List of 13 Valuable Old Coins to Buy/Sell Today!

Here are 13 valuable old coins you can access and own today, with the prices estimated based on recent sales!

1. The Barber Quarter

This coin is called the Barber Quarter because it was named after Charles E. Barber, the United States Bureau of the Mint Chief Engraver. Among dime, quarter, and half-dollar coins, the quarter ones are highly collectible.

Visible Key Features: 

  • A bird with arrows in one leg and a plant in the other
  • A clear beaded border
  • Thirteen embossed stars on the reverse & thirteen stars (around the edge) on the front
Estimated Cost $2,000 – $6,000 
Estimated Cost of Uncirculated & Certified CoinsUp to $12,000+
Manufacturing Year1901
Coin StyleMercury
Denomination25 cents
DesignerCharles E. Barber

2. Lincoln Cent Doubled Die Obverse 

This Lincoln one-cent coin is rare because of its die-doubling error. You can easily spot this coin with double overlapping lettering on the obverse. However, there’s no die doubling on the reverse.

Original Features to Spot:

  • Wide double lettering on the obverse text
  • Die marker on the reverse side
  • Two horizontal lines on the crossbar of the ‘T’ in ‘CENTS’
Estimated Cost $1,500 – $2,500 
Estimated Cost of Uncirculated & Certified CoinsUp to $90,000
Manufacturing Year1955
CoinLincoln Wheat
Denomination1 cent
DesignerVictor David Brenner

3. 1916-D Mercury Dime

This rare early 20th-century coin features the winged Liberty Head. It looked like the Roman God of War, making it as popular as the “Mercury dime!” It belongs to a circulation of only 264,000 minted coins and is also known as the Winged Liberty Head dime!

Key Features to Verify: 

  • Original “D” mint mark with a slant and squarish face
  • No damage or wear around the mint mark
Estimated Cost $600 – $6,000 
Estimated Cost of Uncirculated & Certified Coins Up to $65,000+
Manufacturing Year1916
Coin MaterialSilver
Denomination10 cents
DesignerAdolph Weinman 

4. Standing Liberty Quarter

This coin was issued in 1916 with its original minted design of the Liberty Lady, with an exposing body, holding an olive branch in one hand and a shield in the other.

But within a year, the design was altered, with her upper body being covered with a chainmail coat, making the original design rare!

Original Features: 

  • Uniform beaded border on the obverse
  • Three of the thirteen stars on the reverse are missing (underneath the eagle) in the 1917 version
  • Weak details, such as the lines/beads on the shield (on the obverse)
Estimated Cost $1,000 – $4,500 
Estimated Cost of Uncirculated & Certified CoinsUp to $67,000+
Manufacturing Year1916
Coin StyleStanding Liberty Quarter
Denomination25 cents
DesignerHermon MacNeil

5. Walking Liberty Half Dollar 

You can spot this coin with its unique design of the Liberty Lady walking with branches in her left hand. You’ll also see the United States flag over the lady’s shoulder and the sun on the horizon on the left.

How to Spot Real Coin:

  • Softer details on the obverse (sun rays) & reverse (feathers of the bird)
  • No uneven surface or odd polishing on the coin
  • Proper font and shape of the designer’s Initials on the reverse
  • Original composition of 90% Silver & 10% Copper
Estimated Cost $200 – $2,000
Estimated Cost of Uncirculated & Certified CoinsUp to $17,000+
Manufacturing Year1921
Coin StyleLiberty Walking
Denomination50 cents
DesignerA. A. Weinman

6. VDB 1C Lincoln Cent 

Issued in 1909, this coin was designed by Victor D. (David) Brenner. In its first year of issue, the designer’s initials were carved on the coin. But later on, the marking was given up because of controversies, making it a rare collectible. 

What to Look For: 

  • V. D. B. marking on the lower side of the back
  • E pluribus unum (the US motto) embossed on the top of the front 
Estimated Cost $400 – $1,000 
Estimated Cost of Uncirculated & Certified CoinsUp to $1,500+
Manufacturing Year1909
Denomination1 cent
DesignerVictor David Brenner

7. The 3-Legged Buffalo Nickel Coin

During 1937-38, some Buffalo nickel coins underwent a production error of over-polishing. This caused the buffalo’s leg to be invisible, making it popular as a three-legged Buffalo Nickel coin.

Other Original Features to Spot:

  • No tooling or alteration on Buffalo’s missing leg motif
  • Infirm details on the buffalo’s hind legs
  • The letters ‘P’ and ‘U’ of ‘E. Pluribus Unum’ on the top right don’t touch the Biston (buffalo)
Estimated Cost $500 – $1,500 
Estimated Cost of Uncirculated & Certified CoinsUp to $3,500+
Manufacturing Year1937
Denomination5 cents
DesignerJames Earle Fraser

8. Pre-1933 U.S. Gold Coins

Made of 90% pure gold, the pre-1933 coins are undoubtedly one of the most valuable! These coins can be available in various denominations, with each featuring a unique design with Liberty Lady and mint markings.

Estimated Cost $200 – $5,000
Estimated Cost of Uncirculated & Certified CoinsUp to $40,000+
Manufacturing Year1887
Coin StyleStanding Liberty Quarter

9. The 1877 Indian Cent

Designed by James Barton Longacre during 1859-1909, this 1 cent coin can be identified with its design of Lady Liberty with a Native American war bonnet on her head. It’s also known as Indian Head Penny!

Key Features of Original Coins: 

  • Highly detailed Indian headdress motif
  • Sharp appearance of letters
  • Only 852,500 coins were produced & issued in the year 1877
Estimated Cost $700 – $2,000+
Estimated Cost of Uncirculated & Certified Coins$10,000+
Manufacturing Year1877
Coin StyleIndian Head
Denomination1 cent
DesignerJames Barton Longacre

10. The 1932-D Washington Quarter 

This rare Washington coin has a mintage of 408,000 coins, making it worth a lot! You will see a right-side profile of George Washington on the obverse and an eagle spreading its wings on the reverse side.

Key Features to Verify: 

  • Original Composition of 90% Silver & 10% Copper
  • Mintmark beneath the eagle on the reverse side
Estimated Cost $100 – $2,500
Estimated Cost of Uncirculated & Certified Coins$3,000+
Manufacturing Year1932
Coin StyleWashington
Denomination25 cents
DesignerJohn Flanagan

11. 1921 High Relief Peace Dollar

The key coin of the Peace Dollar series, the 1921 peace coin features a side profile of the Goddess of Liberty on the obverse side. On the reverse, you will find a perched bald eagle seated on an olive branch.

Key Features to Verify: 

  • High-relief portrait and lettering
  • No pitting around the relief motifs
  • The hair of the Liberty Lady is free from scribbling die scratches or die lines
  • Proper strike pressure on the motifs
Estimated Cost $500 – $1,500
Estimated Cost of Uncirculated & Certified Coins$5,000+
Manufacturing Year1921
Coin StylePeace
Denomination1 dollar
DesignerAnthony de Francisci

12. 1914-D Lincoln Wheat Cent

This Lincoln cent coin is quite valuable as it’s the only coin in the series with the lowest mintage of 1,193,000 coins.

Key Features to Check:

  • The real RD or Red Designation
  • Original mintmark “D” in original font and style
  • No gap between the “19” & “14” of the date mark (the gap indicated that it’s an altered 1944 coin)
Estimated Cost $200 – $1,200+
Estimated Cost of Uncirculated & Certified Coins$5,000+
Manufacturing Year1914
Coin StyleLincoln Wheat
Denomination1 cent
DesignerVictor David Brenner

13. 1787 Fugio Cent

Also known as the Franklin cent, this coin is the USA’s first official circulation coin minted in 1787. You can recognize this coin with the medium relief “Mind Your Business” text, a sundial, and a sun design on the obverse. You’ll see the “We Are One” and 13 state chain links on the reverse.

Key Features to Check:

  • Original composition of 0.36 oz (10 g) of copper
  • No raised lumps on the design
  • Clear details on the sundial
Estimated Cost $200 – $900
Estimated Cost of Uncirculated & Certified Coins$4,500+
Manufacturing Year1787
Coin StyleFranklin Cent
Denomination1 cent
DesignerBenjamin Franklin (Reportedly)

10 Rarest & Most Expensive Old Coins Ever Auctioned!

Apart from the above valuable old coins, there are several other RARE coins you might want to learn about, and the collectors have paid over MILLIONS for!

Rare Coins Issuing YearDenomination/Face ValueAuctioned/Sold Price
Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle1933N/A$18.9 Million
Flowing Hair Silver Dollar 1794$1$10 Million
The Brasher Doubloon (Breast Punch)1787$15 $9.4 Million
Draped Bust Silver Dollar 1804$1$7.6 Million
The Liberty Head Nickel 19135 cents$4.2 Million
Trade Dollar1885$1$3.9 Million
Silver Center Cent J-1 (Special Strike)17921 cent$2.5 Million
The Lincoln Head Copper Penny19431 penny$1.7 Million
The Barber Dime18941 dime$1.5 Million
The Edward III Florin1343N/A$850,000 (now estimated at $6.4 Million)

Criteria to Appraise Old Coins:

Still confused about valuing old American coins? These are the four most essential measures that can change the old coins’ worth from a few hundred to a hundred thousand dollars!

1. Certification: If the old coin has been certified and graded authentic by The Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) and the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), its value hikes greatly.

2. Grading: Grading is simply assigning a grade to the condition of a coin. The coins in the new-like, unused condition with high grading numbers can be worth over tens of thousands! 

These are the different grades of an old coin (in ascending order): About Good (AG), Good (G), Very Good (VG), Fine (F), Very Fine (VF), Extremely Fine (EF/XF), About Uncirculated (AU), Mint State (MS).

3. Circulation Status: If the coin is circulated, it undergoes wear and tear, degrading the old coin’s condition. That’s why uncirculated coins with mirror-like surfaces are worth the most.

4. Coin Mintage Number (No. of Circulated Coins): Coin mintage is the total number of coins minted or produced. A coin becomes rare and valuable when it has a lower mintage or circulated coins. 

If you love collecting vintage coins, this guide is your savior. Not only will you find some of the most valuable coins, but you’ll also learn how to spot the authentic ones. So, save this guide and begin your coin hunting! You will also love to explore this list of valuable American pennies, too!

Judith Miller
Judith Miller

Judith is an antique expert with nearly 20 years of experience in the field of antique identification and valuation. She has reviewed over 30 thousand vintage items and has worked with numerous antique shops. She enjoys seeing new places, attending antique shows and events, and sharing her knowledge with people! Know more about me

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