Why Collect Coins?

  • Collecting coins teaches us important skills like organization, categorization, researching, delayed gratification, and fiscal literacy.
  • Coins connect us to America and relay our history, heroes, and the moments that defined us as a Nation.
  • Coins are miniature pieces of art and many of our coins were designed or sculpted by America’s most celebrated artists.
  • Coins connect one generation to another through a shared hobby that brings families, friends, and all Americans closer together.
  • A coin collection shows the world who you are so you can find people who share your interests.

Common Coin Terminology

Here is some basic coin collecting terminology you should know:

  • Obverse: The front, or “heads” side of a coin.
  • Reverse: The back, or “tails” side of a coin.
  • Uncirculated vs. Circulated Coins: Uncirculated coins are coins that have never been used in circulation, keeping them in pristine condition.
  • Numismatist: Someone who studies or collects coins, paper money, or medals.

Check out our Coin Glossary for more information!

How to Start

Find Coins

  • You don’t have to buy coins when starting a coin collection – you can make it an adventure and find them from the places you visit!
  • Who knows what coins are waiting to be discovered in your old piggy bank or your grandma’s coin album.

Buy Coins

  • You can find older coins for sale at local coin shops.
  • You can purchase newer circulating coins directly from your local bank.
  • You can buy bullion from official bullion dealers.
  • You can buy directly from the United States Mint – we make yearly sets such as uncirculated, proof, and quarter sets, that are a good introduction to coin collecting. We’re also the best place to buy coins online.

What Are the Best Coins to Collect?

Your coin collection reflects you, what you care about, and what you’re interested in. The U.S. Mint offers a variety of coins and medals that align with your interests. To have a great coin collection, it’s important to have a goal before determining what’s best for you to collect.

Common Coin Collecting Goals

  • To fill it with things you care about. Choose your niche – maybe you want to collect every penny ever minted or only coins that depict Lady Liberty.
  • To build a collection worthy of passing on to the next generation.
  • To have a complete collection.
  • To learn and grow as an American numismatist.

Selling and Trading

Have a coin you’re ready to part ways with? Consider selling it or making a trade. You’ll want to learn as much about your coin as possible before doing so.

Places to Learn More

  • Books, coin shops, or online coin forums.
  • Find your coin community to make friends, learn more about the hobby, and build a great collection.

Places to Sell or Trade?

  • Go where people understand your coin’s value.
  • Auction sites.
  • Local coin shops.
  • Coin conventions.
  • Coin Clubs.
  • Find coin clubs in the American Numismatic Association data base.

Get Started

Now that you’ve graduated from Coin Collecting 101, it’s time to put your knowledge to use. You probably already have some coins, continue to build on that foundation and create a collection you’re proud of.

One of the best ways to stay connected to the latest coin news is by signing up for the U.S. Mint email list.

The Best Coins to Jump Start Your Coin Collection

Start With a Set From the U.S. Mint

Often considered foundational pieces, sets are an easy and fun way to start your coin collecting journey.

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Annual Sets

Annual Sets

Produced every year, these sets include all the circulating coins from the year of their minting and are great for collectors who want a specimen of every circulating coin.

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Proof Sets

Proof Sets

Features coins made from a specialized process using polished dies.

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Uncirculated Coin Sets

Uncirculated Coin Sets

Includes coins minted by the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia and Denver that have never been in circulation.

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Collect by Theme

Passionate about American women’s history? Or you’re a military history buff? Having a personal interest makes it easy to collect coins you care about!

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African American Coins and Medals

African American Coins & Medals

From civil rights activists to Presidents, explore our collection of coins and medals featuring Black American change-makers.

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Military Coins and Medals

Military Coins & Medals

Step back in time and learn more about the crucial role our U.S. Military has played in our Nation’s history.

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American Women's History Coins and Medals

American Women’s History Coins & Medals

An inspiring collection of Mint-quality coins and medals honoring the achievements, determination, and historical contributions of American women.

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