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questions from a newbie


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So i have recently started collecting for my son, because my grandpa did it for me when i was young. Now i have of course been collecting wheat pennies, and now pennies from 1958-1981 because of the copper content. What years and younger nickles, dimes and quarters should i be looking for. For example should i look at quarters only older than 1980 or 1970??? The only thing ive been collecting of those is the new nickle(keelboat, handshake, buffalo, etc..) Any advise would be great, thanks in advance!

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I'm like you with cents, saving all the copper ones pre-1982. For nickels, I save all the ones I get before 1960, for no particular reason. For dimes and quarters anything 1964 and earlier since those are 90% silver. For halves any before 1971, since 1965-70 are 40% silver and 1964 and earlier are 90% silver. For dollars I don't save the new small ones, just the larger ones, Ikes and although it's never happened to me, any Peace or Morgan dollars (I've heard stories of people finding these in circulation even today!). Welcome to the boards and enjoy yourself here!

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I'd suggest that since you are looking to put together collections for your youngsters you take a "set" approach. I'd start with things that are relatively easy to start and complete. Right now Statehood quarters make a nice set. I'd get a Dansco that has room for the silvers and the proofs and complete one set for each child -- maybe one for yourself.


Since I really love copper coins, I would next move to the Lincoln Memorial Cents. I'd complete a set of Memorials for each child. The set would be GEM BU at least MS65/PF65 and would include all of the proof and regular issues. Again a Dansco suits my purposes but you may want to consider a slabbed set here. If so I'd stick with one of the big three ANACS, PCGS or NGC. I'd also stick with one service for the entire set. One set for each kid and maybe one for you as well.


Then onto the Wheaties -- far more of a challenge and expense than the Memorials. Same thing all proofs and circulation issues. I wouldn't bother much with varieties other than perhaps Large Date/Small Date and 55 Double.


Have fun.

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Occasionally, when a friend has a jug full of change and they want to know if there might be anything of value in it, this is the list I tell them to pull:




1938 (all)

1939 (all)

“War” Nickels, 1942-1945



1964 and prior

1982 no mint mark



1964 and prior

1932 (all)


1964 (all)


1987 (all)


1973 (all)



If it's a 5-gallon water jug, it'll obviously take a L-O-N-G time to check.


Now if you're looking for interest-generating, you can't go wrong with Statehood quarters. They started in 1999 and all of them are available in circulation. Folders, binders, maps, and boards are available.


To get off the beaten track, I like to suggest Jefferson nickels. They were issued starting in 1938 and all can be found in circulation, even today; the 1939-D and 1950-D would be the most difficult to find.


I also like to suggest what I did for my grandson, build a birth year set. His consists of:


2001 Silver Proof Set

2001 Silver Eagle, Proof

2001 Commemorative Dollar, Proof (the Buffalo Dollar)

A P & D roll each of the Statehood quarter issued when he was born

(In his case, it was NY).

A "silver dollar" of various foreign countries

(His includes Canada, Australia, and England)

A 1-Euro set for 2001 (2002 if 2001 wasn't available)


Obviously, what you collect and how you want to collect it is entirely up to you; it's your collection. One thing that a lot of us recommend is to get circulated rolls of mixed change and let your son help you look. The quality time is priceless.


Finally, welcome to weird world of numismatics.



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Like mentioned earlier, some of the more inexpensive sets is where I would start. Collecting Morgans (to me) wouldn't be practical or very "fun" for either of you. Not sure how old your son is but not many kids care about a big silver coin that has a lot of history.


With that said:


Lincolns, Roosevelts, and Jeffersons are some of the cheapest and easiest to collect. There are only a handful between the three that costs any significant amount of money. Heck, a 1909-VDB Lincoln in MS condition can be had for ~$12-$15. Art has some very good points. While I prefer my coins outside of a slab (for now), they are a great way to learn how to grade and protect your investment. A little more expensive but with the big three you won't get ripped off. Just watch for ANACS slabs with "net" grades. Normally cleaned/scratched/etc, that's where the "net" grade comes in.


I too save all my cents from pre-1982. Not any special reason other than their copper content. Quarters/Nickels/Dimes I don't save often unless 1964 or older, or if the coin is in mint condition.


Might I make one cheap/fun suggestion. Depending on your sons age and the time you want to spend, get a $25 box of Lincoln cents. Just walk into your bank and ask for one. In my spare time it's something I love to do. People have found Indian Head Cents, foreign, and some other weird/odd coins in those rolls. You never know what you'll find! For the cost of gas you can have hours of fun and come away with a good amount of keeper coins. I'd rather spend 3 hours finding a $5 cent then buying it for $5 from a dealer. Afterall, it cost me a cent. :ninja:

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With few exceptions theres not much reason to save more than one (per collection)of any of the new (clad) issues. The price of copper would have to go much higher for those cents to be worth saving due to the refining costs and these more than enough of each of the new nickels for every person in the US to own a set. (3 to 4 hundred million of each) We will see peoples hoards leaking out into circulation for years to come as the realize they are not valuable.

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