20 Fun Facts About Coin Collecting

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Written By Natasha Jones
I'm Natasha Jones, an avid collector of coins, stamps, and paper money. My passion drives me to seek unique finds, from antique shops to international exchanges. I enjoy connecting with fellow collectors through forums and meet-ups, sharing discoveries and insights. Collecting, for me, is about preserving history and building a community around this shared interest.

Collecting coins is a fun hobby that anyone can enjoy. Whether you prefer to collect coins minted in the United States, foreign countries, or even ancient ones, any coin collector should know plenty of fun facts. This article will explore some interesting facts about coin collecting and show how it has evolved. Let’s start with some basics:

Fun Facts about Coin Collecting:

1. You Don’t Have to be Rich to Collect Coins

I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be wealthy to begin collecting coins. As you gain more experience, you can start collecting coins from your change and even invest in rare or expensive coins. You can start your coin collection by using the change in your pocket.

Coin collecting is an easy way for people of all ages and income levels to get started, as it doesn’t require additional spending. If all of you have coins lying around at home, all of you might want to consider putting them into a jar or special container designated only for collecting coins. This will help keep things organized and prevent any mix-ups in terms of labeling between different types of currency, like dollars versus cents.

2. You Can Buy Collector Coins Straight from the Mint

At the Mint, they offer a vast selection of collector coins, coin sets, and other fascinating commemorative items for collectors. You can purchase them directly from them.

3. U.S. Coins Used to Contain Silver, Gold, and Copper

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Back in the day, the U.S. Mint would produce coins using pure silver. One such coin was the Morgan dollar, minted from 1878 to 1904, with a short pause during World War I. The Morgan dollar was named after George T. Morgan, who designed it with guidance from Treasury Secretary John G. Carlisle. At one point in our nation’s history, we didn’t have paper bills or checks. Instead, we could only use coins as legal tender. As you can imagine, this meant carrying around some pretty heavy pockets!

The U.S. Mint has also manufactured a tinier coin that goes by the half dime, sometimes referred to as “fish scale” or “fish scale dimes.” Well, folks, it wasn’t worth much, just fifty cents, but you get more than a hundred of them in a pound! You may hear the half dime being referred to as a “half disme” by collectors who appreciate its distinct shape and nickname. This is due to its resemblance to fish scales when viewed against light at specific angles.

4. 2-Cent and 3-Cent Coins Used to Exist

The U.S. used these coins because they were practical back then. But, as prices rose, the Mint decided to discontinue the production of these coins.

5. The “Eagle” was a $10 Coin

Several Eagle coins were created by the U.S. Mint, representing denominations such as $2.50, $5, $10, and $20. Back in the day, they used to call the $2.50 coin a quarter eagle, the $5 coin a half-eagle, the $10 coin an eagle, and the $20 coin a double-eagle.

6. Pennies Can Remain in Circulation for 40 Years

One of the most popular coins in circulation is the penny. It’s probably in your pocket right now, and it has been since 1787 when pennies were first minted. That makes them over 250 years old! If you’re wondering how long a penny can remain in circulation for its 40th birthday, let us help: it’s about 40 years. The average life span of a penny is about 40 years—but not all pennies are created equal (even though they all look alike). A few pennies have had longer lives than others thanks to their metal composition.

Some have even made it into their seventh decade as part of American currency. There are three different types of copper pennies still being used today: copper-plated zinc (1943–1945), copper-plated zinc core with outer layers of pure copper (1946–1982), and pure copper (1982–1864).

7. Coins are Harder to Copy Because of their Edges

A coin’s edge is called its rim, and it has milled edges. This means the metal has been cut on all four sides to create grooves or ridges around the coin’s rim. Milling helps prevent counterfeiting because it makes it harder for counterfeiters to copy coins.

8. The First Animal featured on a Coin was an Eagle.

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In the early days of coin collecting, several different types of coins existed. One type was called a “medal.” To make one, you would take a model of whatever it was that you wanted to be on your coin and cast it in metal. This made them heavier and more durable than paper money and tended to last longer than ordinary coins.

The first animal to appear on a medal was an eagle (not just any eagle—a specific kind). At this point, there wasn’t any difference between medals and real coins except for their design. The U.S. Mint didn’t begin producing regular US currency until 1792 when Congress authorized them to do so under Alexander Hamilton’s direction, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t medallions before then either!

9. Pennies were Silver for One Year

In 1943, there was a copper shortage, so the U.S. Mint had to create pennies from zinc-coated steel that gave a silver finish.

10. The U.S. Mint Produces the Most Coins in the World

The U.S. Mint produces over 2 billion coins a year, and it’s the largest manufacturer of coins in the world! The United States Mint is a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury responsible for producing coinage for circulation and other numismatic products.

It was created by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1792, originally as part of a plan to fund America’s war against Britain at the time (which turned out to be unnecessary). The U.S. Mint produces coins for other countries, including Australia, Canada, and Mexico—but what’s cool about this fact is that you can send your change back home if you have any leftovers from your trip abroad!

11. President Lincoln was the First President on a Coin

The penny was first minted in 1909 and featured President Lincoln on the back. It was the first coin to feature an American president on it. It also marked the beginning of what would become an ongoing tradition of putting presidents on coins, which continues today with modern U.S. currency featuring former president Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill and Alexander Hamilton on its $10 bill (although some have argued that both Hamilton and Jackson should be replaced).

Lincoln’s appearance as our 16th president on our nation’s currency is fitting, considering his role in shaping America’s economic policy during his presidency from 1861-1865—including establishing a national banking system following his creation of The United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing in 1862.

12. There are $10 Billion Coins in the U.S.

You may have heard the phrase, “they don’t make ’em like they used to.” That’s especially true for coins. There are $10 billion in coins in circulation; some aren’t quarters, nickels, dimes, or pennies. They’re not just money; they’re collector’s items! Coins can be fun and educational, especially when collecting them yourself!

Many people think of coins as a piece of paper with a picture that is worth money when they go shopping at the grocery store or buy something from the vending machine.

However, there’s more to coin collecting than that: it’s also a hobby that many people enjoy doing because it allows them to learn more about history while having fun doing it too!

13. The Lydian Stater is Considered the Oldest Coin in the World

The Lydian stater is considered to be the oldest coin in the world. It was minted around 650 BC by King Alyattes of Lydia, who ruled from 619 to 560 BC.

The state is made of electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. The Lydian kingdom was located in present-day Turkey; however, it didn’t have its currency until approximately 650 BC when King Alyattes created it out of necessity.

14. The First African American to be depicted on an American Coin was Booker T. Washington

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Booker T. Washington was the first African American to be depicted on an American coin. The Booker T. Washington Memorial Half Dollar was minted from 1946 to 1951 and designed by John R. Sinnock, who also designed the Franklin Half Dollar.

The obverse (front) of the coin depicts a portrait of Mr. Washington in profile facing right with his name below it, while its reverse features an image of a farm hand plowing under a line that reads “Liberty” and “In God We Trust.”

15. The Most Expensive Coin Ever Sold was the 1933 Double Eagle

The 1933 Double Eagle is the most expensive coin sold, amounting to $18,900,00! This coin was sold in June 2021 by Sotheby’s Auction with a mint grade of MS-65.

16. The Oldest Coin Still in Circulation is the 10-Centimes Coin Produced by Federal Mint Swissmint.

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You’re probably familiar with the Swiss franc as a country’s currency, but did you know it also has its mint? The Federal Mint Swissmint produces coins for circulation in Switzerland and other countries.

One of their most notable coins is the 10-centimes coin, which was first introduced in 1881 as a replacement for the 20 rappen coin. This small silver coin was used until 2006 when it was replaced by a larger version called the 5 francs piece (or crown) with an identical face value.

17. The Oldest Currency Known to Men is the Mesopotamian Shekel

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The earliest known currency was the Mesopotamian shekel, a silver coin from about 3,000 BC to 600 BC in ancient Sumer. The shekel weighed just under 4 grams and could be divided into 12 smaller pieces called Sikka. The shekel was used to buy food, clothing, and other necessities.

18. Coin Collecting is Also Known as the “Hobby of Kings.”

Coin collecting is also known as the “Hobby of Kings.” It’s been a hobby for centuries and has no age limits. Whether you’re an adult, a child, or somewhere in between, coin collecting can be enjoyed by all ages. Coin collecting is also a great way to learn about history and culture. You’ll find coins from all over the world with designs that reflect their origin country’s culture and history.

Some rare coins are only available in limited quantities, so they become more valuable over time! And best of all? Coin collecting doesn’t have to break your bank account! It can easily fit into any budget—you don’t even need an entire collection if it’s too expensive! Start small by adding just one new coin every week until you get the hang of things before expanding your collection further down the road (or maybe even before).

19. The Bison That Appears on the Buffalo Nickel Once Roamed New York City. 

The bison was named Black Diamond and roamed New York City in the 20th century.

20. Before Police were guarding the Mint; There was a Watchdog

Minty, the first official police dog in the U.S., was a Newfoundland. Minty guarded the Philadelphia Mint from 1816 to 1848 and is believed to have been named after a nearby street known for its mint julep vendors. If you’ve ever wondered why some dogs are so friendly with strangers, it’s likely because their ancestors were trained as watchdogs!

Before you go…

Coin collecting has been around for centuries. It’s a tradition that continues to grow every year. Suppose you’re interested in starting your collection. In that case, plenty of resources are available online, ranging from guides on how to get started with coin collecting, tips for choosing coins and their value over time, and information about different coins from around the world.

Check out my next article: “Questions about Coin Collecting!

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