Start Collecting Old and New Gold Coins

Do you know how many coins are currently in active circulation around the world? How about how many coins are not in active circulation as valid currency but in the vaults and books of coin collectors?

The answer to both of these questions is: no idea. Although we can have a pretty good estimate for most countries, the very nature of coins means that trying to get an exact figure is near impossible. Coins are lost, coins are found. In the world of coin collection people hope to find more than they lose of course.

Getting Your Start in Numismatics 

In other helpful information – did you know that there is no separate word in the English language that specifically means a person who collects old gold coins? Instead the term for a person who studies currency is used as a blanket term to cover both the more academic pursuit as well as the ‘hobby’.

If you ask a person who has been collecting old coins for a while, many of them found their interest started as a child. Often it starts when a well-meaning older relative gives them an old coin of little monetary value but lots of historical interest. Or a they find a coin that was minted in their year of birth. Before they know it they have a treasure box full of precious coins, then they have a coin book of coins with carefully detailed notes that include any history details they can uncover, purchase prices and sales dates. From there it’s following auction pages to keep an eye on upcoming coin auctions, setting up google alerts to be notified when certain coins are mentioned, and of course buying commemorative and special issue minted coins.

At The End Of The Rainbow Is Gold

What most collectors really get excited by though is old gold coins. Old coins that have managed to escape destruction during one of the periods in history where all gold was being melted down – often to fund war efforts; gold pieces that didn’t make it into public circulation; coins that managed to be minted with a defect or error.

Anything that makes an old coin unique usually makes it valuable. Some of the most expensive ones in the world have sold at auction for millions. More run of the mill collectors’ coins might sell for hundreds or thousands. Every collector has that special coin that they covet, and most dream of finding it mixed in with a box of buttons at a random junk store they just happened to be passing.

Some Of The Most Valuable Gold Coins

It may surprise you that some of the most valuable coins aren’t old roman aurei, or even old English florins. Majority of these that have joined the ranks of most expensive coins ever to be sold are primarily issued in the United States of America. Not all of them are gold, a few are actually silver, or like the 1913 Liberty Head nickel coin which is worth around US$5,000,000 – and it is 75% copper and 25% nickel, not a drop of precious metal to be seen.

Read more on the most valuable gold pieces here:  

How Old Is An Old Coin

The oldest coin of significant value is an Umayyad Gold Dinar which is said to have been minted in 723 and is worth over US$6,000,000.

However, each year the US Mint releases special edition commemorative collectors’ coins that are generally worth anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand. There value is based on the current gold spot price, but of course to a collector they are worth far more than their weight in gold.

Interestingly, two examples of the Flowing Hair Dollar which were issued in the United States of America in 1794 where sold two years apart. In September of 2015 Sotheby’s sold one of these for almost $5,000,000, yet two years earlier in January of 2013 Stack’s Bowers Galleries sold a 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar for over $10,000,000.

If you are going to get your start in coin collecting, although yes, absolutely gold coins will hold their value, if you are particularly observant you can find some neat finds. Things like finding the extra leaf on a 2004 Wisconsin state quarter. This minting error could earn you up to $300.