An Overview of Vintage Coin Types

There are many U.S. coins that fall into the vintage or classic category. This entry will cover some of the types that you’re most likely to see.

Half Cent

 

The half cent has not been minted for many years at this point, but it has the lowest denomination of any U.S. coin. Half cents were struck from the early 1790s when the U.S. Mint was founded, until the mid-1800s. While they were last struck well over a century ago, they can still be found today without much trouble.

classic coin type half centclassic coin type half cent

Large Cent

 

The large cent was the predecessor to the small cent. This is another coin that was among the very first to be struck by the U.S. Mint. Much like the half cent, production of the large cent continued into the mid-1800s. These copper coins have a diameter of over 1 inch. They are still widely collected and have a unique appearance.

penny flying eagle large centpenny flying eagle large cent

Small Cent

 

The very first small cents had a short overlap in production with the last of the large cents. Many are familiar with vintage U.S. small cents, such as the Indian Head cent, the Flying Eagle cent, and the Lincoln Wheat cent. Lincoln Wheat cents continue to be very popular among collectors.

penny indian head small centpenny indian head small cent

Two Cent Piece

 

The United States two cent piece is one of the more unique vintage coins. Two cent pieces were only minted for about a decade, as opposed to some classic coins that were in production for very long periods.

Three Cent Piece

 

The three cent piece is another coin that has some unique qualities. Some were made of a silver and copper alloy, while others were made of copper and nickel. For part of the three cent piece’s time in production, both versions were minted simultaneously

For more information on the enigmatic Pennies, read this info-vault article which gives a high-level overview of the history of the U.S. one cent piece.

Half Dimes and Nickels

 

The nickel and half dime are intriguing as well. These coins both have a face value of five cents, but the half dime was part of the original lineup of circulating U.S. coins. The first nickels weren’t struck until the Civil War era. Some common types of vintage United States issued nickels include Shield Nickels, Buffalo Nickels, and of course, the Jefferson Nickel which is still released to this day.

classic coins barber nickelclassic coins barber nickel

Dimes

 

The dime goes back to the 1790s as well. Many types have been struck by the U.S. Mint over the years. While some Roosevelt dimes may be considered vintage, all earlier types of dimes are vintage such as Barber and Mercury dimes.

classic mercury dime coin typeclassic mercury dime coin type

Twenty Cent Piece

 

The twenty cent piece was only struck by the U.S. Mint for a handful of years. These coins didn’t perform well in circulation, but they are a must-have for vintage or classic coin collectors. These silver coins were minted in the late 1800s.

Quarters

 

The quarter is another denomination that has stood the test of time. Plenty of vintage quarters are available to choose from today. Barber and Seated Liberty quarters are among the most popular vintage varieties.

classic coin types standing liberty quarterclassic coin types standing liberty quarter

Half Dollars

 

Half dollars were heavily circulated in some eras of American history. Most are familiar with the classic Franklin and Walking Liberty half dollars. There are also Seated Liberty half dollars, Capped Bust half dollars, and more.

One Dollar Coins

 

Silver dollars tend to steal the show when it comes to vintage U.S. coins. There are so many kinds and so many different scarce specimens that it’s just incredible. The Morgan silver dollar is one of the most well-known types, but there are also Peace dollars, Trade dollars, and Seated Liberty dollars.

classic morgan silver dollar coinclassic morgan silver dollar coin

One Dollar Coins

 

Silver dollars tend to steal the show when it comes to vintage U.S. coins. There are so many kinds and so many different scarce specimens that it’s just incredible. The Morgan silver dollar is one of the most well-known types, but there are also Peace dollars, Trade dollars, and Seated Liberty dollars.

classic coin type indian head goldclassic coin type indian head gold

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