Introduction to Vintage Coins

There’s no shortage of modern coins to choose from today. However, vintage U.S. coins, or commonly known as classic U.S. coins, still hold plenty of appeal and offer some qualities that modern coins do not. Here, we’ll take a closer look at vintage coins and some basic information about them.

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Definition of Classic Coins


Perspective may vary as to the exact cutoff where vintage coins end and modern coins begin. You can generally consider coins that are no longer in production and more than a few decades old to be vintage. Some use World War II as the cutoff point, but some coins minted after WWII are widely considered vintage or classic, such as the Franklin half dollar.

Are Vintage Coins Worth More Than Modern Coins?


Key date and high-grade vintage coins can be very valuable, but to be fair, the same is true for modern coins. This is something that will vary from one situation to the next. Overall, there are a greater number of vintage coins with higher values as opposed to modern coins.


Some vintage coins have set tremendous records at auction, such as an 1893-S Morgan silver dollar that sold for $735,000 in 2018. That being said, there are classic coins to fit every budget and their value varies wildly based across numerous factors such as mintage and condition.

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What Are the Benefits of Collecting Vintage Coins versus Modern Coins?


Some collectors chose to focus on acquiring vintage coins for their collection rather than modern ones. One of the major reasons for this proclivity is the often-interesting history behind both the coins and the time in which they were issued. Coins can provide a physical connection to the past and some collectors choose to focus on a specific era of interest.

Many vintage coin designs are truly works of art from a by-gone era. Some, like the St. Gauden’s $20 Double Eagle, have even been called the most beautiful coin designs ever struck on precious metals. Even though vintage coins are usually marred somewhat by the passing of time leading to lower grades than modern issues, these signs of the past only enhance their vintage charm, plus high-quality examples do still exist (usually at much higher premiums).  


Of course, there’s the added bonus that vintage coins have a firmly finalized mintage since no more will ever be created. Plus, over the years certain issues have been melted down significantly so there is only a portion of their original mintage left for modern collectors.


Whether you prefer modern issues or vintage U.S coins, it's worth checking out the iconic and storied issues from past generations. If you want to keep reading about vintage coins, check out this Info-Vault article called "Top 5 Rare Classic U.S. Coins" which highlights some of the most exciting vintage coins of the past century. 

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