If you are new to collecting coins, or are even thinking of collecting coins, you should learn about “junk” coins. I’ve been collecting for about forty years. When I started, I had a little money to buy coins. Every Friday, I would go to the local coin dealer and search so hard it made my head hurt. I only bought the oldest coins that I could even though they were in low grade “Approximately Good” (AG) or “Good” (G) condition. The first coin I bought was a large 1819 penny in AG condition for $ 9. The coin was so worn that you could hardly see the details. If you rub both surfaces with your hand, you can slightly detect small bumps.
The beauty of collecting old “junk” or “low ball” coins in degrees from AG to G, is that you can own old coins that would tell a lot of stories if they could speak. The coins spent not only belonged to one person, but perhaps hundreds of people. You wonder who could have owned them. As with my big 1819 penny, I wondered if Andrew Jackson, our seventh president, or some other well-known person could have had it and put it in their pocket. What could that person have bought with him? Or, perhaps, a child received it as a Christmas gift to start a piggy bank in the early 1800s.
What I did not consider at the time was the future value of the currency market. Many seasoned collectors buy long-term for profit. Then they buy the ones that are in better condition. Most currencies in these higher rated conditions generally become better investments. These conditions include Very Good (VG), Fine (F), Very Fine (VF), Extremely Fine (EF), Roughly Uncirculated (AU), and Uncirculated (U). There are even various grades for uncirculated coins. For now, don’t think too much of a superior condition.
The United States Mint has been minting coins for the past two hundred and twenty years. Today, we use pennies, nickels, nickels and nickels and, to a lesser extent, metal half and dollar. But, in the second half of the eighteenth century, half a penny, half a penny, half a ten, ten, twenty-five cents, a half dollar, and a dollar were regularly minted and circulated. Generally, the older the part, the more active it has been circulating. Only half of the pennies and pennies are made of copper; the rest contain mainly silver.
Some advantages of buying junk coins are worth noting. First, you can buy these pieces with little money. If you live on a low income, the “low ball” pieces may fit your budget. Second, they hold their fusion values very well, such as copper in old pennies and silver in dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollars. (The nickels were made of copper-nickel). While the spent coins have lost investment value, they are still worth their weight in copper and silver. Also, I did not mention that gold coins had been minted in the US for a long time until 1933. Pennies held their copper until 1982. Dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollars were made with 90% silver before 1965. Third, collecting spent copper and especially silver coins can be used against inflation. When the value of the dollar bill goes down and the U.S. dollar bill loses its value, the price of silver goes up. So you could trade your junk coins for silver and get some good money. Copper is also rising. I remember when an ounce of silver went from $ 7 to $ 50. If this change happened today, that fancy old silver quarter that you paid $ 4 for could earn you $ 10 or more. Last but not least, you can play with those spent coins – rub them all you want, imagine all the stories that coin could tell, and show them to your friends. I knew someone who was carrying a large penny taken out and struck in 1800 to show people. Any other coin in better than “good” condition should probably be placed inside a 2-by-2-inch coin holder.
Don’t pay a lot of money for expensive parts in better than “good” condition, unless you see a better-than-good one for little money. Buy spent coins with the least amount of money possible. Go to your local coin store where you can buy individual pieces of scrap or wholesale silver. The best way to locate them is to google “junk coins” and you will find some other companies that sell these coins individually or in bulk. Good luck collecting!