United States silver coin values vary greatly depending on many factors, from mint condition to date and variety. Understanding these differences will help you decide what type of silver dollar to buy, and also how much it will be worth when you sell.
First Steps in Determining Value: Identifying the Series, Mintmark Variety and Date Range of Your Coin
Silver dollars are minted in several different series with overlapping dates, styles, and mint marks. They were produced in a wide variety of sizes and shapes and can be difficult to identify. Fortunately, there are many useful images and links to in-depth series pages that can be used to find your specific coins.
The next step is to determine the grade of your coin. This involves comparing your coin to images of standards, videos and descriptions. These images will help you judge the surface condition and various stages of wear.
Those with very low surface quality and a variety of flaws will be valued lower than those with only minor flaws, such as scratches, indentations or other signs of wear. These coins are less valuable than problem-free examples and are often traded as junk silver coins, rather than numismatic “collector” coins.
Step 3: Grading Your Coin
Once you have identified the series, you can begin to determine a grade for your silver dollar by comparing it to images of standards. This is a very important step, as a high-grade silver dollar is extremely valuable.
Step 4: Special Qualities
One of the great things about silver dollars is that they are collectible. A coin with a rare design, beautiful color or unique style will be highly valued by collectors. This is especially true of the early Bust dollars, as these coins are works of art. These coins can be worth thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars depending on the date and variety.
A high end example of the Flowing Hair dollar from 1794 can be worth as much as $100,000, and uncirculated examples can be in the six figure range. Other examples of gold and silver dollars can be quite expensive as well.
These are just a few of the many varieties of coins that can be found in U.S. history and are worth a lot of money to those with the skill to identify them. Collecting and preserving these pieces is a wonderful way to bring the past alive and build a valuable collection.
Getting Started with Numismatics
To become a numismatist is to understand and appreciate the history of our nation through coins and other numismatic items. Whether you are an investor or just a curious collector, becoming familiar with the history of silver and other coins is a valuable lesson.
The US Mint has been producing coinage for over three centuries and many of these coins are still in circulation today. It is easy to start a collection of these coins with a few key pieces, and you can get started right now.