Oakton Coins & Collectibles is open for business. Buying and selling all collectible coins / paper money (U.S. and world), all forms of gold & silver, bullion, estate jewelry, stamps, diamonds, and more.
As a coin shop that buys and sells, we come in contact with a lot of people who have inherited coin collections. No matter the size, you can bring it in for a free verbal appraisal. Often people sell the whole collection. Sometimes, they sell the valuable parts and split up the rest between siblings. Maybe it’s a small collection without a lot of monetary value and you have someone young in your family that would appreciate it.
This is a quick guide to help identify your inherited coins at home….. Cents, Half Dimes & Nickels, Dimes, Quarters, Half Dollars, Silver Dollars, US Gold Coins, Early American Medals/Commemorative Coins, and Modern Commemoratives.
Types of United States Mint Nickels + Half Dimes.
Jefferson Nickel (1938-1964) The Jefferson nickel has been the five-cent coin struck by the United States Mint since 1938. From 1938 until 2004, the copper-nickel coin’s obverse featured a profile depiction of founding father and third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson by artist Felix Schlag; the obverse design used in 2005 was also in profile, though by Joe Fitzgerald. Since 2006 Jefferson’s portrayal, newly designed by Jamie Franki, faces forward. The coin’s reverse is still the Schlag original, although in 2004 and 2005 the piece bore commemorative designs.
Shield Nickels (1866-1883) The Shield nickel was the first United States five-cent piece to be made out of copper-nickel, the same alloy of which American nickels are struck today. Designed by James B. Longacre, the coin was issued from 1866 until 1883, when it was replaced by the Liberty Head nickel. The coin takes its name from the motif on its obverse, and was the first five-cent coin referred to as a “nickel”—silver pieces of that denomination had been known as half dimes. Silver half dimes had been struck from the early days of the United States Mint in the late 18th century. Those disappeared from circulation, along with most other coins, in the economic turmoil of the Civil War.
Three Cent Nickels (1865-1889) The copper-nickel three-cent piece, often called a three-cent nickel piece or three-cent nickel, was designed by US Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre and struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1865 to 1889. It was initially popular, but its place in commerce was supplanted by the five-cent piece, or nickel.
The three-cent nickel piece initially circulated well, but became less popular when the five-cent nickel was introduced in 1866, a larger, more convenient coin, with a value of five cents better fitting the decimal system. After 1870, most years saw low annual mintages for the three-cent nickel, and in 1890 Congress abolished it. The last were struck in 1889; many were melted down to coin more five-cent pieces. The issue is not widely collected, and prices for rare dates remain low by the standards of American collectible coinage.
Buffalo Nickel (1913-1938) From its inception, the coin was referred to as the “Buffalo nickel”, reflecting the American colloquialism for the North American bison. The Buffalo nickel or sometimes called Indian Head nickel is a copper-nickel five-cent piece that was struck by the United States Mint from 1913 to 1938. It was designed by sculptor James Earle Fraser.
V-Nickel (1883-1913)The Liberty Head nickel, sometimes referred to as the V nickel because of its reverse (or tails) design, is an American five-cent piece. It was struck for circulation from 1883 until 1912, with at least five pieces being surreptitiously struck dated 1913. The obverse features a left-facing image of the goddess of Liberty.Composition 75% copper, 25% nickel.
Half Dime (1792) The half disme (pronounced “deem”) was one of the first coins to be produced by the newly created US Mint. At least 1,500 half dismes struck in 1792, which would technically make them the first business strike coin to be minted by the Mint. However, its status as such is disputed, with the Mint recognizing the 1793 Chain cent as such. Most Americans, not sure how to pronounce the French word “disme”, referred to the coin as “dime”. By the time production of half dismes resumed in 1794, the “s” had been dropped.
Flowing Hair Half Dime (1794–1795) The Flowing Hair half dime was designed by Robert Scot and this same design was also used for half dollar and dollar silver coins minted during the same period. The obverse bears a Liberty portrait similar to that appearing on the 1794 half cent and cent but without the liberty cap and pole. Mintage of the 1794 version was 7,765 while 78,660 of the 1795 version were produced.
Small eagle Reverse Half Dime (1796–1797) The obverse of the Draped Bust half dime was based on a sketch by artist Gilbert Stuart, with the dies engraved by Robert Scot and John Eckstein. The primary 1796 variety bears fifteen stars representing the then number of states in the union. In 1797, fifteen and sixteen star varieties were produced – the sixteenth star representing newly admitted Tennessee – as well as a thirteen star variety after the mint realized that it could not continue to add more stars as additional states joined the union. The reverse bears an open wreath surrounding a small eagle perched on a cloud. 54,757 half dimes of this design were minted.
Heraldic Eagle Reverse Half Dime (1800–1805) Following a two-year hiatus, mintage of half dimes resumed in 1800. The obverse remained essentially the same as the prior version, but the reverse was revised substantially. The eagle on the reverse now had outstretched wings, heraldic style. This reverse design first appeared on gold quarter and half eagles and then dimes and dollars in the 1790s. Mintage of the series never surpassed 40,000, with none produced in 1804. No denomination or mint mark appears on the coins; all were minted in Philadelphia.
Capped Bust Half Dime (1829–1837) Production of half dimes resumed in 1829 based on a new design by Chief Engraver William Kneass, who is believed to have adapted an earlier John Reich design. All coins were minted at Philadelphia and display no mintmark. The high circulating mintage in the series was in 1835, when 2,760,000 were struck, and the low of 871,000 was in 1837. Both Capped Bust and Seated Liberty half dimes were minted in 1837.
Silver Seated Liberty Half Dime (1837–1873) These were the last silver half dimes produced. The design features Liberty seated on a rock and holding a shield and was first conceived in 1835 used first on the silver dollar patterns of 1836. 1837 (no stars), 1839 (no drapery), 1855 (arrows), 1858 (stars), 1873 (legend).