Collecting United States Coins
United States coins are made at four Mint facilities: Philadelphia, PA; Denver, CO; San Francisco, CA; and West Point, NY. One easy way to start your collection is with the circulating coins you use daily - pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars. But there are other kinds and sets as well.
Here are categories of United States Mint numismatic items you can collect:
- Program Coins In January 1999, a unique and historically compelling 10-year celebration of the states began. For the 50 State Quarters®Program. a series of five quarter-dollars with new reverses will be issued each year until 2008. All 50 states will be honored in the order they were admitted into the Union. Annual Coin Sets Each year, the United States Mint packages sets of the proof and the uncirculated coins that were produced during that year. You can purchase current-year sets directly from the United States Mint. Generally, for prior years, you will need to buy the sets from coin dealers or other collectors.
United States Mint Proof Set
Proof Sets Unlike circulating coins, proof coins display brilliant mirror-like backgrounds, with frosted, sculpted foregrounds.
United States Mint Uncirculated Set
Uncirculated United States Mint Sets These coins are struck using the same process for circulating coins, but they have quality enhancements - slightly higher coining force, early strikes from dies. special cleaning after stamping, and protective packaging in Mylar®.
Commemorative Coins Authorized by Congress, commemorative coins typically celebrate and honor American people, places, events or institutions. They are generally available directly from the United States Mint for a limited time only. They may remain available from collectors and coin dealers thereafter. Sales
of these coins can benefit the organizations authorized by Congress in the commemorative coin legislation.
American Eagle Proof Coins These platinum, gold or silver proof coins are produced from individually selected planchets that have been polished to a high luster. They are struck at least twice on specially adapted coining presses, bringing out even the smallest of details with remarkable clarity. The finished proof coin, with its frosted cameo image on a mirror-like field, is then white-glove inspected and placed in special packaging designed to help protect and present its craftsmanship.
National Medals The United States Mint produces these selective awards authorized by Congress. National medals commemorate the Nation's significant historical events or honor individuals whose superior deeds and achievements have enriched our Nation or the world. When legislation permits, bronze duplicates may be struck for sale to the public. For example, in 2004, bronze replicas were available for the gold medals honoring civil rights leader Dr. Dorothy Height. Special collectibles In addition, the United States Mint periodically produces special editions of its products, such as first-day coin covers, coin and die sets, partnership products and collector's spoons. Errors and Misstrikes Most error coins and misstrikes are found and recycled before they ever leave the United States Mint. The few that do make it into circulation, though, are often perceived to be collectibles. Collectors classify these coins into three major categories: die errors, planchet errors, and striking errors. Within each, there are also subcategories, such as off-center strikes, overdates and multiple-struck coins that are of significant interest to some collectors. You can learn more about this category through national error clubs, coverage of errors in numismatic publications, and the formal cataloging of Mint errors.