Coin Collecting Mistakes Smaller White Out Avoid

Top 6 Coin Collecting Mistakes to Avoid

Coin collecting should be fun, and as long as you are having fun there are no real mistakes. That being said, there are ways to make coin collecting more enjoyable and help save money. More money = more coins!

1.) Not doing research.

Learning about coins is part of the fun of the hobby! If you aren’t learning about the coins you buy or find, then you are missing out on great learning opportunities.

Plus, doing research helps you get better prices, and learn more about the buying and selling aspect of the hobby.

By doing research, you can learn about key dates, errors, and mint marks that others may miss. This could give you a profit or help you add more rare coins to your collection.

There are many great resources online to learn about coins. You can also buy a coin collecting book. Two of the most popular coin collecting books are the Red Guide Book and the Blue Handbook, if you want to read a comparison of the two books go to “What is the Difference Between the Red and Blue Coin Collecting Books?”.

2.) Not organizing your collection.

Keeping your collection organized can be difficult at times. Especially if- like me- you enjoy taking your coins out to look at them.

Organization is important because it can help you spot if a coin is lost or stolen. Labeling coins can help you sell them or help people who may inherit your collection appropriately value the coins.

Storing coins properly will help prevent tarnishing and scratches that affect a coins value. If you want to read more about safe coin handling, check out “4 Essential Supplies to Handle and Store Coins Properly”.

3.) Focusing too much on trends.

This may be ironic coming from the person who has written articles condemning colorized coins and ranking ugly coins, but the most important part of your collection is making sure you enjoy every piece.

There are lots of things the general coin community likes to bash on, but if you enjoy them, go for it. Personally, I really like the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin and the Ozarks quarter! Fight me coin collectors!!

4.) Not checking your spare change.

There are sooooo many coins that can be found in your spare change. It is rare, but not impossible to find valuable old coins from coins you get as change.

You don’t need to check every handful of coins for minute errors, but giving a quick scan for silver, buffalo nickels, or older wheat-back pennies can be profitable.

If you get really into it, you can also start coin roll hunting! Coin roll hunting is when you get rolls of wrapped coins from the bank and search them in search of treasures. If you want to learn more about coin roll hunting, check out “What is Coin Roll Hunting?”.

5.) Focusing too much on precious metals.

Silver and gold coins are amazing. They combine precious metal collecting with coin collecting. Buying coins with a precious metal content is a good idea, because even if the numismatic value falls, they will still be worth the price of the metal.

Before you decide to focus solely on collecting coins made of silver or gold, I think it is worthwhile for any coin collector to learn about the appeal of other types of coins. Coins are also loved for their history, rarity, and intricate designs.

There’s nothing wrong with focusing on only silver coins. A huge collector favorite are the large silver-dollar coins. Being a coin collector led me to becoming a silverbug ;). (If you don’t know what a silverbug is, click here!)

6.) Being too afraid to spend money.

Of course, people sometimes overpay for coins, I did not add that to this list, because I felt like it was covered by “do your research”. People who research coins before purchasing are less likely to fall for scams.

It is possible to do too much research and never feel like you are getting good deals on certain coins. Think of it this way, let’s say a coin has a current book value of $15, but you can only find it for $20. You put off buying because the coin is overvalued. Now, the price may stabilize and return to $15, but you may also be left waiting forever.

Be careful when you research coin prices to see if the prices you are seeing reflect how coins are currently being bought and sold. For this reason, I do most of my price research from the “sold” listings on eBay.


Any big mistakes you made when you started collecting? Maybe you bought a fake coin, or lost all your coins in a tragic boating accident? Share a comment below and vote in our poll below!

Why is the Susan B. Anthony Coin So Poorly Designed?

The Susan B. Anthony dollar coin is without a doubt one of the most interesting pieces of US coinage. This coin is widely regarded as being one of the least attractive coins ever made by the U.S. Mint, but along the way there were many times the design could have been fixed but was not.

Size

Before the Susan B Anthony dollar, the US Mint was making large dollar coins that were 38.1mm in diameter. The Mint decided to cut costs and make the coin more usable by bringing the size down to 26.5mm in diameter.

Unfortunately, the 26.5mm diameter along with the gold coloring made the coin too easily mistaken for a 24.3mm quarter. This was one of the reasons the SBA dollar was not widely used.

Shape

Originally, to prevent the Susan B Anthony dollar coin from being mistaken for a quarter dollar, the Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint, Dr. Alan Goldman, planned to make the coin an 11-sided polygon.

The vending machine companies lobbied against the proposal of an 11-sided coin, however, arguing that their machines were only meant for round coins. So the mint kept the 11 sides visible on the coin, but made the coin round.

I’m not sure why the mint bothered to keep the decorative edges? I assume this was all very last minute, as the edges only clutter the coin.

Eagle Reverse

Most coins follow a theme. The person on the obverse usually has a relation to the image on the reverse of the coin. For example, Thomas Jefferson’s nickel has Monticello, his plantation. The Lincoln Penny until recently had the Lincoln memorial.

Susan B. Anthony was a woman’s rights leader who was instrumental in getting women the right to vote. Susan B Anthony died in 1906, 63 years before the moon landing.

Susan B Anthony clearly had nothing to do with the moon landing, so why is there an image of an eagle landing on the moon on the reverse of her coin?

The reverse of the eagle landing on the moon originally appeared on the Eisenhower Dollar coin from 1971-1978. As it turns out, Eisenhower was not alive during the moon landing either. He died about a year prior, and while in talk about designing an Eisenhower coin, the U.S. government decided the reverse of the coin should honor the moon landing.

Late in the design process, Utah Senator Jake Garn passed an amendment to keep the ‘Eagle has landed’ reverse. Why? I’m not sure.

Having a Woman On A Coin

Having a real woman on a U.S. coin was as controversial then as it is today. Before 1979, Lady Liberty was the only female featured on a coin. There were many different complaints about the addition of Susan B. Anthony to the dollar coin.

Some argued she wasn’t influential enough and a great many argued that she wasn’t attractive enough. (Ironic, given that Abraham Lincoln, considered one of the least attractive presidents now and in his time, is still honored on the penny and the 5$ bill.)

Granted, there was a lot of political posturing in putting a woman on a coin. Some people were in favor in order to gain more credibility with female voters.

The rush to get a female on a circulating coin paired with the rush of the U.S. Mint to produce more dollar coins is a big reason why this design is so poor. Many elements of this coin on their own are great, but as a whole the coin does not fit together.

What the designers got right:

I think the depiction of Susan B Anthony is really good, Frank Gasparro made an accurate image of Susan B Anthony. She looks regal in her portrait, and the strike is clear.

The Eagle design is also very good. The eagle landing on the moon was already in use for the much larger Eisenhower Dollar Coin, but it scaled down nicely for the SBA dollar.

I wish this had become an 11-sided coin, I am a big fan of coin shapes that deviate from the usual circle. That could have been the saving design factor that pushed the Susan B. Anthony Dollar into popularity.

What it almost was:

The original concept for the small dollar coin by Frank Gasparro is one of my favorite coin designs. I know I complain about Lady Liberty being used on a coin more than real women but I absolutely ADORE this design.

Gasparro_Liberty_obverse
Original concept for the small dollar coin by Frank Gasparro.

Lady Liberty is shown with a Phrygian Cap, a symbol of the pursuit of liberty. I like her adventurous, Grecian look in this design.

Small Dollar Coin Concept Obverse Frank Gasparro
Original concept for the small dollar coin reverse.

The obverse is a very classic design of an eagle. Although Lady Liberty and a soaring eagle are both overused symbols, in my opinion, Frank Gasparro did a fantastic job using them for this design. The design is classic and detailed without being cluttered.


Although the Susan B. Anthony coin has a lot of flaws, all of the flaws are what attract me to this coin as a coin collector. The SBA dollar is one of my favorite coins! There is so much history to just this one coin.

If you are looking to get a Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, you can get change from vending machines, or ask your local bank teller. If you are still having trouble finding a Susan B. Anthony Dollar you can buy them on Amazon or eBay. (Seriously, check with your bank first though.)

Even proof coins can be bought for cheap. Here’s a SBA coin selling on Amazon:


What do you think of the Susan B Anthony Dollar coin? Share a comment and vote in our poll!

I am an Amazon Affiliate, so I earn a commission on sales made through my links. This does not increase the price of any item linked through my site. My main goal is to inform.

Side View Flying Eagle IHP

What is a Fatty Indian Head Penny?

It’s rude to call anyone a fatty, unless you are talking about the fatty Indian Head Penny (IHP).

The fatty Indian Head Penny refers to pennies minted from 1854-1864 when the pennies had a bigger diameter and were thicker. The 1856-1858 Flying Eagle Cents are also “Fatty” pennies.

  • Fatty Cent Weight: ~4.67 grams
  • Regular Cent Weight: ~3.11 grams

I don’t own a fatty Indian Head Penny, but I do have an 1857 Flying Eagle Cent we can use for comparison.

Flying Eagle and IHP obverse
Left: 1857 “Fatty” Flying Eagle Cent, Right: 1888 Indian Head Penny.

From above it is hard to see a difference between the size two coins. The 1857 Flying Eagle Cent has the same diameter as the 1888 Indian Head Penny.

When we look from the side, however, we can really see where “fatty” cents got their name:

Fatty Flying Eagle Cent vs Indian Head Penny

The Fatty Flying Eagle Cent is about 75% thicker than the regular cent. If these coins were being renamed today we would call fatty cents “chonky cents” instead.

Here is the reverse of these two coins:

Flying Eagle IHP Reverse Indian Head Penny
Flying Eagle Cent Reverse vs Indian Head Penny Reverse

Share any comments or questions in the comments below!

Top 7 Ugliest Coins in U.S. History

The U.S. Mint has made some really gorgeous coins over the last few decades… and some incredibly ugly coins. Let’s look at the ugliest coins ever made by the U.S. Mint.

Some of these are my opinion, and others were decided by popular opinion. If you feel like a coin deserves a spot on this list, post a comment or reach out on my Contact Page.

7.) JFK Presidential Dollar (2015)

John F. Kennedy Dollar Coin

We know the U.S. Mint can make a better JFK coin, because they did it on the Kennedy half dollar. All the presidential dollar coins are boring, but this one is on the verge of unattractive.

Not the ugliest coin on this list, but my biggest issue is how sad this coin looks. JFK looking down does not give him a presidential look, but more of a forlorn, forgotten look. Coins are all about symbolism, and I wish this coin had a more hopeful aspect to it.

6.) Cincinnati Half Dollar (1936)

cincinnati half dollar commemorative
Cincinnati Half Dollar

BORING!

This must have been done by one of the laziest engravers at the U.S. Mint. There are no details on lady liberty. She looks very blobby.

Besides the lack of detail, the ugliest part of this coin is Lady Liberty’s neck. Are you okay Miss Liberty? Necks are not supposed to bend like that.

5.) Flowing Hair Half Dollar and Dime (1794-1795)

1795 flowing hair half dollar
Flowing Hair Half Dollar

I can’t judge this coin too harshly, as it is one of the first coins made by the U.S. Mint, I’m sure they were still working out the kinks in the design process.

This coin has a some intricate detailing, but several design choices that are unappealing. First, Lady Liberty’s hairline looks strange to me. Perhaps she is suffering from early balding?

My biggest issue with this design is with the Eagle. This eagle looks more like a starving plucked chicken or a vulture than a powerful eagle. The head is way too small.

4.) Three Cent Silver (1851-1873)

Three Cent Silver Coin

Gosh, this coin is weird. It doesn’t resemble any other U.S. coinage, so I give the Mint points for bravery here.

The obverse reminds me of a sheriffs badge, and the reverse reminds me of a witches spell book. Most of the imagery makes sense, except for the large “C” on the reverse which I have yet to see an explanation for.

This coin was not popular in its time, nor is it popular for coin collectors today.

3.) Effigy Mounds Quarter (2017)

2017 d effigy mounds national monument quarter
Effigy Mounds Quarter

The Effigy Mounds Quarter is here due to public opinion, more than my own. Many coin collectors don’t like this quarter because the effigy mounds look like amorphous blobs in person.

In the picture above we can clearly see the blobs resemble animals, however in person the quarters are not as attractive once they’ve worn even slightly.

Personally, I like the effigy mounds quarter, I think the use of blank space is interesting and eye-catching, but I am in the minority with that opinion.

2.) Chain Cent (1793)

Chain Cent

The Chain Cent coin gives me the heebie-jeebies. Something is very scary about the depiction of Lady Liberty in the Chain Cent. She looks more like a body-less ghost floating around a haunted mansion than a symbol of strength.

The reverse is equally unappealing. I assume the chains are meant to signify unity, but it reads are more restricting and dystopian.

The shortening of “AMERICA” to “AMERI.” is also a strange choice, there is so much blank space on the reverse, there was easily room for the whole word.

I did not give this coin the number one spot on the list simply because it is a very early U.S. coinage.

1.) Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin (1979-1999)

1979 Susan B Anthony Dollar
Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin

So much went wrong in designing the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin. There was interference from lobbyists, outdated laws, and public interest groups all working together to make this one of the ugliest U.S. coins.

On its own, this coin has some really attractive elements. The eagle landing on the moon is one of my favorite coin reverses. But what does the moon landing have to do with Susan B. Anthony? Nothing.

The U.S. Mint wanted to design a coin that was not a perfect square, but vending machine lobbyists interfered because it would be more difficult to use in a vending machine. Instead of scrapping that idea, the mint left in the hexagonal edges.

I know several people don’t like this coin because they think Susan B. Anthony looks too ugly, and that is a silly argument. We don’t put people on coins because they are attractive, we put them on our coinage because they were influential and inspiring. Abraham Lincoln is on the penny, but he was widely regarded as being unattractive for his time.

I like this coin for the lore around why it has so many different elements, but ultimately it is the ugliest coin due to the lack of a coherent theme.


What did you think about this list? Anything you would have changed? Share a comment below!

How to Properly Get Coins Into Whitman Coin Folders

If you have tried to complete a Whitman folder, then you know how hard it can be to fit coins into their respective slots. Some coins slide in easily, while others take minutes of pushing and shoving to still be not correctly in.

One of the golden rules of handling coins is not to touch the surface of the coin and only handle a coin by holding the rim. But how do you get a coin into a folder without touching the surface?

Using cotton gloves is recommended when you do have to touch the surface of the coin. This does not help you push the coin in, but it may give you confidence to put your fingers on the surface to get more leverage.

If the problem is that you cannot get enough leverage, or the hole seems too tight. I have a hack for getting coins in a folder that has been very successful for me.

Here is the best way to get coins into a coin folder:

1.) Take out the coin that does not fit properly.

1962D Quarter not fitting in the folder.

Here is my 1962D silver quarter that will not fit properly into the album no matter how hard I try pushing with my thumb.

2.) Insert a new coin, and press it in with another object

Pressing a 2020 Quarter in to widen the hole.

I am using a 2020 Quarter to widen the hole just enough for my other quarter to fit. I used the edge of a plastic putty knife, but you can really use anything that gets you enough leverage on the coin since you don’t have to worry about damaging the surface.

A hammer, pencil, or cup would also work well to press the coin in.

Here is the 2020 quarter in a folder.

2020 Quarter temporarily in the folder.

3.) Push the new coin out of the folder.

Using my thumb to press the coin out from behind.

You can use your thumb on the back of the folder to gently push the coin out of its position. Try not to bend the cardboard during this part, just push the thin paper section behind the coin.

4.) Put the correct coin in.

1962D Quarter in a Whitman folder.

Now I was able to put the correct 1962D Quarter in its slot with less force. Test how secure the coin is by flipping the folder upside-down and giving it a shake.


It may seem silly to put so much thought into coins going into a Whitman folder, more often than not, Whitman folder coins will not be your best coins. If you want to prevent damage it should be in an Air-Tite container.


If folders are too difficult for you, you can get a Whitman coin album. The albums have a clear plastic surface that you pull back, and then drop the coin in. The other benefit of an album over a folder is that you can see the front and back of the coins.

The Inside Of A Franklin Half Dollar Album

Share a comment below with any other tips or tricks you may have. Remember to vote in the poll below!


I am an Amazon Affiliate, so I earn a commission on sales made through my links. This does not increase the price of any item linked through my site. My main goal is to inform.

Superbird 1952S Quarter

What is the 1952S Superbird Quarter?

The 1952S Superbird quarter is definitely one of the strangest quarter varieties known. It is named for a small “S” on the chest of the eagle on the reverse of the coin.

The current theory is that the “S” mark was made by a U.S. Mint employee who was a fan of the Superman comic series that was popular at the time. This is still a theory, as no one has come forward to claim responsibility for this quarter.

Superbird 1952S Quarter Circled
“S” on the 1952S Superbird Quarter circled.

We will likely never know who created this interesting variety. If the employee was 21 years old working at the mint in 1952, he or she would be 90 years old today!

This variety is only found on proof coins minted in San Francisco in 1952. Not every proof quarter from 1952 is a Superbird quarter. Currently, it is estimated that about 1/5 of every proof quarter from 1952 is the Superbird variety according to PCGS.

How visible is the “S”?

It is very difficult to see with the naked eye, this is why this coin made it out of the mint in the first place. In order to get a clear view of the S, you need about 5x magnification.

Superbird 1952S Quarter Close Up of S

I recently purchased a graded 1952S superbird quarter and I was surprised to find that it was very difficult to see the S with my naked eye. I had to move the coin into different lighting to even catch a glimpse.

How much is the Superbird Quarter worth?

This is not a very well-known variety, so the price has varied wildly.

Superbird 1952S Quarter Close Up
A side angled view of the 1952S Superbird Quarter.

Recently, (early 2021), the price has fallen since I first discovered this variety. Where an MS-63 was once catching $200 on EBay, they are now selling for closer to $90. I am not sure whether this is due to a decreasing demand, or an increasing supply.

Is this a good coin to own?

I definitely think this is a worthwhile coin to purchase if you like it. It makes a great conversation piece, as even non-coin collectors are intrigued by the idea of a Superman Quarter.

Get a graded one if you wish to purchase one. The S mark is so small, that even light scratches could easily make it illegible. Plus, grading will help others know what the coin is if it gets passed down, so having a slab with the words “Superbird” on it is a plus.

Superbird 1952S Quarter Obverse NGC Slab

If you can find one still in a proof set that would be an amazing find. These coins average around $100-$200, but can reach over $1,800 for higher grades.


If you want to learn more about proof sets, check out: “Buying Guide for United States Mint Proof Sets”

Share a comment below and vote in our poll!