Bicentennial Coin Header 2 Little Drummer Boy Coins

What Are Little Drummer Boy Quarters?

If you have seen these quarters floating around, it’s pretty obvious why they are called little drummer boy quarters. The little drummer boy quarter is the 1776 bicentennial quarter pictured below:

It is called the “Little Drummer Boy” Quarter because it has a soldier drumming on the back. The name is a joke about the Christmas song about the little drummer boy. The bicentennial quarter does not actually depict the little boy in the 1941 Christmas song.

When was the little drummer boy quarter released?

The quarter was minted from 1975 to 1976, but every coin has the 1976 date on it, even if it was minted in 1975. (That means there are no 1975 quarters!!)

Why does the quarter have 1776 on it?

Anyone asking this should have paid a little more attention in history class. 1776 was the year the US declared independence from England!

The bicentennial anniversary of independence day was celebrated with the 1976 quarter.

Was the little drummer boy quarter the only bicentennial coin?

Nope! In fact, the US mint released a bicentennial half dollar and dollar coin as well. (Unfortunately, dimes, pennies, and nickels remained the same for the year.)

Above is the half dollar coin. It depicts Independence Hall in Philadelphia where the Declaration of Independence was signed!

Are Little Drummer Boy Quarters valuable?

No, not really. Since the bicentennial quarters were the only big change to the quarter design from 1932 to 1999, even non-collectors would pick the coins from circulation.

Some collectors still hoard them in hopes the value will rise in the future, personally I see so many in circulation that it is hard to imagine the prices rising much in my lifetime. If you see one in near mint condition it may be worth it to save.

Do bicentennial coins come in proof sets?

Yes! All 3 bicentennial coins come in the proof sets. The interesting thing about these proof sets is that the dollar, half dollar, and quarter were the same for 1975 and 1976!

Do people actually call them “Little Drummer Boy Quarters”?

I almost always call these bicentennial quarters, but I do occasionally see them referred to jokingly as Little Drummer Boy quarters. It’s a cute name.


Do you keep bicentennial quarters you find? Vote in our poll and leave a comment 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


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!

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!

Penny, Dime, Half Dime Sizes Small Coins

Sizes of U.S. Coins Past and Present

Why is a penny larger than a dime? Why is a nickel larger than both the dime and the penny? Why are half dollar coins so big?

The sizes of these coins may seem confusing. To understand the sizes of modern day coins, we have to look at the history of how these coins came to be.

Below is a chart of the sizes of modern U.S. Coins.

Modern Coins By Size Chart Millimeters
U.S. coins organized by diameter in millimeters.

Why is a penny larger than a dime?

Coins used to be valued based on their metal composition. A penny was larger than a dime, because pennies were made of copper, and dimes were made of silver. Since silver is more valuable than copper, the dime had to be made smaller than the penny.

Why is a nickel larger than a dime?

Before the nickel was invented in 1866, the U.S. used another coin called a half dime. The half dime weighed about half as much as a silver dime.

Due to rising silver prices, the U.S. Mint decided to halt production of the half dime and begin making a new coin out of nickel. Since their inception, nickels have been made of 75% copper and 25% nickel.

The size of the 5 cent piece, known as the nickel, has increased from 20.5mm in the first nickel to 21.5mm in modern nickels.

What was the smallest U.S. coin ever produced?

The smallest U.S. coin currently in circulation is the Roosevelt dime, but the smallest U.S. coin ever minted was the gold dollar in 1849 at 13mm in diameter.

Here is a chart of some of the smallest coins minted in the U.S.:

Smallest Coins in US History by Size Chart

Why are half dollar coins bigger than dollar coins?

Half dollar coins have not always been larger than dollar coins. Before 1979, dollar coins were 38.1 mm in diameter.

When coins were valued by the metal composition, a silver dollar needed to weigh about twice as much as a half dollar.

What is the largest coin ever made in the US?

The largest coin ever produced in the US was the Draped Bust Dollar at a tremendous 40mm. Since the coin was 90% silver, it weighed almost 27 grams.

Carrying just 17 of the Draped Bust dollar coins in your pocket would have weighed over 1 pound! Comparing that to modern dollar coins, you would need to have 56 presidential dollar coins to equal a pound.

Largest Coins Minted in the US Measured in Millimeters America Coin Sizes
Largest Coins Minted in the US Measured in Millimeters.

Was this article helpful? If you have any more questions about coin sizes, add a comment below!

A Wheat Penny from a Roll of Pennies

What Makes Coin Collecting a Great Hobby?

For the uninformed, coin collecting may seem like a boring hobby. After all, most people touch dozens of coins a day and have never become interested in coins. If you dig a little deeper, you will find that there is much to love about the hobby.

Since coins have been around, they have been stored for their bullion value which is the value of gold, silver, and other precious metals. It wasn’t until the 14th Century that coins began being stored for their artistic and historical value as well.

During the Renaissance Era, kings, queens, and nobility began collecting coins as a sign of wealth. The Italian scholar Petrarch is the most notable and knowledgeable coin collector of the time.

Possibly because only nobility could afford to purchase and store coins for long amounts of time, coin collecting became known as “The Hobby of Kings”. As always, it was not long before the middle class began emulating this behavior and started collecting coins.

Coin collecting prevails to this day; a great hobby for the young and old. Keep reading to discover what makes coin collecting a fun and enjoyable hobby for millions of people around the world.

What Draws People to Coin Collecting Today?

I have friends ask me all the time what makes me so addicted to coins. There are many reasons I love coin collecting, it’s a hobby that is always evolving while still maintaining a sense of history and traditionalism.

Below is my list of the best parts about coin collecting. All these are aspects which drew me into the hobby and keep me interested in it. I think most numismatists will agree that this hobby has many facets and there are always new coins to enjoy and discover.


Coins are rich with history. Each coin is a product of the year, political climate, and social trends of the time. People who study coins are called numismatists. The study of coins can tell us a lot about a time period.

By the metal composition, we can know the resources in a surrounding area. This could also inform us of trade routes and the wealth of the country producing them.

By the art, we can get a sense of what was important to people of the time and what traits the government wanted its citizens to value. We also see what political figures were honored.

Even the condition of coins can tell us about the economy during a certain time period. The more worn down a coin is, the more it was used in circulation. Using this analysis, a scholar can figure out what denomination was used most at a certain time. This could help track inflation in history.


Coin collectors have their own economy to price coins. Coin prices change every year depending on trends in the hobby. Coins can be bought and sold for thousands of dollars.

A buyer can speculate on the price of coins, buying a coin with the plan to sell it at a later date at a higher value, or a buyer can look for discounted coins with the goal of immediately flipping the coin for a profit. Many people have made businesses on the buying and selling of coins.

That is not to say that becoming a coin dealer is easy. It takes years of learning to develop a good eye for well-priced coins. Most dealers start as collectors, who after enough years amass enough knowledge to begin successfully selling.


Coin collecting is it’s own community; whether online or in-person, coin collecting has brought generations of different people together.

There are hundreds of ways to meet like minded people who are interested in coins. Reddit, coin shops, coin forums, coin events, word of mouth, family members, all places are great for finding others who value coins.

The best part about the coin community is that we are bonded by a common interest. Within that, everyone has their own expertise. There is very little one-upmanship, most coin collectors are eager to share their knowledge for the sake of teaching another human being about coins.

Store of Value

Some collectors are less interested in the art of a coin, but the coin’s metal composition. Before 1964, many US coins were made for circulation with silver. Since then, silver has increased in value to make a silver quarter worth about $3!

If we look back even farther in US History, coins were minted in gold. In the early 1800’s, gold was worth about $18.93 per troy ounce. Today, the same amount of gold is worth about $1,866!

Some collectors keep coins as a hedge against inflation, or to protect themselves against a crash of the US dollar.


Most coin collectors are interested in the hobby as a life-long pursuit, buying a few coins a year and storing them. Eventually, the coins are passed on, usually through family members. Although some families choose to liquidate the collection, many treasure the coins as a memory of their family member.

It’s easy to get kids interested in coins by setting them up with a coin folder and a roll of coins to search though. I remember my grandfather giving me a State Quarter Folder when I was 9 years old that I still have today!

Promise of Treasures

I am always learning about new types of coins, errors, and varieties. The idea that I may have a coin already in my collection that could be worth hundreds is very exciting. Perhaps, if you took the time to look through even the change in your car you could find something valuable.

One of my favorite pursuits in coin collecting is the activity of coin roll hunting. This is where you get rolls of coins from the bank and search them for treasures. It is a cheap and easy way to find new coins for my collection. (Click Here to Learn More About Coin Roll Hunting.)

If you are looking to start coin collecting, I would recommend getting the proper supplies. This article on the Essential Items to Handle and Store Coins should help.

I would also recommend a new collector purchase a Red Coin Collectors Guidebook. You can read more about why I recommend this book by clicking here.

Anything I missed? Add a comment below and share what makes you love coin collecting!