Values of Popular Coins in the US

Popular coins offer a great vehicle for investing. Bullion, proof and uncirculated coins carry value both from their precious metal content and from their scarcity. Around the United States, several key coins have gained immense popularity for collectors. Get to know these coins, their values and the variations that have been released over the years.

What Are Some of the Most Popular Coins in the U.S.?

In the United States, there are several popular coin designs for collectors to consider. These are not all minted in the U.S., but they are all popular for collectors throughout the country. Here are some of the most popular coins and their values:

American Eagle

The American Eagle has been minted since 1986, shortly after President Ronald Reagan signed the Gold Bullion Act of 1985. This coin gave the United States the opportunity to compete in the global coin market with its own distinctive gold bullion piece. [1] This has long been complemented by a silver piece that’s available in proof and bullion finishes, just like the gold version. The one-ounce gold American Eagle has a face value of $50, while the silver American Eagle’s face value is $1.

In 1997, a Platinum American Eagle bullion coin with a face value of $100 joined the collection. This was followed by a Palladium American Eagle with a face value of $25 in 2017. [4]

The Gold American Eagle features Lady Liberty by Augustus Saint-Gaudens on the obverse and an eagle family designed by Miley Busiek on the reverse. The reverse will feature a new design beginning in 2021. [2] The Silver American Eagle bullion coin features Adolph A. Weinman’s ‘Walking Liberty’ on the obverse with a heraldic eagle on the reverse. [5]

The Platinum American Eagle bullion coin is the only investment-grade platinum coin available from the United States Government. These coins have Lady Liberty by John Mercanti on the obverse and an eagle by Thomas D. Rogers on the reverse. Similarly, the Palladium American Eagle is the only investment-grade palladium coin in the United States, authorized in 2010 and released in 2017. The obverse has Weinman’s ‘Winged Liberty’ design, while the reverse features his Gold Medal design created for the 1907 American Institute of Architects. [6]

Gold Buffalo

The Gold Buffalo is a limited edition proof coin produced by the U.S. Mint with a face value of $50. The obverse and reverse of the coin feature the signature images shown on the Buffalo Nickel designed by James Earle Fraser. You’ll find the majestic bison on one side and a Native American head on the other. This one-ounce coin was first produced in 2006. It was the first 24-karat bullion coin produced by the U.S. Mint. [5]

Canadian Maple Leaf

The first gold Canadian Maple Leaf, with a face value of $50, was released in 1979 and was the only pure gold coin on the market at that time. The Canadian maple leaf appears on the reverse of the coin with Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. The Queen has appeared in several different designs: [7]

  • 1979 to 1989: Queen Elizabeth II at age 39
  • 1990 to 2003: Queen Elizabeth II at age 64
  • 2004 to present: Queen Elizabeth II at age 79

Several other variants are also available for this popular coin, including:

  • 1989: 10th Anniversary of the coin
  • 1997: 125th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mint
  • 1999: 20th Anniversary of the coin
  • 2004: 25th Anniversary of the coin
  • 1999, 2001, 2009: Hologram Gold Maple Leaf
  • 1999 and 2010: Colorized Gold Maple Leaf to celebrate the Vancouver Winter Olympics

The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf was first minted in 1988. This coin has more than 150 variations, all of which have limited mintage runs that add to their value as collectibles. This coin has a $5 face value and is available in bullion, proof and uncirculated mints.

The platinum Canadian Maple Leaf coin was minted from 1988 to 2001. It was reintroduced in 2009 and is now available in one-ounce coins that have a face value of $50.

South African Krugerrand

The Gold Krugerrand came out in 1967. It was released as a way for South Africa to enter the world’s gold market. Over the following decade, production rose such that the Krugerrand accounted for 90% of the world’s coin market. As other countries increased their coin production in the 1980s and 1990s, the price for the Krugerrand dropped, though the coin has still remained valuable. A silver Krugerrand was released in 1967. In 2017, an anniversary edition of the coin was released in gold, silver and platinum. [8]

The third president of South Africa, Paul Kruger, appears on the obverse of the coin, giving it its name. The reverse of the coin pictures a springbok antelope. Interestingly, the Krugerrand has no face value. Though it is considered legal tender, its value is entirely dependent upon the current value of the metal.

How Have the Prices of These Coins Changed Since Release?

Several key factors have influenced the price of these coins over time, including:

  • The value of the precious metal that the coin is minted from. Silver, gold, platinum and palladium prices fluctuate regularly. The current value of the metal will impact the value of any coins that are minted from it.
  • The coin’s availability. Coins that come from a limited mint are more difficult to find and will command a higher price. In comparison, those that are readily available are slightly cheaper. The underlying value of the metal determines the base price for the coin, but rarity may add a slight premium.
  • Historic significance. A coin’s value may increase when it becomes part of a historic set, as the current Gold American Eagle will after its 2021 redesign. Interest may rise and fall with other cultural or historical events as well.

In general, all coins have a face value. This amount is typically far less than the value of the metal or the coin itself. However, if a metal is suddenly devalued, the coin will still retain its face value. [9]

These extremely intriguing historical coins are valued primarily based on the metal in their composition. However, rarity in design for special edition coins will boost the price. If you’re considering purchasing one of these popular coins, research each individual version carefully for a better understanding of the values of coins on this list.


Article Sources

1. Mint News Blog. ‘President Ronald Reagan and the Gold Bullion Act of 1985,’ https://mintnewsblog.com/president-ronald-reagan-and-the-gold-bullion-act-of-1985/. Accessed October 23, 2020.

2. United States Mint. ‘American Eagle Gold Proof Coin,’ https://www.usmint.gov/coins/coin-medal-programs/american-eagle/gold-proof. Accessed September 8, 2020.

3. United States Mint. ‘American Buffalo Coins,’ https://catalog.usmint.gov/coins/coin-programs/american-buffalo-coins/. Accessed September 8, 2020.

4. United States Mint. ‘American Eagle Coin Program,’ https://www.usmint.gov/learn/coin-and-medal-programs/american-eagle. Accessed September 13, 2020.

5. United States Mint. ‘American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins,’ https://www.usmint.gov/coins/coin-medal-programs/american-eagle/silver-bullion. Accessed September 13, 2020.

6. United States Mint. ‘American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coins,’ https://www.usmint.gov/coins/coin-medal-programs/american-eagle/palladium-bullion. Accessed September 13, 2020.

7. Coins Weekly. ‘Bullion Coins Part 2: The Maple Leaf,’ https://coinsweekly.com/bullion-coins-part-2-the-maple-leaf/. Accessed October 23, 2020.

8. CoinWeek. ‘South Africa Issues Silver, Platinum Krugerrands for 50th Anniversary,’ https://coinweek.com/bullion-report/bullion-coins-specialty-categories/south-africa-issues-silver-platinum-krugerrands-50th-anniversary/. Accessed September 13, 2020.

9. Investopedia. ‘Gresham’s Law,’ https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/greshams-law.asp. Accessed October 23, 2020.