Types of collectible coins

Types of collectible coins
Different types of collectible coins

A coin collecting guide about the different types of collectible coins. What coins are considered collectable? What coins to look for that are worth money?

Coin collecting can be both enjoyable and challenging.  Discovering coins of different sorts and class is fun but it may also be hard to maintain and organize a confused mixture of collectible coins.  

To avoid such difficulty, advanced collectors would often advice newbies to decide on what type of coins to collect and focus on it.

Different types of collectible coins

Business strikes or regular coins

Business-Strike Eisenhower Dollars
Business strike Eisenhower dollars

Business strikes are the coins minted by a government mint for general circulation.  In other words, business strikes are the coins used as money by the public for day-to-day transactions. This type of coin is also called regular issue or commercial strike.

Rare coins

1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle
1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle

Rare coins are the coins which are scarce in supply.  These types are usually more expensive especially if they are famous rare coins. An example of is the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle.  There is only one original specimen of 1933 Double Eagle in existence today and it is the most valuable coin in the world. Rare coins can be composed of different metals, some numismatists are specialized in collecting rare gold coins, others are in rare silver coins, etc..

Bullion coins

2018 US 50 Dollar 1-oz American Gold Buffalo Bullion Coin
2018 US 50 Dollar 1-oz American gold buffalo bullion coin

Bullion coins are made from precious metals; for example are gold coins, silver coins, and platinum coins.  These types of coins are collected and kept as a store of value or an investment.  They are usually paid for or sold at a premium (higher than the market price of the metal it is made from) because of several factors such as cost of manufacture and the existing demand for the coins.

Error coins

1965 quarter dollar error coin
An example of an error coin – 1965 quarter dollar error coin

Coins with striking or mint mistakes are called error coins. Coins with striking errors are highly collectible or in demand because of their rarity.  A very common example of a mint error is the off-center strike wherein the design is stamped only on a portion of the coin.

Ancient coins or Antique coins

Ancient Roman coins
Ancient Roman coins

Ancient coins are the collectable coins minted during the early eras. An example is the Celtics coin, the known oldest coin is the Lydian Lion which was made around 600 BC.

During 400 BC, aside from being used as money, Roman coins were also considered transportable works of art.  Thus, it is believed that the hobby of coin collecting started in these times.  Today, many numismatists are passionate about ancient coins collecting and identifying Ancient Roman coins because ot its high coin values.


The definition of exonumia has been subject to confusion or debates.  The widely accepted definition is that exonumia are numismatic items not issued by the government for currency (like paper money and coins); others define it as “anything coin like”.

Examples are elongated coins, challenge coins, tokens, casino chips and medals.  The following are also believed to fall under exonumia:

Proof coins

A proof coin is a collectible coin struck using chemically treated dies resulting to coins with excellent luster and superior eye appeal.  Modern proof coins usually bear a cameo portrait which has a frosted or matte texture contrasting its exceptionally shiny surface.

Commemorative coins

Commems or commemorative coins collecting is also popular in numismatics.  Commemoratives coins are coins minted in memorial of important people or events among others.  An example is the 9/11 coin which was made in memory of the September 11 bombing of the Twin Towers in the US.

Reproduction coins

Reproduction coins are also called replica coins.  These are intently copied coins to be used as collectable items or souvenirs.  For them not to be mistaken as the real specimen, reproduction coins are inscribed with “replica” or other equivalent wording.

Thematic coins

Thematic coins are those which bear designs following a theme or pattern.  Common themes are wildlife on coins, sports coins, zodiac, romantic coins, presidential coins, etc.

Bimetal coins

Coins which consist of more than one metal or alloy (e.g. a coin with a copper center and a bronze outer ring) are called bimetal coins or bimetallic coins. This type of coin can be a mere collectible coin or a circulating coin.  The first modern circulating bimetal coin was the 500 Italian lire issued in 1982.

There may still be a plenty of collectible coins in the numismatic world.  The directory above contains a list of websites that feature various types of collectible coins.

I am passionate about the historical, cultural, and artistic aspects of currency. I collect coins and banknotes from various countries and time periods, focusing on specific themes, time periods, or regions that I find interesting. I also love to study the historical context of the currency that influenced coinage and currency issuance.