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Complete Your Collection: What You Need to Know About Key Date Coins

Coins of Russia. Russian commemorative 10 ruble coin dedicated to the 60th Anniversary of End of World War II.

While it might seem like an old-fashioned hobby to some, the popularity of coin collecting has exploded in the past ten years. By some estimates, around 140 million people enjoy the “king of hobbies”. Experienced collectors know the value of key date coins, and they often spend years looking for them.

Whether you’re a novice or expert hobbyist, you may not know the importance of these rare coins. This guide will help you add or finish your coin collection.

Defining Key Date Coins

Key date coins are the rarest coins in a series and one of the most expensive to collect. In simple terms, it refers to a coin with a specific date or a date and mint mark combination. This combination is what makes them so hard to find.

Mint marks refer to the city where the coin was made. It’s denoted by a single letter, such as “P” for Philidelphia, “D” for Denver, and “S” for San Francisco. 

Determining the Value of Key Date Coins?

The value of key date rare coins depends on several factors, including mintage, survival rate, condition rarity, and the overall demand and popularity among collectors. Let’s look at some of these factors.

  • Mintage – Refers to the number of coins that were produced or “struck”
  • Survival numbers – Basically, how many of the coins still exist or are still in circulation
  • Condition rarity – Refers to coins with a high degree of preservation

Of course, a combination of survival numbers versus demand drives up the value of a coin.

Coin Sets

One of the other factors that make these coins on the key date coins list. They’re usually the first or last coin a collector obtains for a particular set. It’s basically the “key” component of a coin set. 

U.S. Mint Sets refer to a set of uncirculated coins that were produced a particular mint in a specific year. Each set contains one uncirculated coin of each denomination, which was minted that year. The coin also needs to be in the original minted condition.

Each year’s set of coins should contain:

  • Penny
  • Nickel
  • Dime
  • Quarter
  • Half dollar
  • Dollar coin

There are some exceptions as some sets did not contain all denominations. Other sets had denominations with more than one design.

Examples of Popular and Rare Key Date Coins

Now that you know a little bit more about key date coins, it’s a good idea to give some examples so you know what to look for to round start or finish a coin set.

Getting excited about finding key date coins? Start coin collecting now.

The Key to Collection Success

Understanding the importance and rarity of key date coins will help you finish a coin set for your collection. This guide will help you determine what is a key date coin so you can begin your search.

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