How to Find Old & Rare Coins: A Guide

How to Find Old & Rare Coins: A Guide


Collecting old coins is a valuable hobby as it can generate income and or help build up a serious coin collection. Many that collect coins as a hobby either do it as mementos from various countries to which they have traveled. Other collectors that are not looking to profit from the coins they collect do so because of the historical fascination represented by rare or outdated items. And of course, there are plenty of people looking for valuable collectible coins.


Why Search for Old Coins? The number one reason to search for old coins is that certain ones can be quite valuable. Coins gain value due to two main factors:

  1. They are no longer being produced and thus decreasing in circulation, making them increasingly more difficult to find, and occasionally due to a unique marking on the coin itself either by limited edition or even less commonly, by mistake (such as a “two-headed” coin).
  2. Coins are also a common collector's item even for those not interested in profiting from them. Older coins add a unique element to any collection, oftentimes due to a historical context.

Best Places to Look for Old Coins:

The search for old coins may take a bit of hard work and persistence. There are a number of places and ways to find old coins, but the process may require resourcefulness by the searcher. Old coins are a common item in many antique shops. Where to find coins? Places that are generally empty, overlooked, or not often frequented such as abandoned houses, attics, beneath bridges, and posthole banks are sometimes a good place to look. Other more commonly seen places are generally overlooked. Some examples include:

  • backyards
  • inside walls
  • fountains
  • creeks

Typically, and incredibly for that matter, precious coins are found hidden plain sight.


Strategies for Finding Old Coins With & Without a Metal Detector:

You don’t need a shovel and metal detector to find old and rare coins. A popular and oftentimes successful way to search for old coins is by exchanging money at the bank for rolls of various coins and sifting through them. Banks have coins from various times and it may just require a deliberate search in order to come across one or more. Old coins of value are often hidden or buried though, sometimes in common areas, and another way of searching for these is by going over public areas with a metal detector. Finding old coins with a metal detector may require more effort and patience, however many valuables including aged or coins are often found by doing this.


How to Determine if Your Findings are Valuable

For those looking for old or rare coins for the value they may have accrued over time, it is imperative to be able to know if what you have found is valuable or not. The simplest way is to look up the coin’s current value either online or in a book based on date and type or to consult with an expert on the matter such as professional collectors or dealers. Posting on sites such as eBay will give you an idea of the amount people are willing to pay for the item. A simple online search might also give you some useful information. Make sure to identify the coins condition as well as any defects or oddities about the coin.


Additional Coin Search Strategies

Make sure that when you find a coin that you mark down the location where it was discovered. Often the location of one old coin contains others yet be found.

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Be Constantly Mindful

Deliberate searches for old or rare coins are very hit or miss in general. Sometimes, a person can go years or decades of looking without finding anything of worth. Other times these coins are found without even trying; they can appear in your possession just by chance. Whether it is change from a store or coins on the ground, or bowls of change at home, be sure to inspect because the chances of unintentionally finding a valuable coin are often just as good as finding one deliberately.


Additional Tips for Seekers of Old Coins Remember that just because a coin is old or deformed in some manner does not automatically make it of greater value. Always be sure to find out the value of your findings from legitimate and trustworthy sources. Be creative when thinking of ways and places to search. The chances of finding something valuable might be just as rare as the coins you are hoping to find. Be sure not to get frustrated or give up and remember that it often requires a full-time effort and a constant state of awareness of the coins you come across daily even when you are not actively going out to look at that moment.


Ancient Coins That You Can Buy If your search turns up empty, you can always buy an old coin. International Precious Metals has an exclusive collection of ancient coins that you can buy for competitive prices. One of the most rare and in-demand old coins is Alexander The Great Gold Stater coin, dating back to 336 B.C.! You can check it out here. Due to the rarity of these coins we ask that you call our office for prices. We can be reached at: 800.781.2090


To learn more about rare and valuable coins, explore our blog section and read from topics including Green Pennies & Cleaning Old Coins, Indian Head Penny, & The Most Valuable US Coins in Circulation.