The American Gold Buffalo is a 24-karat gold bullion coin minted by the United States Mint. It’s first release was in 2006, brought about by the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, that mandated the issuance of a $50 bullion coin featuring the American Bison design on the 1913 Buffalo nickel.
The American Gold Eagle coin has been the most popular gold coin of the United States Mint since its introduction in 1986. These coins were made possible by the Gold Bullion Act of 1985, which authorized the mint to produce gold coins using domestic (American mined) gold.
Coin collectors have a vocabulary they use to describe the coins they collect. Learning the lingo will help you clearly communicate with other coin collectors (numismatists). If I missed a term, please say so in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.
The dollar coin have been around since the mint began producing coins in 1794, but because demand dwindled the mint stopped producing dollar coins for circulation in 2011. This article reviews all US dollar coins, from silver and gold dollars, to the modern metal clad “silver” and “golden” dollars.
The half dollar has been produced every year in the US since the US Mint was formed in 1794. Up until 1964 quarters were made of 90% silver, then from 1965 to 1969 they were made of 40% silver, and and from 1971 onward they’re copper-nickel clad. In the past half dollars were widely used, but demand dropped after the move away from silver and eventually production for circulation stopped in 2001). The following half dollar design variations were minted for general circulation: Flowing Hair half dollar (1794-1795), Draped Bust half dollar (1796-1807), Capped Bust half dollar (1807-1839), Seated Liberty half dollar (1839-1891), Barber half dollar (1892-1915), Walking Liberty half dollar (1916-1947), Franklin half dollar (1948-1963), Kennedy 90% silver half dollar (1964). Kennedy 40% silver half dollar (1965-1969), Kennedy copper-nickel clad half dollar (1971-2002). From 2002 onward Kennedy half dollars have been made to satisfy the demand of collectors but not for general circulation.
The first quarters were minted in 1796 and made of silver. It wasn’t until 1965 that silver was swapped out for a cheaper copper-nickel alloy. The quarter has undergone many variations: Draped Bust quarter (1796-1807), Capped Bust quarter (1815-1838), Seated Liberty quarter (1838-1891), Barber quarter (1892-1916), Standing Liberty quarter (1916-1930), Washington silver quarter (1932-1964), and the Washington copper-nickel quarter (1965-present).
The silver twenty-cent coin was only minted for circulation for two years (1875, 1876) before it was abolished. It was very similar in size, design, and value to the quarter… resulting in confusion and little demand. It’s just a fraction smaller than the quarter but unlike a quarter it has a smooth rim.
The dime, worth ten cents, has been minted in the US since 1792. Dimes (originally “disme”) were made of roughly 90% silver until the Coinage Act of 1965, after which they were made of a copper and nickel. There are several design variations: Draped Bust dime (1796-1807), Capped Bust dime (1809-1837), Seated Liberty dime (1837-1891), Barber dime (1892-1916), Winged Liberty Head aka Mercury Dime (1916-1945), Roosevelt dime (1946-present).
The silver half dime, worth five cents, is the precursor to the nickel. It was first minted in 1792 and continued until 1873 when it was replaced with the cheaper to produce nickel. There are several nickel designs: Flowing Hair nickel (1794-1797), Draped Bust Small Eagle Reverse nickel (1796-1797), Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle Reverse (1800-1805), Capped Bust nickel (1829-1837), Seated Liberty nickel (1837-1873).
Three-cent coins comes in two variations: the three-cent silver coin (1851-1873) and the three-cent nickel (1865-1889). The three-cent silver coin features of six headed star, the three-cent nickel features the Liberty head. They’re very small… they have a diameter slightly smaller than a modern dime. Production of the three-cent pieces ceased after the Coinage Act of 1873.