Top Ten You can have an impressive collection with just these 10 coins.

The Top Ten Most Essential U.S. Coins

The United States of America has been minting coins for over 200 years in a variety of denominations and designs. It has produced coins from different regional mints over the years with occational production problems that ininvertively created special varieties, some of which have become highly valued to collectors. The result is a rich heritage of U.S. Coins struck in many different types of metals with a wide range of designs, denominations, and variations.

Exhibiting them all would be a Herculean task, and perhaps a bit overwhelming for all but the most dedicated numismatists. Instead, we wanted a simple VirMu exhibit that would highlight the most beautiful coin designs with the broadest historical influences. And so we decided to limit this exhibit to only 10 coins, and we resisted all urges to broaden it. We asked seasoned collectors what they would collect if they could only select ten. After exhaustive discussions and debates we assembled our list.

But we didn't take every recommendation at face value. We went against the numismatic grain by de-emphasizing specific years and rare varieties; and instead emphasizing general types of coins (also referred to as a series). So for example, if a collector singled-out the very rare 1893-S Morgan Dollar as a must-have, we dug in deeper to look for the essential motivation. What was so special about the Morgan Dollar that attracted this collector in the first place? Generally speaking, we found that collectors looking for a particular rare coin variety also have a significant interest in the type of coin to which that rarity belongs. We focused on that root interest to build our list.

Our exhibit thus highlights coin types; and while we do point out the rare varieties, we also recommend more affordable alternative years and mintages. What we learned along the way is that you don't have to spend a fortune to have a great coin collection. We believe that you can have an impressive collection with just these 10 coins:

1.  Saint-Gaudens Twenty Dollar
2.  Indian Head Ten Dollar
3.  American Buffalo Ten Dollar
4.  Coronet Head Ten Dollar
5.  George Washington Five Dollar
6.  Walking Liberty Half Dollar
7.  Kennedy Half Dollar
8.  Peace Dollar
9.  Morgan Dollar
10. Indian Head Cent

Thank you to the collectors that allowed us photograph their coins. We hope you enjoy this VirMu exhibit, and we hope you find it informative.

Click on the left-side menu to view the pages for each coin.

First Exhibit Item: Saint-Gaudens Twenty Dollar

Find similar coind by using our quick search links to eBay on the left.