What dollar coins are valuable? There are a handful of rare and valuable dollar coins floating around out there that are worth far more than face value. If your pockets are stuffed with dollars, you may want to empty them and take a closer look.

In short – the most valuable dollar coins are early specimen strikes, coins with unique mint errors, certain Olympic coins, and variations like the 1970-D Kennedy Half Dollar, among a few others.

In this comprehensive guide, we will give you the full scoop on valuable dollar coins. You’ll learn key dates, mint marks, and details that make certain dollar coins worth a pretty penny.

Early Specimen Strikes

1804 Draped Bust Silver Dollar

The 1804 Draped Bust silver dollar is one of the rarest and most valuable of all US coins. Only 8 specimen examples are known to exist. These dollars were actually struck in the 1830s as special presentation pieces for diplomatic gifts on behalf of the Department of State.

President Andrew Jackson ordered the coins to be struck for diplomatic missions with Siam (present-day Thailand), Muscat (Oman), and Cochin China (southern Vietnam). These specimen strikes now trade hands for millions of dollars whenever they appear at auction.

1838 Gobrecht Silver Dollar

The 1838 Gobrecht silver dollar was one of the first attempts to reintroduce the silver dollar denomination. Mintage was low, with only around 1,000 circulation strikes produced. However, a small number of rare pattern specimens were also struck with special designs.

These included varieties with a seated Liberty design by Christian Gobrecht, one of the US Mint’s engravers. Only around 100-125 Gobrecht specimen dollars are believed to exist today. High-grade examples have sold for over $3 million at auction when they surfaced from prominent early US coin collections.

Mint Errors

Blank Planchets

Blank planchets are coin blanks that have accidentally been struck without any design. This rare minting error occurs when a blank planchet enters the press without any dies in place and receives an impression. The result is a featureless coin with a rough, dimpled surface.

These oddities are highly sought-after by error coin collectors.

According to the numismatic website Error Ref, blank planchets are more common on cents and nickels, but do occasionally occur on dollars, dimes, quarters, and half dollars. One famous example is the 2004-D Wisconsin quarter that sold for over $10,000 because it was struck on a blank planchet.

Double Struck Coins

Double-struck coins occur when a coin gets struck multiple times by the coining press. Normally, coin blanks only go through the press once. However, errors can cause a blank to fail to eject properly and move back under the dies for a second impression.

Coins that are double, triple, or even quadruple struck tend to display strong visual doubling of design elements. A second blow will overlay details like lettering and date numerals. More strikes create an even busier jumbled look.

Definitive diagnostics include multiple instances of the coin’s rim and edge lettering.

While double strikes happen periodically, coins with three or four strikes are rare. In 2018, an 1858 Seated Liberty dime with a triple strike sold for over $14,000 at auction due to its uniqueness and eye appeal.

Off-Center Strikes

Off-center coins are created when a blank planchet is fed into the coining press improperly. When the upper die comes down to strike the coin, the blank is not properly centered between the two dies. This results in a dramatic off-center image.

The most valuable off-center coins show extremely dramatic shifts in the image. A rule of thumb is at least 50% or more of the coin’s diameter should be affected. For example, a 1945 Lincoln wheat cent struck 60% off-center once auctioned for over $12,000.

Off-Center Percentage Collector Value
Less than 10% Small premium
10-30% Modest premium
30-50% High premium
Over 50% Sky-high premium

As illustrated in the table above, off-center coins with a smaller percentage of image displacement are less dramatic and command lower premiums from collectors and investors.

Modern Rarities

1995-W Silver Eagle Proof

The 1995-W Silver Eagle proof coin is considered one of the key rarities in the American Silver Eagle series. The “W” mint mark signifies it was struck at the West Point Mint in New York. Only 30,125 proof versions were released for collectors that year, making it relatively scarce (PCGS).

Unlike bullion and uncirculated Silver Eagles, the ’95 proof trades for substantial premiums above its silver melt value. Recent sales of graded examples in their original government packaging have exceeded $3,000 to $5,000 (NGC).

2000-P Sacagawea ‘Cheerios’ Dollar

To promote the new golden-colored Sacagawea dollar coin in 2000, the United States Mint partnered with General Mills for a special promotion inserting the 2000-P issues into boxes of Cheerios cereal. An estimated 5,500 of these Sacagawea dollars feature a bold, sharp “P” mint mark from the Philadelphia Mint and have the distinctive “Cheerios” pedigree.

These Cheerios dollars are immensely popular with casual collectors and series specialists. “The Sac dollar already has strong collectibility based solely on the golden color and design. The fascinating backstory and private ownership have created even greater appeal,” explains top coin expert Jason Carter.

Uncirculated examples have sold for up to $15,000 at auction when graded and certified by third-party companies like PCGS or NGC (USA Coin Book).

2007 John Adams Dollar

While modern U.S. circulation dollars rarely carry much in the way of premium value some Presidential dollar coins do stand out, and the John Adams presidential coin is an exception. Mintage stopped early in 2007 after an unknown early mintage number created a major rarity.

The U.S. Treasury stopped production shortly after the coin’s release once officials noticed the second president’s face showed a disfiguring defect. This doubling of Adams’ facial features prompted a full-scale recall, with Americans urged to exchange flawed coins for corrected versions (CoinWorld).

An unknown, small quantity escaped into circulation before the defects were caught, leaving an ultra-scarce collectible.

The public returned around 300,000 Adams dollars before the Mint melted them down and struck new ones. The elusive release with Adams’ distorted face now sells for up to $2,800 in some online auctions when graded MS66 by industry leader PCGS.

Other Notable Coins

Eisenhower Dollars

The Eisenhower dollar was minted from 1971 to 1978 to honor former President Dwight D. Eisenhower. These large 40% silver dollars have a copper-nickel clad composition and a diameter of 1.5 inches. While not scarce in lower grades, Eisenhower dollars in MS65 or higher condition are valuable collectibles today, with prices ranging from $25 to $75 on average.

Some key dates that collectors look for include the 1975 no-S proof coin valued at $300+ and the 1976 silver bicentennial coin worth $8 to $20. Additionally, there were fewer Eisenhower dollars minted in the last couple of years of production – only 4.3 million in 1977 and 3.0 million in 1978.

So these dates tend to trade for slight premiums over common years.

Susan B. Anthony Dollars

Minted from 1979 to 1981 and again in 1999, the Susan B. Anthony dollar honors the women’s suffrage movement leader. Made of a copper-nickel-clad composition, these coins have the same dimensions as the Eisenhower dollar.

While abundant in circulation, higher-grade Susan B. Anthony dollars carry good premiums. An MS65 example sells for around $50 while an MS67 commands $150 to $200.

With a modest original mintage of 36 million, the 1981 coins trade slightly higher than the others. Additionally, there are a few rare varieties like the 1979 wide rim proof valued at $2,250 in PR69 condition. Overall, Susan B. Anthony dollars represent affordable yet historical issues to collect.

American Silver Eagles

Since their introduction in 1986, the 1 oz American Silver Eagle bullion coins have become extremely popular with stackers and collectors alike. Struck in 99.9% fine silver, these iconic coins feature Walking Liberty on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse.

While common in lower grades, MS70 and PR70 American Silver Eagles sell for big premiums upwards of $100 or more over spot silver value. Additionally, there are special issues like the 1994 graded PR69 that trades for around $300. Some other notable dates include:

  • 1986 – The debut year of the series. An MS67 example sells for about $50.
  • 1994 – Lowest mintage at 3.6 million, valued around $50 in MS67.
  • 1995 – Key date with a mintage of only 30,125 proofs, bringing $200+ in PR69.
  • 2011 – Only 992,500 proofs were minted, worth roughly $90 in PR70.

With iconic design, intrinsic silver value, and condition rarities, American Silver Eagle coins will likely remain popular with collectors for decades to come.

What Dollar Coins Are Valuable – Conclusion

We just touched on some of the many valuable dollar coins out there. As you search your coin jars and pockets for spare change, keep an eye out for these rare pieces.

Learning close details about coin series, minting variances, and specimen issues can help you spot valuable dollar coins. With some luck and a whole lot of looking, you may stumble upon a dollar coin worth far more than a buck!

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