The Benefits of Collecting Key Date U.S. Coins
by D. L. Crane
Key Date Coin
A coin that is typically the last to be placed
in a collection is a key date coin, because the
date or date and mint mark combination is
particularly hard to find or unusual. Key date
coins are coins of solid investment potential.
This is the coin that most collectors want to
complete their coin collection.
The rarity of the coins is a low mintage, often
the lowest of the respective series. In coin
collecting, a key date refers to a date or date
and mint mark combination of a given coin series
or set that is harder to obtain than other dates
in the series. The next level of difficult to
obtain coins in series is often referred to as
semi-key dates or simply semi-keys.
A key date coin is normally the rarest or the
most difficult to find coin of a series to
obtain. Key date coins frequently carry an
additional air of mystery and allure, besides
their rarity. One of the primary reasons for
this is they are typically the final coins
needed to complete a set. Key date and ultra
rare coins have in the past, been excellent
investments. A key date coin is generally
considered to be the most important coin in a
series, usually the lowest mintage and, or most
expensive. Rarity is based purely on the number
of particular coins that are presently in
The number of coins initially minted is not
nearly as important as the continued existence
rate. The age and original mintage of a coin in
reality have little effect on the present value
of a coin.
Rare coins are not being produced any more. Once
a coin was minted, the original die was
destroyed at the end of the year, that way they
will never be minted again. However, the rarity
of a coin today is actually decided by the
number of them existing in a specific condition.
Although original mintage figures show the
number of coins struck generations ago, these
figures do not automatically indicate rarity.
Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) the two
major independent grading services, publish
population reports that have shown that many
issues considered rare for years are in fact
Why a Key Date Coin
These are the low mintage rare coins in the most
popular coin series, and so they appreciate at a
higher rate than other coins. This would an
excellent list of great coins in which to
invest. The answer is then, for a buyer to know
the coins worth collecting for the purpose of
completing their collection or for reselling
someday at a higher price.
Collecting key date coins is where coin
collecting gets serious for the coin collector.
It is these key date coins that set the
marketplace for coin prices and also a rare coin
of a popular series is more likely to increase
in price. For any collector of a certain series
of coins, you must know the key date coins
because these are going to be the most difficult
coins to buy. Finding these rare coins can be a
challenge, but worth it because collecting rare
coins can mean big money profits.
Always remember that focusing on keys has been a
great strategy because having coins that have
clearly outperformed the rest of the market
during the last several years will pay off.
These key coins are beneficial to increasing the
value of your coin collection.
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