October 16, 2012
Uh, WHAT? Let me start with a story to ease into that. Today, I came across a Kennedy half dollar coin. When I picked it up off of the table, I accidentally dropped it. Upon hitting the ground, there was a distinctive ring that was higher than a typical coin. I found this peculiar, so I researched it (as any good librarian would).
This half dollar coin was minted in 1969, and was made up of about 40% silver. Kennedy half dollars were the last circulating US coins minted to contain silver, and they did so until 1970. The half dollar, minted every year since 1794, is also the most consistently minted coin besides the penny. Nowadays, all of our newly minted pocket change is made up of copper and nickel. Some collector's sets contain silver half dollars, but they are non-circulating. If you’re fortunate to come across a coin older than 1970, you should check its value; it might be worth more than their legal tender. The 1969 half dollar I have is worth about $4.87, quite a return on an investment.
Numismatics, or coin collecting, has never really been an interest of mine, but I can see the appeal. My mom collected a variety of coins from Canada and Southeast Asia, but I never thought anything of them. I still have them in the same box. Maybe I should investigate their values as well. If you are already a coin collector, or if you are interested in trying your hand at the trade, MCPL has numerous resources for numismatists. You can start in our catalog, or you can check out some Online Resources about coin collecting and the like. Of course, you can also see how much your silver coins may be worth by using the Coin Value Calculator, like I did. Good luck, and Numis-te. See what I did there?
Red Bridge Branch