Key Date & Rare Coins
A key date is a coin that is usually the last to be placed in a collection, because the date or date and mint mark combination is especially rare or hard to find. It is the coin that most collectors need to complete a certain collection.
Some dates are not quite as scarce as others, but still not as common as most dates, and these are often referred as semi-key dates.
A complete collection will contain one example of each date and mint mark for an entire coin series. The key date coins can make this a monumental task. However, they also provide an opportunity to truly take your set to the next level. The perfect key date coin can enhance and enrich your entire collection.
Ardie's Coins carries an extensive inventory of key date and rair coins running from pennies through dollars and most grades. Ardie's has most available. If we don't have it we will do our best to locate it for you. Call for inventory availability. (406) 656-8777)
The Lincoln Cent is perhaps the most popular and well recognized of all US coins. The obverse displays the bust of Abraham Lincoln. This design has been used since 1909, making it the longest used design for any circulating US coin. The coin was also the first to feature the likeness of a former president.
The 1909-S V.D.B. Lincoln Cent
The obverse and original reverse of the coin were designed by Vincent D. Brenner. When the coins were first issued in 1909, his initials "V.D.B." were quite prominently featured on the reverse. This caused public protest by people who believed that the initials were too prominent and detracted from the beauty of the coin.
Steel Lincoln Cents
In 1943 the composition of the Lincoln Cent was changed in response to wartime needs for copper. The composition was changed from 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc to steel coated with zinc. Lincoln Cents from this year came to be known as Steel Cents. These coins were minted at all three mints: Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. A small number of 1943 Lincoln Cents were minted in copper and are now valuable error coins.
1955 Double Die Lincoln Cent
One of the most well known mint error coins is the 1955 Double Die Lincoln Cent. While double dies exist for other years in the series, the 1955 features the most prominent and noticeable doubling. The doubling is apparent on the date and all of the inscriptions on the obverse of the coin. The error resulted from the misalignment of one of the dies used to strike the coin. This coin remains in constant collector demand.
Lincoln Memorial Reverse
In 1959 the reverse design of the Lincoln Penny was changed to commemorate President Lincoln's 150th birthday. The new reverse was designed by Frank Gasparro and features an image of the Lincoln Memorial. The image actually includes a visible rendering of the statue of Lincoln within the Memorial. As a result, Lincoln is currently featured on both the obverse and reverse of the Lincoln Memorial Cent.
Walking Liberty Half Dollars
Certified Peace Dollars
The reverse depicts an eagle in repose with the rays of the sun behind. The eagle holds an olive branch and is perched on a rock with the word "Peace". This represents the only time the word has appeared on a circulating U.S. coin. Above are the inscriptions "United States of America" and "E Pluribus Unum" with the denomination "One Dollar" in a line across the lower portion of the eagle.
For the first year of issue, the Peace Dollar was struck in high relief. Although it made for a striking and beautiful coin, it was found to be impractical for circulating coinage and switched to a lower relief design in 1922.
After several years of elevated mintages, the quantity of silver dollars produced fell to a low of 360,649 pieces for the 1928 Peace Dollar. This represents the key date coin of the series and commands a premium across all grade levels.
A number of conditional rarities exist for the series, particularly for San Francisco produced coins. Many dates are encountered weakly struck, heavily abraded or bag marked, making gem uncirculated pieces in the distinct minority. Some issues that are difficult and expensive to acquire in grades MS65 and above include the 1924-S, 1925-S, and 1938-S.
The Peace Dollar attempted to make a comeback in 1964 when Congress authorized the production of new Silver Dollar coins. The Denver mint produced 316,076 Peace Dollars dated 1964. All pieces were recalled and melted after authorization for the coins was rescinded by President Johnson.
Key Date Mintages
Key date coins are generally the rarest or most difficult coins of a series to obtain. One of the primary reasons for the rarity of the coins is a low mintage, often the lowest of the respective series.
Key Date Coin Mintage
1877 Indian Head Cent
1909-S Indian Head Cent
1921-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar