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The great thing about collecting coins and currency is that even examples that aren’t priced very highly often have artistic value. Some are so intricately embellished that they’re worth appreciating under a magnifying glass in good lighting. Others have a curiosity factor, such as a holed coin from Pakistan or a giant 100,000-peso Philippine banknote.
Some numismatists collect only the valuable or rare, such as the 1943 Lincoln copper penny or the 1983 “New Pence” 2-pence coin; others don’t mind accumulating common Lincoln wheat pennies, $2 bills, or wartime Japanese paper money. Some of us collect full runs of a particular coin for completion’s sake, while others go for whatever catches our eye.
We found thousands of collectible examples for sale the last time we looked online. More specifically, we found a huge amount of desirable notes and coins on auction at HiBid.com. Here’s how we did it.
The simplest way to look up coins and currency on HiBid.com’s home page is to type in a keyword search term or phrase, such as “Indian head”. Then, either click the Search icon (white magnifying glass on a blue background) or press Enter.
This method might be the fastest way to find what you’re looking for, provided your keywords are specific enough. For example, our “Indian head” search turned up hundreds of American cent pieces for sale, along with a few $5, $10, and $2.50 gold coins, some buffalo nickels, and other things. When we changed our search term to “Indian head gold”, HiBid.com homed in on a double handful of quarter eagles and other golden or gold-plated pieces.
Focus Your Search With Categories
Despite what we’ve explained so far about using HiBid.com’s search feature, our initial “Indian head” search above didn’t just bring up results from coin auctions. It also roped in listings for unrelated items such as commemorative silverware, pocket knives, pendants, arrowheads, and even a gilded figurine of a Dachshund made in India.
We needed another way to search, one that would narrow down our results to more relevant auctions.
So we turned to HiBid.com’s Categories, and the U.S. Coins subcategory in particular. The way to get there depends on your device–more specifically, whether your device has a horizontally oriented screen like a computer or a vertically oriented screen like a phone.
On a horizontal screen, you’ll see a few of HiBid.com’s Categories listed on the left in alphabetical order. Click Show All Categories, then the plus (+) sign to the right of Coins / Currency, the plus sign by Coins, and then U.S.
On your phone or tablet’s vertical screen (or a narrow browser window on your computer), click Menu at the upper right. From there, you can click Categories, Coins / Currency’s plus sign, the Coins plus sign, and finally U.S.
When we ran a search for the same “Indian head” term in the U.S. Coins subcategory, it narrowed down our search results almost by half as compared to our search from HiBid.com’s home page. This time, they were all American coins and coin sets with no irrelevant bric-a-brac. Within seconds, we were able to locate some 1908 and later golden Indian Heads from the Denver and Philadelphia Mints.
Of course, not every auction item gets classified into the proper category or subcategory, so don’t be afraid to explore others or search from a higher category if you’re not finding what you’re looking for.
Subcategories For Coins
Speaking of other areas of numismatic interest, let’s go over some of the subcategories under HiBid.com’s Coins / Currency for those times when you need to refine your search results. Note that subcategories may only appear if there are items currently up for auction within those subcategories.
Starting at the top of the alphabetical list, we found the Bullion category, which is further divided into sections for Gold, Platinum, and Silver. This investment-type form of precious metal might be shaped into simple ingots, loose in nuggets or flakes, or crafted into beautiful, highly detailed coins or bars. We found decorated examples commemorating the spouses of early American presidents and the voyage of the Titanic, for example.
Next up is the Coins category we visited above. Coins may be uncirculated or used, in mint condition or in rough shape. If a coin has been certified as authentic, the seller may include in its headline or description a rating of its condition from the NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation), PNCS (Professional Numismatic Certification Service), ANACS (American Numismatic Association Certification Service), or ICG (Independent Coin Graders).
Coins vary in scarcity and value according to their year and sometimes the mint in which they were struck (Denver, San Francisco, or Philadelphia for modern U.S. coinage). A key date for a coin indicates its most valuable or hardest-to-find mintage, such as 1992-P (1992, Philadelphia). Besides the mint mark on the coin, there might also be the initials of the engraver, such as VDB for Victor David Brenner.
The Commemorative subcategory is for coins made in honor of an event such as a presidential inauguration or the Olympics; a state such as Montana; an endangered species such as the giant panda; or even pop culture icons like The Simpsons or Thor. Tokens can be similar but are not legal tender.
Some commemorative coins come with special features such as a bit of meteorite or a brightly painted finish. There are even coins with nanochips built in, which are astoundingly detailed images or maps you can view under a magnifying glass.
HiBid.com is an American website, so its International subcategory covers coins from countries outside the United States. We found pieces from Canada, Denmark, Germany, Australia, Liberia, Switzerland, Spain, and Mexico in just a brief visit.
We also found coins here dating from much further back in history. There were ancient coins of Greek or Roman origin; medieval coins from Europe, Asia, India, the Middle East, and Persia; and even shipwreck coins from Spain, England, and Portugal, recovered from ill-fated vessels such as El Cazador, the Atocha, the Concepcion, the São José, and the Santa Margarita.
In the U.S. section, there are subcategories for each common type of coin such as quarters and dimes, as well as for rarer pieces such as half cents and pre-1933 gold coins. Some of the lots we found interesting contained Morgan silver dollars for sale; Mercury dimes, so called because the female model’s hat resembles the Roman god’s helmet; buffalo nickels, also known as Indian Head nickels, from 1913 to 1938; Barber dimes, quarters, and half dollars designed by Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber; and Walking Liberty silver half dollars from the 1940s.
There are also subcategories on HiBid.com for Sets of U.S. coinage, both Mint and Proof, that appear when applicable. Mints originally sold carefully made and highly detailed proof coins as test runs for their new dies, but the market values and resultant collector demand became so great that nowadays mints strike and sell as many proof sets as they care to. Proof coins are considered the pinnacle of mintage quality and typically command higher prices.
Also valuable, albeit for their rareness rather than their beauty, are coins with flaws or errors as minted. Some types of flawed coins we encountered were strike-throughs or struck-throughs (missing details because of contaminants plugging part of the dies), reverse laminations (showing striations of unalloyed metals that didn’t mix uniformly), those missing edge lettering, and pieces from rotated dies. On pieces from rotated dies, the design on the front of the coin (the obverse or “heads” side) doesn’t have the same vertical axis as the design on the back (the reverse or “tails” side).
A different type of collectible we found was the so-called “hobo nickel” or “hobo coin” popular in the early 20th century. These have been altered by an engraver or artist after issuing from the mint. Some hobo coins have a hat carved onto the subject’s head or the subject’s face changed to a skull, as examples of this art genre.
Subcategories For Currency
Currency, or paper money, is both more colorful and ephemeral than the monochromatic supply of sturdy coins. HiBid.com’s Currency category contained both uncirculated and used bills when we last explored the site. Most were being sold singly, but some were in groups or in uncut sheets. The occasional misprints up for auction included errors such as overprints (missing or misplaced serial numbers and/or seals) and notes printed with insufficient ink.
The Currency category has fewer subcategories than the coin section, only U.S. and World. Among the American dollars and common Federal Reserve notes from the past century, we also found antique bank notes and Civil War-era fractional currency. We also uncovered vintage gold and silver certificates, including Black Eagle dollars and bills with red seals or blue seals from the U.S. Treasury.
HiBid.com’s currency from around the world included the rand, ducats, pfennigs, pesos, francs, centavos, kopeks, marks, yuan, lira, rubles, and more. We browsed through bills from Canada, China, the Philippines, Japan, France, Ghana, Liberia, Russia, Germany, the UK, the Bahamas, Iran, Iraq, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Australia, Ecuador, South Africa, and elsewhere.
Hot Lots, Hot Auctions, & Featured Auctions
The HiBid.com site also helps you cut to the chase when you want to see what’s trending on the auction scene. On the home page, you’ll see a rotating array of Featured Auctions (which the sellers paid to advertise), Hot Auctions (for auctions getting the most views), and Hot Lots (for individual items that are getting the most bidder attention).
You can click View All to see more about each of these, even though they’ll be general sales, not just coins or currency. Alternatively, you can click Browse By at the top of your horizontal screen or Menu and Browse By on your vertical screen to find links to the Featured Auctions, Hot Auctions, and Hot Lots. (You can also filter results by Biddable Lots, Live Webcast Lots, Online Only Lots, Absentee Lots, or Listing Only Lots here as well.)
To focus on what’s hot or featured solely in the Coins / Currency category, go to the subcategory of your choice. Next, along the right side, click the menu icon (black icon with three horizontal white lines). This displays some dropdown menus, one of which lets you choose to see money-oriented Hot, Featured, and Closing Soon sales, among other things. There’s a distance filter, too, so if you type in your ZIP or postal code you can limit sale results to your area.
HiBid.com’s sellers frequently post new coins and currency for sale, so it would pay to check the site every now and again to scout out fresh auctions. Happy hunting!