Modern Commemorative Coin Best Buys

1996-S National Community Service Dollar. Courtesy U.S. Mint

All of the modern commemorative Uncirculated silver dollars manufactured by the U.S. Mint will advance in value if and when the price of silver begins to increase. Anticipation of further increases in the silver price will propel many of these coins to impressive gains.

Since 1983, the U.S. Mint, which I consider to be the world’s largest coin dealer, has manufactured and sold 89 Uncirculated (the kind of finish that you see on coins you spend) and 88 Proof (struck especially for collectors, with dramatic cameo contrast between the mirror-like background and frosted devices) modern commemorative silver dollars. 

These coins commemorate various occasions to remember and mark events of importance. Values have languished, despite the fact that the Mint continues to issue two new commemorative silver dollars each year. 

Coin collecting is a project mentality. But this series just hasn’t caught on to be a part of many collectors’ projects.

Modern Commemorative Dollars Made From Silver

Each commemorative silver dollar has a net weight of 0.7736 ounces of 0.900 fine silver. Select issues can easily be promoted by numerous dealers who mass market to the public, and this will cause selected issues to increase in value, irrespective of silver value increases. Since the prices of many modern U.S. commemorative dollars are in the $75 range, a doubling in price to $150 might not even be noticed by people who buy coins for investment.

Many people are talking about certain early rare U.S. gold coins increasing in value from $150,000 to $250,000, but a modern commemorative dollar increasing in value from $150 to $300 wouldn’t elicit much interest.

I will not recommend the Proof issues because their mintages and availability are too high for any near-term price appreciation. Further, a number of these coins have room to decrease in value. 

Buy modern commemorative dollar coins for the joy of collecting or because you like the design or theme, as the U.S. Mint has created some wonderful coinage. 

2001-P American Buffalo Silver Dollar. Courtesy U.S. Mint

Coins Set For Artistic & Price Appreciation

Don’t worry about paying fancy prices for coins in the holders of our great grading services. Buying these coins in Mint packaging will suit you just fine. The prices I give here are for coins in original U.S. Mint packaging.

The 1996-S National Community Service Dollar ($65 to $85) and 2001-P American Buffalo Silver Dollars ($100 to $115) are my preferred designs for their artistic merit, but as beautiful as they are, these are not my number one picks for price appreciation.

The Uncirculated U.S. Mint silver modern commemorative dollars that I like for potential price appreciation are:

  • 1996-D Olympic High Jump Dollar (15,697 minted) $80 to $110
  • 1996-D Olympic Rowing Dollar (16,258 minted) $75 to $105
  • 1995-D Olympic Cycling (19,662 minted) Dollar $70 to $100
  • 1996-D Paralympics Wheelchair Dollar (14,497 minted) $65 to $100

These coins have relatively low mintages for modern U.S. commemorative issues. Also, these coins were very popular with collectors in the past. You might also consider the following lower-priced “sleeper” Uncirculated issues:

  • 1996-S National Community Service Dollar (23,500 minted) $65 to $90
  • 2015-P March of Dimes 75th Anniversary (24,742 minted) $65 to $85
  • 1997-P National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial (28,575 minted) $75 to $100

If You Spot a Spotted Coin

When offered for sale in original government packaging, pass on a coin that has any white, light gray, cream, or dark surface spots. 

If you want to send your coins to one of the leading grading services because you believe those coins rate a perfect grade, know the following: Upon examination with a five-power magnifying glass, ensure no imperfections are visible.

This article about modern commemorative coins previously appeared in COINage magazine. To subscribe click here. Article by Anthony J. Swiatek.


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